Don’t Give Your Whole Life To Youth Ministry

Vanity

meaningless

a chasing after the wind

Are all themes of the book of Ecclesiastes and only now am I realizing that this also applies to youth ministry.

When I read verses like

And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless Ecclesiastes 2:19

I realize how futile my efforts are if youth ministry is indeed what I have given my whole life to.

When I started youth ministry, I thought youth ministry was immune to the wails and woes of Ecclesiastes (how naive I was), and I threw myself at it with great abandon. I’ve given my whole life to young people, but I should have given my whole life to Jesus.

No, I don’t worship ministry, although I have. Yes, I love Jesus, but some days I’ve loved the gratification of man’s words to satisfy my soul rather than the gentle whisper of my Savior.

I’m learning, and re-learning, every day, how to commit my life to Jesus and the eternal rather than the ministry and the temporal. I am taking Solomons advice

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? Ecclesiastes 2:24,25

There is no enjoyment of ministry without God.

Youth Ministry, like any career,  will only take you so far, satisfy you so much, before you start to have those “What is this all about”, Solomon kind of thoughts.

If you’re a young youth pastor, don’t give your whole life to youth ministry because youth ministry can only give so much back to you. If you’re a veteran youth worker, it’s a good time to re-commit your life to Jesus.

Give your life to Jesus, find joy in him and you will receive more than you ever though possible and, unlike youth ministry

“those who put their trust in Him are never disappointed.” Romans 10:11 NASB

 

247 total views, 2 views today

The Desperate Need To Encourage Yourself

I have been in a hole for some time. A deep hole of discouragement and doubt. This mindset is a crippling mental bear trap that once you’ve step in it, it’s tough to get out of it. I’m only now returning to the idea of encouraging myself as a way to dig myself out.

You would think it’s simple, right? Say nice things about yourself and the dark cloud goes way. It’s not that easy. You have to actually believe the things you’re saying to get anywhere. So,  grab a shovel, and join me as I dig myself out right in front of you.

The first thing I discovered is the I must admit what is not true about me. I can’t say I’m a great singer if I am not a great singer. Lying to myself only deepens the hole.

The key is not to focus on the negative,  but to see simply nod at them as if to say, “I see you over there, you’re real, but you’re not my focus.”

Next, I have to know what is true about me. I’m making two lists, one is a skill based list and the other is character based list. This is so important,  I am not my job or my skills. My human qualities are what enhances by skill not the other way around. Example: I am not a kind person because I am a Pastor, I am a kind person and this makes me a good Pastor.

Third, I draw from what others have told me about myself. They were not just being kind, they actually meant it and I have to take the affirmative things people say to heart rather than brush them off. Based on this, here are my lists.

Character List

  • I am honest.
  • I am kind.
  • I am generous.
  • I am helpful.
  • I am creative.
  • I am an encourager.
  • I am caring
  • I am faithful.

If you’re like me, you’re tempted to stop because it sounds like you’re bragging. This is the point. You brag on yourself, to yourself, because no one else is encouraging you. So, don’t stop (I will stop here because you probably already know how awesome I am).

Skill List

  • I am a good writer and improving.
  • I am good at creating positive programs.
  • I am a good video editor and improving
  • I am great communicator and improving.
  • I am good at breaking down complicated ideas and thoughts.
  • I am a pretty good marketer and improving.
  • I am very good on camera and connecting with my audience.
  • I am a good collaborator and teammate. 

Once again, I’ll stop there because you already know this about me 🙂 

There’s one more dynamic of my life I have to look at in order to see a complete picture of myself. As a Christian, I believe in a God who created me, loves and gave his son Jesus Christ for me.

This truth speaks to my overall value and worth. This is not to say that people who are not Christians are not of value or worth or that I am more valuable than others. What these spiritual truths speak to me are realities beyond my character and skills and speaks to my spirit.

Who am I when I fail or when I blow it? Do I have worth and value then? If you’ve ever blown it big time, its sometimes hard to find the encouragement you seek from others. Others can only see the mistake(s) where God sees beyond the mistake to redemption.

Here’s my brief list of spiritually encouraging truths

  • God loves me no matter what, so I can love others the same.
  • God shows me grace and forgiveness when I cannot forgive myself. This means I can sho grace and forgive others
  • God stays with me in my worst moments when other walks away. I will never be truly alone.
  • God values me, so I can value others.

I’ll close with a Psalm from David, where David declares the realities of his discouragement, but then turns his heart towards deeper truths that encourages his heart. I hope they encourage yours as well.

Psalm 13

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
    and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
    How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
    Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
    and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love;
    my heart rejoices in your salvation.
 I will sing the Lord’s praise,
    for he has been good to me.

 

408 total views, 2 views today

The Question Youth Workers Should Be Asking

I was reading a blog post by Bernadette Jiwa, she starts with this question,

If you had to pick one thing you need more of in order to succeed what would that be?

If you are a youth worker, and I hope you are, you may be tempted to say, “more students” , but is more students the right answer?

Would having more students make you a better communicator, a better programmer, a better youth pastor?

Having more students might get you off the hook with the board, the deacons, or your pastor but it will do nothing for you when it comes to actually pastoring those extra kids.

More kids is a result or more patience, more training, more prayer, more love, more outreach and more disciple making.

More kids won’t make us better, it will only reveal how unprepared we are for more kids.

I think it boils down to giving someone a fish to eat for a day or teaching them to fish for a lifetime. What if I could teach you to fish so you could reach the students you desire to fill your youth program?

I am starting a master mind group for youth workers soon, but to qualify for that I need to know your serious. Purchase my 30 minutes for $30 coaching package and you’ll be placed on a list of future applicants.

During this 30 minutes we’ll get to know each other and I’ll do my best to solve one of your current problems and help you get more of what you need to reach more students.

You can check out the 30 minutes for $30 here. I look forward to giving you more of what you need.

 

 

 

511 total views, 2 views today

Three Directional Thinking

This is one of thoughts you get while driving. I was thinking about my choices in the way think, and yes, we do have choices. When something hits my brain I can respond to it in one of three ways (note: I know these terms have varied meanings, I’m using the terms purely for illustration) :

Downward Thinking

Downward thinking is adopting the thinking of the base. Base thinking is the first things that come out of people’s mouths. Base people react versus respond; they are the first people to post on social if they don’t like something and add more emotion than is really needed.

Downward thinkers say things like, “I’m just speaking the truth” and “Well, someone has to say something and I don’t care who’s feelings get hurt.” Their not thinking about what is best overall, they are thinking about what is best of them, right now.

Lateral Thinking

Lateral thinking is thinking what everyone else is thinking. Lateral thinkers put their fingers in the air, see which way the wind s blowing and hoist their sales in that direction.

Lateral thinkers don’t think for themselves, they think to survive and if saying or doing what others say keeps them safe, then so be it.

Upward Thinking

Upward thinkers have flipped a switch. Upward thinking believes in positive living and is playing the long game to achieve such a life. An upward thinker sees life as precious and worth living and carefully weighs their thoughts  before acting.

The upward thinker believes success is around the corner, even if it’s a few years away.

Here’s an example: When we encounter people we don’t like

The downward thinker confronts and says we can never be friends and even chooses to cast them as an enemy.

The lateral thinker wonders what everyone else thinks about this person and chooses to make friends or not based on public opinion.

The upward thinker says, what are the possibilities? We may never be best friends but how can I elevate this relationship to where it can at least work and possibly grow.

This example shows micro-thinking vs macro thinking with no thinking in-between.

With every thought, every encounter, we have choices. I believe we can retrain our brains to be upward thinkers. This goes beyond positive thinking. Trying to think positively about a negative thing is mostly like shooing away a fly that only returns a few seconds later.

Upward thinking is for those who believe their life, as well as others, has purpose. Upward thinkers don’t see negative thoughts as interruptions but opportunities to think more deeply, be empathetic, and think through to the best possible outcome before acting.

None of this is easy. It’s something I practice every day. We do not have perfect control over the thoughts we think but we do have control over the direction our thoughts takes us. Let’s think upward toward a better, mentally healthier, life.

 

 

599 total views, 2 views today

Dear Church: Pay Attention To Detail And Watch The Wonder Happen

I saw an interesting post on Twitter, it said, “Have you ever seen a church within a church?”

Book reviewer Melissa Harrison saw something that blew her away,

“MATES MATES something brilliant just happened, well I found something brilliant, and I want to tell you about it. Sorry but THREAD INCOMING!”

What did she see? A model of the church, inside the church. Here is what what she saw

What blew her away even more, was the attention to detail.

Here is the picture Melissa took of the outside of the church

and here is the model

What is the one thing (among many) the church has forgotten? Attention to detail.

I don’t think we’re paying attention to the poor, the outcast, or the loser, yet, scripture tells us that’s who Jesus sought to uplift.

People, just like Melissa are intrigued by the church. They are wowed by the structure, the smell, the wood, the stone, and many other esthetics, but when they enter the church, do they really see a model of the church? I don’t mean the physical model Melissa saw, but the other model from Acts 2:42-47

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Melissa was blown away to find a model of the church, fully detailed, down to the dog bowl outside inside the church, She found great joy in it, so much she tweeted about it! What if we paid attention to the details of Acts 2 and modeled them for a generation of kids who want to see the church inside the building?

How sad it must be for many believers to see a church, modern or classic, and are intrigued by it only to go inside and be disappointed that the church was not the model they hoped it would be. Granted, many people who do not believe do not know about Acts 2:42-47, but they know the church should look more like Jesus and less like us.

As pastors and believers, let’s pay attention to detail and make sure that what sinners find inside looks a lot like what they hoped it would look like from the outside; right down to the dog bowl.

643 total views, 2 views today

Three Words You Must Learn When Mentoring Teens

I’ve been mentoring students for a long time, but there are three practices which are foundational to each mentoring relationship I enter into. These are the three legs to my mentoring stool, Listening, Opportunity, and Failure

These three words make the mentoring relationship worthwhile for me. I want hear what kids are saying, I want to give them the opportunity to do what God has gifted them to do, and I want them to learn from and manage their failures well.

If you put these three words to work in every teen mentoring relationship, both you and the person you are mentoring will be fulfilled.

Listen

Every mentor has a desire to share what they know with others willing to listen, but mentors have to learn to listen as well. The rookie mentor or the arrogant mentor sees mentoring as a information dump versus a conversation.

Mentees might want to know all the details and crunch bits or maybe they want hear just the big picture and work the details out for themselves. We must learn the art of active listening in order to hear what what our mentees desire to  learn and break it down what we know for their context.

Here’s a video of how I am listening to students in my youth ministry so I can plan what they want heat and mix it with what they need to heart. This simple exercise gives students space to share their desires and gives me a chance to  listen to their hearts.

 

 

Opportunity

My temptation, as a mentor, was to do an information dump without giving the teen a chance to do the things they were learning from me. Sometimes, I felt like the old boxing trainer who would tell the hungry young fighter, “You’re not ready kid.”  I did this for selfish reasons, I wanted them to succeed out of the gate so I would look like a good mentor.

What I should have been doing was giving them as many opportunities as possible to skin their knee so they could build a tolerance to failure. The opportunity to build, create, preach, write, etc would have allowed them to shake off the fear of failure and instead embraced failure as part of the growth process.

Jesus didn’t spend all his time on mountain top teaching his disciples waiting for some magic moment to send them out, He sent the 72 disciples he had out to practice/do the ministry ( Luke 10). Jesus gave them some basic instructions and then said, “Go.”

Jesus gave his disciples the opportunity to do big, scary things. He didn’t start them off with walking little old ladies across the road, he gave them power and opportunity and it produced something amazing.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Faith (a working faith) without works is dead. If I want a kids faith to grow and increase I have to let them do the work. Christianity is not a class, it’s about putting faith into motion, being lead by the Spirit, and letting kids do what God has gifted them to do in spite of potential failures.

Failure

Let’s not make that big deal about failure. Failure is not only pat of learning, it is often the catalyst to learning. I don’t glorify failure, but I do respect it as part of the mentoring process even if teens do not.

I don’t want to see the teens I mentor fail because their failure is my failure. I take it personally if I feel I didn’t prepare them well for a task.

As mentors we must be patient with teenagers for a variety of reasons,

their schedules.

their hormones

their school work

their family needs

Teens may not make every meeting we set up or accomplish every task we give them. These are what we call teachable moments. It’s not that a teen cannot perform a task (although it’s possible) you’ve  given them; it could be because of external factors causing them to lost focus or to diminish the value of the task you have given them. This is where the real mentoring begins.

If we’ll be patient and let failure come at it’s own pace, we’ll discover more about the teen wee are mentoring and lear the real reasons behind missed meetings, stalled tasks, and lack of communication.

Our role is not to train a teen to be perfect but rather how to manage and learn from failure so that they are not crushed by them. Teaching resilience is more important than teach  the skill . Skills can come and go as needed but resilience is a much needed  life skill usable in all situations.

“Enthusiasm is common. Endurance is rare.”
Angela Duckworth, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Remember, if they’re failing, their trying. Give them  the needed space and grace to both succeed and fail.

869 total views, 2 views today

Getting Failure Out Of Your System

“but the difference is whether you decide to stop at a failure, or keep going until you get as many failures as possible out of your system until the only possible outcome is that you succeed.” – Benny Lewis

I know there are some who disagree with the concept of failing fast and failing often, especially when it comes to starting a business, but I’m not talking about business, I’m talking about life.

Me, and about a billion other people are not going to start a business, but we are going to try things. We’re going to try hard things and even, in our minds, impossible things, but I think we quit too soon before we even know if can be good at something.

I could have been a better guitar player if I had not quit too soon.

I could have been a black belt if I had not quit after two sessions.

I could have been ______________ (fill in the blank)

My contention isn’t that we should keep failing ad-naseum, we should fail just enough to get the failure(s) out of our system and see if we hit a tipping point where we can decide if whatever we are trying to get good at is something we want to fail some more at and eventually succeed (at some level) or did we just want to improve and move on.

Most people stop at a few failures and decide that they aren’t very good at it. I’m not good at golf, but I know if I put the hours in I can improve, but I’ve at least played enough golf, and scored in the 120’s enough, to know it’s not something I want to improve in. It’s a fine game but it’s not something I want to be a “success” at.

I believe in trying until you have exhausted your “want to” and shift into this is my passion and I will move forward until I fail less and less.

If you want to get good at something fail enough times to get as good as you want to be. If you want to be successful (make money, make it your job), fail as many times as it takes, make calculated risks (if money is involved) and pivot when necessary.

What do you think? Do buy into the fail fast and fail often?

If you’d like to hear me elaborate, you can check out my FB video

 

 

944 total views, 2 views today

Four Questions You Should Ask A Racist

There are many in the KKK, White Aryan Nation, and other racist organizations who love to quote the Bible and espouse Christian principles but deny God’s Word entirely.

As believers, it’s important to keep the conversation in spiritual terms because the racist will want to talk history, politics. and a general sort of religion.

The goal, at least as I see it, of these questions isn’t to shut down the racist but rather open them up to the truth of the gospel. Shaming a racist, or anyone else, may quiet them or send them into hiding but it will not win them to the Lord.  The Holy Spirt isn’t interested in clever shut down tactics, He’s interested in drawing them to the Savior.

These cultural “christians” love America but hate God. How do I know.? The Bible is clear about who God is, who Jesus is, and how those who claim to follow Jesus should behave. If you want expose the faux christianity of  these cultural “christians” and begin a real conversation about true faith, start with these four questions.

Do you believe everyone is made in the image of God?

Yes, according to this verse we are.

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Gen 1:27

If we are all made in the image of the Creator, who are we to slander, kill, or make worthless any one person let alone any race of people.

 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers.[a] The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

but no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. James 3:9

Christianity mixed with racism is hypocrisy. It is hypocritical to say we love God and despise the image of God in others.

Do you believe in the commandments of Jesus? 

and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30,31

There is not ambiguity here. it cannot be explained away. When pressed by one who wanted to justify who their their neighbor was and was not, Jesus answer with a parable of a Jew and a racially mixed society called the Samaritans. This was not just a parable of two different men but two racially and religiously different men.

If we are to call ourselves believers we cannot say that one person is my neighbor and the other is not.

Do you believe Jesus died for everyone?

If Jesus did not die for everyone, then he died for no one. If a man, regardless of his skin color, cannot call on the name of the Lord to be saved, then the cross is worthless to everyone.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Racists want a white territory to call their own, but they’re not considering the racially diverse eternity they’ll step into one day.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, Rev. 7:9

Remind those with racist beliefs that heaven is and will be a multicultural, multiethnic kingdom. Jesus said, “on earth as it is in heaven” and if He wants earth to look more like heaven, then earth cannot be divided according to race.

Do you believe hating others is a sin?

Once again, this is about a racists view of Jesus, heaven, and eternity. If they’ve had any church or bible background they know what sin is, what sin does, and the penalty for it.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. I John 4: 20,21

Hate is the antithesis to the gospel. Hate is the opposite of Jesus.  To hate another person because of color, or anything else, means God is not with you, for your, or cheering on your cause.

If the racist battle cry is “for God and country” their serving the wrong god. In fact, they’ve created one than matches their ideology and borrow gods and idols from Neo-Nazi past to prop up their cause.

Like I said in the beginning, the questions we should be asking is not to solely shut people down but to open them up to a new conversation that will get them thinking in spiritual and eternal terms. We can shame them or allow the Holy Spirit to convict them. Which is more powerful? Which will lead to the winning of a heart to Christ?

We will never get rid of hate or injustice without Christ. Our tactics will only quiet those who espouse these hateful ideologies, for a time, only to rear its head later.

Let us remind ourselves, and those who oppose the gospel, of the words by the Apostle Paul

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Gal.3:28

If you’re on the front lines, I applaud your stand. If you’re a believer on the front lines, remember where the real war is , it is in the hearts and the minds. Our battle is not agains flesh ad blood but again powers and principalities, and only the Spirit will succeed where our tactics fail.

 

 

 

 

1,103 total views, 2 views today

My Three Most Important Mentoring Rules

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” — John C. Maxwell

This is a great definition of mentoring, and this kind of mentoring  has been a huge part of my ministry if not a part of my life. I have had some great mentors when I was young but, today, it seems everyone kind of expects you to have it all together by now.

Well, I don’t have it all together, and I’m still always on the hunt for mentors who will help me along this leg of the race. If you’re a youth worker working with teens in the local church, a non-profit, or camp setting, let me encourage you to find a mentor and hold on to them as long as you need to or until they have helped you finish your part of the journey.

Until that time, let offer you three thoughts on mentoring

Mentor By Example First  (Priorities, Family, Spiritual Life, Online Life)

Your example speaks louder than messages, events, and activities. Kids are watching your marriage, your family, your online life, and yes, even how you participate in church.

You may think your priorities are private but in realty they are public for all to see, especially online.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. I Timothy 4:12

This very is not just for young pastors but for all believers. Jesus said,

I have setyouan exampleso thatyoushould doasIhave donefor you. John 13:15

The example has been spelled and now it needs to be lived out.

Mentoring Your Students On Purpose 

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Titus 2: 3-5

Mentoring is an invitation to walk with someone. Mentoring can be done in a small group or a Sunday school class, but it is always done by invitation.

Jesus ask, “Follow me and I will make you..”

What can you make of the students in your ministry? Jesus made fishermen and if you are wise, you will have a short list of three things you want to help kids with. For me it’s

Bible Literacy, Character, and Skill Based Training.

I had an awesome experience the other day with a recent graduate. He came by the church to ask me some questions. This is is the kind of kid who says they want to ask you a question and you have no idea what is about to come out of their mouth. So, I said come with I have a few errand to run.

When we got in my truck I asked him, “Well, what’s up?” He told me he was taking an online Old Testament Class. I was blown away,. This kids never struck me as one to take that kind of class. We ran from place to place and he ask me questions and  we talked about his class. It was my kind of awesome.

I love to teach kids not just about a verse but about the context, the characters, the nuances of scripture. Students with a real depth of knowledge of scripture won’t soon be fooled by spiritual phonies or be weaponless in times of spiritual combat.

I don’t just want to make kids good, I want them to live lives of conviction. Having character and integrity is a learned process and so when there are times when a student needs to apologize to someone, I encourage them to make it right. If a student needs discipline, I offer it as a courtesy not as payback. Character is I Corinthians 13 lived out.

Kids need skills. Some of the kids I work with are slow on the skill building. They play a lot of video games and aren’t learning anything except how to win (at the time of this post) at Overwatch. Any time I can say, “Hey, let me teach you this…” I do if they will let me.

Mentor with a process in mind

And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2

What have you learned? Make a short list of the things you’d like to pass on to the students in your ministry. I have three, bur you may have five. It doesn’t matter about the number, only that we are always pouring out that which God and man have poured into us.

Find kids who have some sticky-ness to them. They come to every meeting, every activity, etc. These kids may have a choice of not bu if they are going to be present why not offer them a little bit more to motivate them.

Once you teach them, over time, give them a change to teach others. I am working with an intern right now and she is learning how I work, expectations, etc. and once I pour what she needs in tour her I am releasing her to our into others. It’s I pour, she pour without too much downtime.

“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living—if you do it well I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” — Denzel Washington

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

I recommend  Mentoring 101 by John Maxwell if you are looking for a place to start.

Who’s mentoring your students right now?

What are they being molded into?

How are you playing a part in shaping students?

If you’d like to here me talk through these points watch the FB Live below.

1,123 total views, 2 views today

Charlotteville: We Can Sleep Or We Can Shine

I haven’t been watching the news for a whole now. It’s just too sad and disappointing. I do get alerts and I have read articles on Charlottesville and I have to confess, I’m numb to it.

It’s overwhelming. It’s too much, and I’d rather go back to sleep. The young lady who was killed in Charlottesville had dreams, goals, desires. She was someone’s daughter, friend, and employee. Her final words on Facebook were

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention”

We, the Church,  should be outraged but not unhinged. Our response to this tragedy should look more like a laser beam than dynamite. We need to have the same energy but a different response. We should be surgical, rather than explosive, in our response to racism.  This This surgery must begin with our own hearts.

We must first pay attention to our own lives and ask Christ to shine a light in our dark hearts and, what ever is revealed, repent of it.

I’m reminded of the verse

But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that is illuminated becomes a light itself. So it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,… Ephesians 5:13-15

Going back to sleep, in light of any death by racism, should not be the response of the church. The church has been asleep for far too long.

We must, as the scripture says, wake up, rise up and pay careful attention to how we walk as believers, calling out racism and bigotry where we see it.

It will be upon those who wake up, speak out, and stand firm Christ that Christ will shine and thereby illuminate the darkness. Do not suppose that shining once will chase the darkness away, but we must shine always so that the darkness never returns.

1,161 total views, 2 views today