How Come No One Told Me?

Growing up…

No one told me that I’d be second guessing everything at 49

No one told me it was ok to switch directions.

No one told me its was ok to pursue something different.

No one told me it was ok to have many dreams, not just one.

No one told me that it was ok to let go.

No one told me it was ok to fail.

No one told me life could be more flexible than rigid.

No one told me that loyalty wouldn’t get me anywhere.

No one told me my mentors would be authors and YouTube personalities.

No one told me, “Just wait, the best is yet to come”

Why didn’t anyone tell me?

Maybe they did, and I just wasn’t listening.

I’m listening now.

 

1,138 total views, 2 views today

We Do Have A Choice

“One of the consequences of sin is that it makes the sinner pity himself instead of causing him to turn to God. One of the first signs of new life is that the individual takes sides with God against himself.” ― Donald Grey Barnhouse

Jesus challenged his disciples:

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24

We have to choose a side. There is nothing in me that wants to take up a cross or follow Jesus. It is God who impresses on me the necessity of this things, like another waking up their children for school. They would much rather stay under warm covers and sleep than to be obedient.

We have no problem choosing between

fear and faith

joy or sadness

salad or dessert

We know which is in our best interest. It is when Christ offers us

a narrow road or a wide road

a narrow gate or a wide gate

seek the Kingdom or seek our own fortune

The Apostle Paul tells us there is a  choice between feeding and leading from our  Flesh or Spirit

We can choose, but most of the time we choose in our own best interest.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12

Knowing the end of one of our choices should makes our choosing all the more easy.

 

 

 

1,125 total views, 2 views today

3 Tragedies of a Complacent Life

The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities. – Benjamin E. Mays

The first tragedy of complacency is regret. No one says at the end of there life,  wish I did  less. I wish I wouldn’t have been so daring. I wish I hadn’t taken so many chances. There will come a day where we’ll beg for one more opportunity to make a difference.

in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.  – John Krakauer,  Into The Wild

The second tragedy of complacency is that our adventurous spirit shrivels up and we condition ourselves to pursue what is comfortable and secure. To prevent this kind of tragedy we must regularly do something where the outcome is unsure.

Christians are as subject to complacency as anybody else, and we can certainly settle into repetition and forget that something radical and extraordinary is being asked of us – Francis Spufford

The third and final tragedy is that we traded God’s call to be extra-ordinary for a life of predictability. We went to church but we did not become The Church. We sang songs, but we did not worship. We gave in the offering but we did not go and help the people ourselves.

A tame faith is not what God created us for. Let’s get back to looking and listening for God’s next great adventure for our lives.

1,103 total views, 1 views today

The Best Summer Job Ever!

If you’ve been following this blog for any amount of time you know I love camp, and not just any camp, Life For Youth Camp to be exact.

They’re looking for summer counselors and, if you are a youth worker,  I’d like you to consider sharing this post with your college students and graduating seniors as a possible place of ministry this summer.

I took to Facebook Live the other night to share my testimony of the camp. Take a listen and if it sounds like a great place for your students to work, please let them know. Here’s the link to apply. 

961 total views, 2 views today

Audit Your Circle

If you’ve kept up with this blog you know there are a few people I like to quote, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk (where I got audit your circle), etc. and none of them are Christians, let alone Pastors. “So, why do you quote them Paul?” Because they’re saying things in a fresh way that I do not hear Pastor’s saying.

“You’re not listening the right Pastor’s Paul” maybe not. The deal is,  I’ve audited my circle. There are people I could listen to, good dudes who love God but they’re not winning like I want win. They’ve accepted the status quo and preach it like it’s something new. Not my style.

They, like many Christians I know, have the same tired platitudes to offer when times get tough like “Just have faith” etc. I have faith, now I want action to match that faith. Very few preachers, I know, are action driven. Knowledge, learning, systems, are great, but they don’t move the ball down the field, advancing the Kingdom.

I listen to voices outside my circle because they’re doing what I want to do. I want to say things in a fresh way to a generation who has given up on God and even the concept of God because they were spoon fed these same platitudes for years that were suppose to sustain them and they did not, not because the information wasn’t good but because there was so little action to match it.

For those looking for any kind of scriptural reference, let me point to

“Bad company corrupts good morals”  I Corinthians 13:33

Hanging around people without dreams, visions,  imagination, or passion is as equally corrupting as hanging around with drunkards, criminals, and devil worshippers.

Any circle you’re in, religion, business, sports, etc, has it’s own language. You get to know it pretty well and then you start throwing the words around your self. This kind of insulation can stifle true action, true creativity, true “this is scary” kind of dreams.

People like Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuk, and others like them , are not Pastors, but they are preachers, and I am listening.

If you’re wanting to learn more about Seth Godin I recommend starting with his book Purple Cow.

If you want to know more about Gary Vaynerchuk I recommend The Thank You Economy 

Who’s  in your circle? Are they winning the way you want to win?

Who do you need to get out of our circle?

Is it possible you need a whole know circle? Who would be in it?

You can catch more of my thoughts in the FB Live Devotion

853 total views, 1 views today

I’m A Youth Pastor First

I have been cranking out quite a bit of content lately and boy is my throat and fingers tired lol. In case you did not know, this is what my schedule kind of looks like in an average week.

Up at 6:00 a.m. (most days)

Morning Facebook Live Devotion (10-15 minutes)

Create a 2-3 videos a week of YouTube (almost to 1300 subs)

Write 3-4 Blog Posts

Work on message series

Work on podcast

You may ask, “Paul, with all this, how do you have time for youth ministry?” That’s easy, I’m a youth pastor first and foremost. The needs of the kids in our ministry come first. There have been weeks where I haven’t posted anything, anywhere, because I was 100% focused on the church and our youth.

You see, I’m a youth pastor who happens to make videos, write stuff, and make podcasts; not the other way around.

My passion for other youth workers and their needs is somewhere around 9-10 in a top 10 list. One day that may change, but for now, I minister to teenagers and my community full time and create on the side.

I’m not going to lie, creating, speaking, to youth workers, etc. is very tempting, especially if I am not liking the direction of our youth ministry or I just don’t want to deal with an issue.; but when kids hug you before leaving the youth meeting, get inspired and tell they want to start a drama team, and laugh at your lame jokes, it’s easy to know where my treasure is.

Scripture says:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34

Where is your treasure right now?

Is there anything competing for your heart? What?

How do you deal with the tension?

785 total views, 1 views today

One Too Many Battles Has Led To This

I was thinking about why I’m so touchy lately and this thought came to me.

“My armor is broken”

I’ve already discussed, in a previous post, that I am in the midst of a period of burnout. This probably means I have some vulnerable spots where sharp words and poison darts can’t at me.

Broken Armor is simply a metaphor for one too many battles fought both inwardly and outwardly. My armor just hasn’t held up and my armor bearers are few.

I replace my own shields, my own weapons, and my own armor. I dress myself for battle. I have exposed spots where dagger and sword slip through. Things like unkind words, sarcasm, cold looks, self doubt find their mark.

We all have some kind of armor; some way we protect ourselves from life’s pains. The armor protects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Over time, my armor has worn away, been damaged, become useless or rusted; leaving openings for strikes that harm me, wound me, and sometimes kill me.

I’ll take inventory of my spiritual armor via Ephesians 6 and seek others to inspect me before the next battle, but this warrior has lost his taste for blood.

Maybe the answer is to wear no armor at all. Quit protecting myself. Quit gearing up of for battle and go armor-less into the fray.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25

Jesus loved not his own life to the very end.

My prayer

God, my armor is broken. My sword is shattered.

Let not my enemies rule over me, or find my weaknesses.

The battle waits for no one. It rages on around me.

Strengthen me, guard me, keep me.

 

 

 

 

1,157 total views, 1 views today

Four Reasons Why AI Will Never Take My Job

The question each of us has to ask is simple (but difficult): What can I become quite good at that’s really difficult for a computer to do one day soon? – Seth Godin

There are a lot of jobs, well, just about every job has been affected by technology. There are things that people used to do that machines can do better. Seth Godin goes through his list of jobs taken over by tech here, and in all the cases he states we are better off, but being a Youth Pastor can never be replaced by a computer, AI or any technology.

Here’s my short list of why this is true

Tech doesn’t exert faith 

Computers may be able to show the greatest preachers on YouTube, play the best worship music on Spotify, etc. but computers are good at spitting out fact based on algorithms, but it can’t have actual faith.

It’s called artificial intelligence, but  God doesn’t recognize artificial faith.

Faith requires that a person doesn’t know the answer or have the courage to act. Tech doesn’t recognize it’s own needs, weaknesses, or shortcomings.

Google can offer answers to people with scriptures to questions based on SEO, but that’s not the same as sitting with a students and exploring the scriptures in real time. Some say there’s a ghost in the shell or the machine, but its not the Holy Ghost.

Tech has all code and no Christ.

Tech cannot love us back

Students are sick of artificial everything. They don’t like the fake or the phony and never have. The artificial only becomes acceptable when the real cannot be found. This happens too often as we grow up. We settle and get into rhythms where tech is “the next best thing” to a real friend.

Youth Workers, listen and love in real time. We can love students authentically. Kids can look in our eyes and see that someone is home, someone who loves them back.

Tech can’t empathize

People can have memories of getting  their first phone, their first game console, or their first tv, but the real memories are who they communicated with on the phone, who they played with online with, and who they binge watched Stranger Things with.

No one thinks fondly of a tech memory, like “Hey Tech, remember that selfie we took at the beach?” Could that change? Yes, devices are getting smarter but they’re not becoming more empathetic. Devices can do face recognition and maybe determine what it means to be sad and have some platitudes to share with us, but it can never be human.

In the movie I Robot (one of my favs) Will Smith I talking with Sonny, the AI

Detective Del Spooner: I thought you were dead.
Sonny: Technically I was never alive, but I appreciate your concern.

Things that were never alive cannot empathize with something that is alive.

Tech can’t play dodgeball

Pure and simple, no piece of tech can sling a rubber ball at a middle school student with equal amount of joy and glee. A machine cannot rejoice at catching the speeding ball of a High School student who though they had you dead to rights.

Tech can offer fun, but it doesn’t have fun. Kids need fun and not just entertainment. Students need play, but real play is interactive and is filled with shared moments that are one day relived with smiles and coffee. Tech can spit out what we did a year ago on a calendar but it doesn’t know why we did it or why it was important other than I said it was important.

No, tech and computers will never take my job. I use technology in ministry, a vehicle to get personal, not more technological. The kids I Snap, Instagram, and FaceTime know me, know I care, know I seek their best, know I love them. Teens cannot say the same of the technology they hold in their hands, no matter how much smarter is gets.

The old adage stands, “People don’t are how much you know, until they know how much you care”. Tech will never care for my students as much as I do.

 

 

2,634 total views, 2 views today

Is Their Approval Worth The Effort?

“Jesus calls us to his rest, and meekness is His method. The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort.”
― A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God

Tozer says that the “esteem of the world is not worth the effort” but what about the esteem of the Christian community?  It seems we pour a lot of effort, via the internet,  into getting people to like, share, and approve of our stuff. And, by stuff, I mean our lives.

Somehow we think it’s important to get the approval of others before obeying God.

Therein lies the tension. Obey God, at the disapproval of others, or take a poll to see how many agree with our decision to obey God.

In the end we have to decide whose approval we ultimately want and if it’s  worth the effort.

How far backwards do you have to bend over?

How many of your own convictions do you have to throw out the window?

How much of yourself do you have to give up?

How much more do you have to become like everyone else?

The three questions we must ask are:

Is it worth it? Does their approval mean that much?  What will it actually cost you to get it?

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. – Romans 8:18

1,172 total views, 2 views today

Do What You Are Dangerously Good At?

Too many of us focus on our weakness. We’re trying to get better at things we have no business getting better at. That’s why I stay away from golf. Every time I go, someone wants to fix my swing or my stance.  Stop it!

There are those times we have to get better at weaknesses because our job demands it, but for the most part we should be doubling down on our strengths, and not just any or all our strengths, but our most dangerous ones.

What skill or talent do you have that, if you spent all your time doing it, you would crush it? That skill is wha you should focus on. Do the other stuff that’s necessary, but dial into that one or two skills that will level you up on the leader board and lead to greater  influence and demand..

What are you dangerously good at?

Speaking

Writing

Admin

Web Design

Selling

Preaching

Relationships

Supporting

Making

Designing

Do what you are dangerously good at and the level, volume, and speed of success you’ll achieve will scare you.

What are you dangerously good at?

 

1,261 total views, 2 views today