I know you are but what am I?

There is an excellent article at by Jay Higham on how NOT to look at what other youth groups are doing. Take a second to read that article and come right back.

Are you back? Great!

I think most of us in youth ministry have some sense that we don't need to compare ourselves to each other. I think the problem in my own soul is that I subconsciously am doing it much more than I admit. I have to catch myself doing it in order to stop doing it. There are a few things that help me in concrete ways to bloom where I am planted rather than admire grass that appears to be greener.

1. My God-moments
I remember those late night one-on-one conversations with students that other youth guys have NOT had with our students. The other youth guy at Supah Kewl Church of Awesomeness doesn't know that the kid I had lunch with the other day wants to be in a job profession that his dad thinks is ridiculous. And he also hasn't listened to the sweetest lady in the world talk to him about her husband who recently passed away and confess that it has not really sunk in yet.

2. My God-given personality
I did a quick talk for a school club recently, and had a blast. It went great (as far as I know), and the Youth Pastor of the Year didn't do that. The students I share life with know me and will continue to get to know me, and if they think I'm cool, then who cares if anyone else does?

3. My God-given task
God brings us very specifically to the things that He has put before us. He did not bring someone else to our own version of Queen Esther's "such a time as this." Everything God has done in my life has brought me to this moment, and I need to dig my heels in, and point myself and the others God has put with me to the King and all of His glory! His face should be the one I worry about. I ignore the faces of other folks enough to picture the only Face that truly matters. Because no one else will have the authority to say what the Righteous Judge will tell me on Judgment Day. And it will not make a difference whether my brothers and sisters in Christ smile upon my efforts to serve Jesus. If He smiles at me, then nothing else matters!


One Thing

I was in Genesis 2 this morning, and was struck with a new thought. (Actually, I was struck with three thoughts, but I'll only mention one here.) In Genesis 2:17, God says to Adam, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."

Now, I don't know about you, but I have always been VERY curious what in the world was so different about this one tree. And why is knowing right from wrong a bad thing for Adam, and later Eve?

And it struck me this morning -- there should only be ONE thing that consumes our life. Adam and Eve walked with God in Eden and talked to Him face to face. The only things on their mind and heart were the tasks God had given, the things God had made, their spouse that God had provided, and conversations with God Himself. There was no wrong. There was only God.

But knowing right from wrong introduced a second option. Satan, as a serpent, told Eve that it would make her like God. But he had to twist the truth to say such a thing, because this new thing called "evil" would give mankind forevermore a choice.

As a result, we Christians find ourselves today trying to focus on God alone. We are trying to put away our selfish desires, we are trying to pray to Him more, we are trying to please Him, even though we have never talked to Him face to face. And we find it so very difficult to do everything as if we were doing it for Him.

Why? Because there is a new way -- our way. Before, there was only God. Now we need His help to get over ourselves in order to go His way. Things were much simpler when there was only one way. At least there is comfort in our future! One day there will only be ONE who matters, and it will not be any of us! Just as in glorious Eden, in the new heaven and new earth we will spend all our worship and time on the ONE who is the one way!