For the past few weeks we have been talking about spiritual disciplines in the Central Gathering. The analogy that Ben Deaver used to start our series is the idea of running with the purpose of training for a race.The challenge that is set before us is to run like Jesus. To have our hearts transformed to walk as He walked. This all happens as we walk in an abiding relationship with Him, which requires that we put some spiritual disciplines into practice. These will help us in putting ourselves in a place where we know His love in a deeper and more satisfying way. It also puts us in a place where we see others through the eyes of Jesus. In other words, we become more and more servant-hearted.
I must admit, the idea of writing an article about myself did not exactly excite me. I mean, I love hearing others’ stories, and I even find value in sharing my own, but the topic of “yourself” is always awkward. However, I recognize that I would literally be robbing God of the glory He deserves by not sharing how He has been painting the masterpiece that is my life. Don’t get me wrong, this piece of art has more than a few layers of paint where flaws have been painstakingly covered, and it is nowhere near completion, but it is my own, or should I say, His own masterpiece.
“Shabbat shalom!” is a common Jewish greeting meaning “Have a peaceful Sabbath!” Maris and I are so thankful to receive the gift of sabbatical this summer and are praying for a peaceful Sabbath rest. It was good for my soul to study again God’s provision of Sabbath rest for his people in Deuteronomy 5:12-15 as I prepared to preach on Reclaiming RESToration on May 22. Towards the end of that message I tried to answer these two questions, “What will Ben be up to during his sabbatical?” and “Will we see the Deavers this summer?” I’ll also answer those questions again here.
On your mark, get set, GO! The Amazing Grace Race has officially begun, as of June 5th! The children, ages infant through 6th grade, are learning about God’s amazing grace through age-appropriate detours and pit stops, much like my personal favorite television program, The Amazing Race. We are “traveling” through all of the countries represented on our Prayer for the Nations Sundays and having tons of fun in the process.
Growth is a natural part of life. We all know and experience this in in different ways. We measure growth in areas of age, maturity, talent, academics, relationships, etc. But how do we measure growth of a youth ministry? And even more specifically, how do we measure student growth? How do we know what to use as a “measuring stick” by which to determine whether or not a ministry is healthy, thriving, or failing?
As a student at K-State more than a decade ago, I signed up for an international friend with Helping International Students (HIS), one of the organizations New Hope supports financially. His name was Ash, from India. We hiked the Konza, swam at Tuttle, carved pumpkins, and talked about honor, shame, Jesus, Hinduism, and more.