So I was thinking about my last post. In fact, from the looks of it I am the only one thinking about my last post, but that’s ok. I have been looking back on my life and started to think about the people I had that walked with me and guided me in my life, other than family. We all have family members that guided us and gave us insight to life, but very few have the opportunity to have someone outside of their family who cares enough to motivate, encourage, and share their experience with. I have been blessed and honored to have several, yet I never took the time to say thank you. So here it goes.

First, I want to thank Mrs. Murowski my incredible fourth grade teacher. This lady knew I was horrible at math, in fact, everyone in class knew because I cried every time we had to do it (seriously, I did). She was an amazing teacher who cared about all of her students and found a way to make each one of them feel special. She encouraged me to show up early in the morning, walk with her around a field, which was her daily ritual, and work through my multiplication tables. With her help and her love for teaching I mastered my sevens and my nines while exercising. Now, I am a great multi-tasker. Thank you Mrs. Murowski for educating and sharing wisdom and not living by the bell schedule.

Second, I need to thank my youth pastor Joe. He is a great man who loves God and people. He took the time to encourage me in my faith, pray with me in hard times, and mentor me through my ministry. He continues to be a great friend and a great counselor. His ministry keeps me motivated and continues to encourage me as I seek to serve the Lord in rural America. Thanks Joe for your words and encouragement!

Third, a YoungLife leader named RD. This is a man who has dedicated his life to serving and loving young people. He may be older than most YoungLife leaders, but he is still kickin’ it and moving strong with extraordinary energy. He has never slowed down and as I have watched him and heard of his awesome work in many different areas I know that I can do the same! RD, thanks for your amazing example!

Ok, so there a few others away from family, but I am going to end with those three. Mentors are so valuable and can cause extreme changes in the life of a person. We are never too old to have one and I encourage everyone to seek out an individual that can guide, give healthy counsel, listen, etc. because of the experiences that can be had and the wisdom that can be gained.

In Dispatches from Juvenile Hall by John Aarons, Lisa Smith and Linda Wagner, the value of mentors is revealed when they talk about youth in the system. They share “Those with success stories talked about adults who stepped in to become positive role models. The impact these adults made wasn’t always immediate, but whatever they said did remain, and served to inspire change and dedication…” (Dispatches from Juvenile Hall, 2009, p. 178)

As I close this post I want to emphasize the value of mentors. I thank everyone who has taken the time, given the energy, and inspired me to keep moving forward even when I fought back. You have helped me discover my role and my responsibility in the Kingdom of God, whether you knew it or not.

If you have had anyone in your life that has been a mentor or role model for you, take the time to thank them today.


Pain is a Problem

While watching a video clip of a young person, that has been served by one of my coworkers in Seattle, all I could think about is the pain he went through to discover the purpose of God in his life. The pain of abuse and neglect by the people he should have been able to trust the most. The pain of growing up too fast in an unfair situation that he had been placed in. The pain of losing a friend due to unnecessary violence in the inner city and the affect it had on his purpose.
My heart was broken to hear what he had to say about being hit by his ex-stepfather, watching his mother leave without knowing where she was going and wondering if she would come back, and many other details that have influenced and are influencing his path. The problem is, his is not the only story like this and there are some that have even more gruesome details. However, this does not negate the pain he has felt, in fact, I think it makes it even more beautiful.
The fact of the matter is we all feel pain in life. It is a necessary evil, but it cannot overtake us. This young man was able to share that he has discovered an incredible strength in Christ that has allowed him to pull through the pain and hardship and move forward in his pursuit of being an agent of change. God is being glorified in the perseverance of this young saint. There have been mentors that have stepped up and walked with him in his journey to assist him in uncovering his God-given potential centered in the joy of Christ. What an astounding and amazing message of hope and glory in the one true and living God!
I sit and wonder what if the mentors did not come? What if he continued on his path of destruction and no one stepped up to fill the void of a role model in this young man’s life? All too often this is the case and so many young people, even adults, are left to flounder on their own trying to survive. The pain is too much and they settle for false gods, false relief (i.e. drugs, alcohol, etc.), false family, or worse, giving up on life altogether.  It is evident, through Scripture that the Church has a role to play in guiding people in their pain. Loving people through their struggle is what Christ did and how God is reconciling His creation back to himself.
The problem is when we help people through their pain we come close or closer to our own, perhaps that is why we avoid it? If the Church was to approach people with more than just an “I will be praying for you” or “Bless his/her heart” and really interact with the people in their current circumstance, that would mean the Church would have to acknowledge her pain. This is dangerous, but necessary. When followers of Christ are unable to admit their brokenness, address their skeletons, and tackle their demons, then the reconciliation process is hindered. However, when we reconcile people to the Lord, who is more than their pain, we help them see the pain we have embraced ourselves and allowed Christ to conquer. That is when God’s glory is visible and His powerful name is known!
Well, this makes sense to me…kind of.

Go Hard or Go HOME!!!

I guess that is how I am feeling right about now. I guess I feel that if I don’t go hard then will I really go home? I mean God calls us to a faith that is hard. A faith that is rough and you definitely get some bumps and bruises on the way, but how will you handle the bruises? I don’t want to run from my calling. I know my purpose, I know who I am in Christ, so why should I stop because of some pain?

In the movie “THE PROGRAM” there is a top prospect freshman who comes in. He is talented and is definitely made for the game. He has speed, he can read the field, people cheer for him. It is great, but in a practice before the season started he gets hit and fumbles the ball. He gets banged up a bit by his own teammate. 

His coach, played by James Caan, comes up to him and says ” Hey, are you injured or are you hurt?” The player says “What’s the difference?” The coach replies ” If you are injured then you can’t get up, but if you are hurt then you can get up and play again? SO what are you? Injured or hurt?”

I think God has been asking me that question. Am I injured or hurt? If I am injured then I need to stop, but if I am just hurt, then go harder!! 

I need to push through the crap and do what I am called to do. I am called to be a leader. I am called to be a follower. I am called to love and I am called to battle for the kingdom of God so God can be glorified here on earth. This is where the rubber meets the road, as the saying goes. How fast will I go?

Will I be timid or will I ride and run faster than ever before so the Kingdom is magnified through the works of Christ through me? I am not injured!! I am just bruised, and a scratch here and there, but not injured!!

It is time to do ministry harder and stronger than ever before. God I praise you for the fire!! I thank you for the friends and family who support Natasha and I. I love all of you!

This may sound lame to some of you reading, but I feel renewed! I feel like I am not empty for the first time in a long time! I was hurt, I still may be a little, but I am going Hard so when I do Go home I will hear Well done my good and faithful servant!

What will you do?

Merry Christmas!!

So far this has been a decent Christmas season. It has been great to spend time with the wife. It has been great to spend time with friends. However, I feel like I have been doing nothing. I don’t know, I guess it feels alright, but at the same time I feel like I need to always be doing something. Why is that? I think sometimes that is how I am. I just always feel the need to be moving around or just doing anything. I always feel uncomfortable just sitting on the couch, even if I know it is something I should be doing. I don’t like to sleep in, even if I know it is going to be better for me in the long run. I don’t know. I feel like there is so much for me to do, but so little time and energy to do it.

Better than who?

Why is it that people like to be better than other people? I have found that unfortunately people have this complex that causes them to put others down or the complex does not allow them to even believe that possibly others could be better than they are. I feel like we have allowed ourselves to take the social norm that says we need to stomp on or trample anyone or anything that may be in our way a little too far. We even overlook our friendships in this situation.
We even have a tendency to look at our friends in the same way. We look at them as our enemy instead of embracing them and trying to finish the race together. We all want to be at the top, but it seems like we forget that we need to embrace the bottom, where we start, before we can truly reach the top.
I find it unfortunate when I hear of people who put themselves on a platform above everyone else. It is an unfortunate place to be because someday they may find themselves being knocked down with nobody around who really wants to help them, but may feel obligated.
The real question is who are we truly better than? Why is it that we can’t seem to understand we aren’t the greatest at anything? We all have talents in different areas and we should learn how to praise each other in those abilities instead of getting jealous and knocking people down just to get our jollies. It is a weird way to please yourself in my opinion.
I am suggest something a little far fetched and possibly way to out there, but it is worth a shot. Let’s try CARING about EACH OTHER and QUIT CARING about how GREAT WE ARE as INDIVIDUALS!!! We are meant to live together on this earth to make it a better place, but as long as we battle each other we might as well kiss our butts goodbye and watch our plastic (MEAN GIRLS reference) relationships dissipate as we go trying to be better than everyone else. WHICH, by the way, is IMPOSSIBLE!!!