This post started as a Facebook status. As it grew I realized it may fit better as a blog post. People tend to be more okay with blog posts being lengthy. 

It’s alright you can admit when you see a long status you think, “oh for crying out loud! Just tell me you are in a good mood and then move on!” So here it is!

 

On the morning of Monday August 22, 2011 we left out house in Curryville, MO and headed 4 hours south to begin a new chapter in our lives. It is a strange feeling, knowing everything you own is in a U-haul and a couple cars. It was a bit scary because we had not really lived away from family, and this was a place we didn’t really know.

The bootheel of Missouri is a strange land. Erase from your mind anything you know about southern, MO (aka Branson and rolling hills filled with trees). The bootheel is flat, farmland. I didn’t even know cotton was grown in Missouri until we moved down here!

But it has been amazing and became home so quickly for us! Noah began to really walk as we unpacked boxes. We celebrated his first birthday here. The only home Aaron has ever known is right here. Those in the church made us feel welcome immediately! We have had so many help us and encourage us these last couple years. We are truly blessed by everyone here! 

The ministry position I get to work in is amazing! I can’t imagine doing anything else. I love doing Youth Ministry and I especially love doing it here in Malden! The average Youth Minister stays in a position for 18-24 months. I’ve said from the beginning that I’m out to smash that number. I want to help bring it way up! 

It takes a while to really get the ball rolling when working in ministry. People have an idea of what my job should look like. They have the example of those who came before me. People can look at me and think, “Who does he think he is coming in here and telling us what to do? He’s not from around here.” I’ve not really experienced that here, but I have taken things slowly.

We have so many kids involved with youth group. They are growing and challenging each other. It is so amazing to watch! I’m excited to continue the ministry here.

Basically this post is a very small update to celebrate living here in the bootheel for 2 years. We are so excited to see what God has in store for our future as we continue the work he has laid before us.

Thanks for all those who pray for us!

Chasing After Your Dreams

August 16, 2013

What is a goal that you have set for yourself? We all have at least one.

Maybe your goal/dream has to do with your appearance. You want to lose weight.

Or a location where you would like to live.

Perhaps a job you desire.

Sometimes we set them so lofty and we just think, “Ya that would be nice, but…” and then we make an excuse about why that dream could never come true.

But why not? Why couldn’t that dream come true? What is keeping you from pursuing it?

Dreams take sacrifices on our part to come true. Many times we just expect them to land in our lap with no effort on our part. We see the fame and fortune of others and wonder, “Why can’t that kind of thing happen to me?” We see the overnight success of a group of people and become frustrated.

I heard an interview with the band fun. where they talked about the truth of their “overnight success.” They had all been in failing bands before and it took years for them to get to where they are now.

The truth is, in most cases, it takes a lot of really hard work to achieve your goals. It is rarely easy.

For those people who don’t work hard and achieve “success,” they will likely fail fast unless they learn to work hard at keeping it.

Nothing comes easy. But we must make the decision to not let bumps or roadblocks stop us along the way.

I truly believe God has given us each dreams. He wants us to pursue after them and use them for His glory. Even with God giving us these dreams, it doesn’t mean they will be easy things to do.

What in life that’s worth anything is easy? The hard work makes the success that much more wonderful.

In order to reach our goals, we have to start. We have to break out of our normal routines and begin to chase after our dreams. Set small goals for yourself. What are checkpoints you can set for yourself to gauge if you are headed the right way.

Set those small goals and that will make the long road ahead more endurable. It will give you glimpses of hope when your dream seems so far away.

Pursue it though! Break free from normal, and chase the amazing dream that God has placed in your life.

What are your dreams? What is keeping you from chasing after them?

Community is essential

August 15, 2013

I’m one of those guys who thinks I can do things on my own.  I’ve never been much for working in groups. Mostly that’s because I always seemed to get stuck in a group with kids who didn’t want to work……and I liked good grades.

Or when I start something new, sometimes I don’t like to tell people. I don’t want them finding out until I’m perfect at it. I’m finding, though, not telling anyone sets me up for failure though. I have no accountability, no strength to keep myself going when my activity gets difficult.

However, when I tell others, I’m more likely to keep going. They help me to push forward when the initial excitement is over.

My success rate is even higher when I find someone to start with me.

I think this is true for all of us. We were made for community. We need other people. Some of us need more people than others, but all of us need at least one person in our lives to help push us forward. 

We desire companionship with others, a friend to lean on and go through life experiences with. It is a wonderful thing to find that companion.

We really do succeed more with others. 

This is one reason I don’t understand why people decide to not be a part of the church. 

“I’m a Christian but I hate the church and I don’t need it.” But the church is a community of people all trying to live this Christian life together. 

Yes, it’s true the people in the church are flawed. It’s true some churches do a better job than others at living out the Christian life. But we shouldn’t be so quick to write them all off.

When we find that group of people who will build us up to keep pressing forward to the prize that God has promised for a faithful life in Christ, it is the find of a lifetime!

Community is a part of who God is: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Why would we even want to go through life alone? Why would we want to live out our faith separately from the body of Christ?

Get plugged in somewhere. If you are starting a new activity, clue someone in to help you along the way, someone you can trust to push you when you don’t want to be pushed. 

If you are a Christian, find a community of believers. Help each others live out your faith. It is a lot easier to do this with others to help you along.

Do you even let other people’s expectations get in the way of what you know you should be doing? 

Maybe it is at a job and your employer expects more than what was discussed for your job description. They present you with task after task and it gets in the way of your actual job.

It could be at home, school, your friends, or other family members. 

Perhaps it is the other way though. Maybe in one of these areas, nobody really expects much of you. They don’t really expect you to do much and that starts to get in your head.

Many times I find myself in the second category. Nobody really expects a youth minister to amount to too much. Sure, they expect me to get lessons planned and events lined out. But beyond that. I’m the “youth guy.” Youth ministers are messy, unorganized, not really all that disciplined, not punctual, and childish. 

Then, when a youth minister shows some initiative it can be suspected, “oh they won’t be here for long. Looks like they are trying to move up to something bigger.” Of course “something bigger” refers to a senior minister position. 

What about a youth minister who just wants to to an excellent job at his ministry? What about a guy who wants to be a superb husband and father? 

I’m currently taking part in something called The Start Experiment. Those of us involved have decided to stop living a mediocre life and to trade it in for awesome.

As part of this round I’ve decided to get up at 5am every day. I’m going to run. I’m planning out specific times with my wife as well as each of my boys. As always, I am going to work hard at my job. I’m currently working on getting lessons finalized for this semester. 

I want to make the most of the life God has laid out for me. I want to use my time wisely and effectively. It wont be easy. This is day two of my 5 AM wake up, and it was so difficult to get out of bed and go for that run. 

There will be other things that will attempt to get in the way of my goals, but I can’t let them dictate what I know to be right. I can’t let other people’s expectations (too many, or not enough) hold me back. I can’t let fear of the unknown or what others may think stop me. 

Others may not always understand why we live the way we do, especially when we decide to leave the ordinary behind. But we must pursue what God has given us to live, no matter how crazy it seems to others.

No matter what they have decided our life should be.

So go after it! Life audaciously! Pursue awesome! Live the life God has prepared for you!

People who know me know I’m a Youth Minister. I work for a church and am in charge of lesson planning, recruiting, and activity planning for the youth group. I absolutely love my job and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. 

Not everyone feels that way about Youth Ministers. I know people who view this job as a stepping stone to become the lead minister. Others (who are not in ministry) sometimes as when I’m going to become a “real” pastor or when I plan on moving up.

There are times when people have referred to my job as “just” the youth minister.

For a while I let that kind of thing get to me. Just the youth minister? Is it some sort of lesser calling than other kinds of ministry? What do they mean by throwing in that 4 letter “j” word?

When people use that in reference to what you do, it makes a person feel lesser in some way.

Just the teacher’s aide,

Just a general practice doctor,

Just a volunteer,

Just a musician,

Just a writer,

and on and on we go.

Let me tell you though, you are not just anything! 

If you are following the call of God in your life then what you are doing matters. If you are using the gifts our Father has given you, then there is no insignificant way you are contributing.

God has a place for each of us in life. He has a call and a purpose for us all. When we listen to that call, people may not understand. They may try to guilt you into doing something “greater.” The problem with that is when we are following God’s lead, there is absolutely nothing greater we could be doing!

If you have been listening to the lies others have been telling you, that your call from God isn’t big enough or isn’t good enough, tune them out. 

Run from those voices. Plug your ears while singing “lalalalala.” 

God has given you a purpose to fulfill. Our responsibility is to live it out, no matter what other people are saying about it.

If you have been avoiding your call because of what others might say or do, push through that barrier. 

There is no greater place to be than in God’s will.

You aren’t just anything.