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?

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On Sunday night the teens that went to CIY had the opportunity to get up in front of the church and share about the week. It’s really cool being a part of a church that cares about the teens.

I was able to get up and share a little about CIY and the different ministries they perform. If you are hearing about them for the first time click here and you can head over to their webpage. Then the floor was open to each of the teens to talk about their week and we opened it up for the adults to ask questions.

The part of the trip everyone was most interested in were the Kingdom Worker cars.

CIY has a passion to help young people grow in their walk with Christ. They desire to see life change happen, not just at their events but long after each of the kids have left the conference. They encourage everyone to take steps to advance the Kingdom of God.

One way they get the ball rolling is by giving everyone a Kingdom Worker Card. This card comes sealed in an envelope. On it, is some way the teens will be challenged to trust God and advance His Kingdom. The teens know if they open the card, they are committing to doing whatever is inside.

Want to know what was on the cards that have been opened so far by our group?

Read 1 chapter from Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John everyday for the next school year.

Adopt a widow or widower from the church to invite over for holiday meals for the next year.

Lead 4 lessons over the next year in youth group.

Tutor a group of Jr. High students in a subject or activity you are good at.

Raise $2,500 to help 10 non-churched friends to go to CIY next year.

Isn’t that incredible?! Each of these students has quite a challenge ahead of them. Each of these tasks will require commitment to complete, and each will have an impact on their lives as well as the lives of people around them.

They have decided to leave the pew sitting “Christianity” behind and trade it in for an active faith. They want to change the world for Christ.

One girl, before getting a card, told my wife she wants to raise $2,000 to Central India Christian Mission to help send a guy through Bible College so he can plant churches in India.

Another girl, before getting her card, said she wants to share her testimony with a group of people. She wants the opportunity to share about how Jesus has changed her! She knows it will be hard, and maybe even scary, but none-the-less wants to do it.

These teens are an inspiration, and they are everywhere across our country, and even the world! They are serious about their faith and want to reach others for Christ.

If that does not get you motivated, I don’t know what will.

Christ has called us to more than going to a 9-5 job, coming home and watching TV until it’s time to go to bed. He’s called us to more than just going to church on Sunday’s and maybe Wednesdays.

We are called “for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10b). We are called to trust in our creator and go into our world, spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is amazing that these teens have the desire to make a difference. It’s not so they look amazing, or even because the tasks are all that glamorous, because in some cases they are not.

They want to do this work because they love God and have come to salvation and want to see the same change happen in others.

As an adult, that drives me to live out my faith a little more. If a teenager has the faith and courage to pursue a walk with Christ in his everyday life, what is stopping me?

Who can I share Jesus with today?

How can I serve someone?

What needs can I meet in the name of Christ?

What about you?

What can you do to make a difference for the Kingdom?

How can you be a Kingdom Worker?

Joseph’s Example

July 22, 2013

This last week my wife and I took a group of high school students to Longview, TX to attend CIY (Christ in Youth). 

Guys, it was downright awesome!

I’ve attended CIY in the past and enjoyed it. This was the largest group that we’ve taken and it was the best conference I have been to yet. 

The whole week we looked at the life of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Jacob (Israel) in the Old Testament. His story can be found in Genesis 37-50. Here’s how his story goes in a nutshell.

He was Jacob’s favorite son.

His brothers hated him.

His father gave him a coat.

His brothers hated him more.

He had dreams that one day his family would bow before him.

His brothers wanted him dead.

He was thrown in a bit by his brothers and sold into slavery by them.

He was sold in Egypt and ended up a slave in Potiphar’s house (the captain of the guard.)

Potiphar’s wife wanted to sleep with Joseph but he refused.

Potiphar had Joseph thrown in prison on a false accusation of trying to rape his wife.

Joseph interpreted dreams in prison but remained there for several years.

Joseph interpreted the Pharaoh’s dreams and was made 2nd in command in all of Egypt.

His brothers came and bowed before him.

He revealed himself to them, displayed his forgiveness and they all lived in Egypt for the rest of their lives.

You can see why his story takes up so much of Genesis. 

Through all circumstances Joseph never gave up on God. When Potiphar’s wife tempted him day after day, he responded “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” He didn’t say, “Well God has left me here, I enjoy a good time with a beautiful woman, so okay. God will hopefully overlook this.” 

After being in prison for so long and then being brought before Pharaoh, Joseph still had not lost sight of who God was. When Pharaoh told Joseph he heard Joseph could interpret dreams Joseph said, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” 

In other words, “No, I can’t. But God can.”

Joseph knew that God was in complete control of his life, no matter what was happening.

When bad things start happening to us, we look to God and blame Him. We yell at Him. We refuse to follow Him until He changes our situation. We compromise, believing God will understand because we have it so hard.

As Christians, that is not the response we should have. Joseph was in a pit, sold into slavery, and in prison, but never turned his back on God. 

I’m not saying we don’t face hardships in our lives. I’m not trying to downplay the difficulties you may currently be facing. None of that, though, excuses a lack of faith in God. 

God is faithful in all circumstances. We may not be able to see Him, or feel Him, but when we are carrying out His will, you can guarantee He is there.

God is faithful and that requires we are as well. We must be faithful followers in every circumstance we find ourselves. No situation is an excuse for us to leave the will of God.

So stand up! Rise up and carry out the will of God. There are people all around this world doing what you are doing every single day. 

As Christians, we are a part of the Kingdom of God. He has a plan for each of us. He has a purpose for us and he wants us to complete the work he has laid before us. 

Be faithful with the work He has given you. 

Be a Kingdom Worker.

God Stays the Same

September 6, 2012

Over a year ago, my family and I moved to the boot-heel of Missouri. I began working for a congregation full-time as the Student Minister.

There were new people all around. We had new parents to get to know, new students. I even had to change some of the ways I was getting my work accomplished.

Our son was continuing to grow and change. Then we found out we were going to be having another baby. Change seemed to be all around, and it still is. That line “the only constant thing is change,” continues to ring true, and I’m sure that it is not just true for me.

Chances are, you are facing some sort of change in your life. It could be a new job, or a new addition, or loss to the family. Perhaps you have recently changed schools, or at least changed grades. A change in diet, friends, hairstyle, clothes (hopefully this one happens regularly), are all things we encounter at some time in our lives.

Change can be something in our lives that causes a lot of stress. It brings about the unknown and a feeling of uneasiness. Isn’t it comforting to know that we have a God who is always the same?

James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

Our situations may change. To be honest, we may change. But God stays the same. He has promised to be with us, and He keeps that promise. He is always pure, good, Truth, and love. Our perception of this unchanging God may change, hopefully for the better as we know Him more, but He never does.

It is comforting for me to know that I can always trust God to be exactly who He has always been and to do just as He has always done. I need that constant in a world that is always changing around me.

Off the Beaten Path

August 14, 2012

On Saturday morning I went on a walk with my almost 2-year-old son. I love Saturday’s because of the time that I get to spend with my family. We get to slow down and just be together. Sometimes we plan to go out, and other times we just lounge around the house.

Noah doing some exploring

There was nothing to do at this time, and Noah kept pointing down the sidewalk like he does when he want to go walking. So we did.

Once again, there was nothing planned, so we could just go out and enjoy a nice easy stroll. But Noah likes to stroll a little differently than I do. I had in mind roughly how long we the walk would be and that path we were going to take.

Noah on the other-hand, had different plans. He stopped to check out some leaves, pick up sticks, touch different spots in the sidewalk, watch a truck to by, watch a motorcycle go by, watch another truck, and wave at every person he saw. He was exploring and taking it all in.

Halfway (or what would have been halfway had Noah been on my schedule) through the walk I found myself placing my hand lightly on the back of his head to keep him moving forward. It was just a little reminder saying, “hey those things are cool but let’s keep moving.”

When I noticed I was doing this I immediately stopped. This was Saturday! We had no schedule. There was no need for me to hurry this little explorer along.

It made me think about how we do the same thing. Society, our parents, or our friends all have ideas of what our lives should be like. Everyone seems to have a plan, not only for themselves but also all those around them.

When we start doing a little exploring or taking our time there is always someone around to place their hand on the back of our head to gently (or not so gently) encourage us back onto the path “we should be walking.”

But if everyone always took the path people thought they should, where would the great people or accomplishments come about? If the Apostle Paul had allowed Jewish thought to keep him from following God, we would be out of much of the New Testament.

The other Apostles never stopped preaching Jesus even when the hands around them threw them in prison and beat them.

There are so many stories of people who have gone off the beaten path, or maybe taken time to slow down and see what others have looked at their entire live but never noticed, and then gone on to do great things.

I don’t want to find myself just going through life thoughtlessly. I don’t want to find that I have passed up opportunities with family or friends because I was too busy doing what everyone else thought I should be doing. I want to shake the hand off the back of my head and find where it is God would have me go; and do what He would have me do.

For the next month, I’m going to ride my bike to work. Now, it’s only a couple of miles so it’s not like I’m accomplishing some huge goal in that way, but I want to take some time to slow down a little. I think more and notice more when riding my bike than in the car and I want to make the most of that opportunity and maybe see and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise.

What are ways you can slow down or get off the beaten path?