Why Life without a Mentor is a Bad Idea

01.12.15 mentoring post

Mentoring has always been important to me. My father played a significant role in my development of valuing outside voices of wisdom. Through our man-to-man relationship, I realize the importance of having an older and wiser person in my life to help construct and guide me.

When I turned fifteen years old, my dad understood that his voice was still important but that it would be vital for me to get other men involved. He had me choose five mentors that would walk with me through the remainder of my high school career. All of them were great influences in my life, but more importantly the context for mentoring was established in these formative years. From that point on, I lived a life guided by God’s hand through other godly men. Mentors have always been in my life, and they always will be.

There are many essential elements that make a mentoring relationship work, but the most important is submission. A mentoree must respect the voice and perspective of a mentor enough to trust and apply the advice that is given. Continual hesitation or neglect of what the mentor has said to the mentoree will cause the relationship to be ineffective. The attitudes and actions of the mentoree must show the mentor that he is trusting the guiding relationship.

In his Book “Mentoring,” Terry Walling points to seven items that a mentoree can do to contribute to a successful mentoring relationship. In brief, these seven things are as follows:

1. Accept responsibility for growth
2. Develop a personal understanding of God’s direction
3. Developed personal ministry goals
4. Match mentors with goals
5. Develop mentor eyes
6. maintain a teachable spirit
7. Continue to trust God for development

All of these are important, but they are not all easy to maintain. In the last fifteen years, I found myself struggling with these three things the most:

Developing a personal understanding of God’s direction. Terry Walling explains that it is important for the mentoree to know where he is going so he will be able to identify the mentoring needs. For the most part, I understand my unique calling or direction, but often I wait for a mentor to tell me which way I should go. I need to grow in this area and develop a personal understanding of God’s direction prior to my meetings with my mentors. I can trust their voice will help me on the path and correct me if I get off course, but I should not be so co-dependent upon them that I end up paralyzed without them.

Match mentors with goals. I have many goals in my life. I know that these goals need to be vetted out with the help of mentors. I could be better at finding mentors with specific skills or life experience to match up with my goals; this would better eliminate wasted energy and efforts to accomplish these goals. It may also help me understand if a goal should even be something I actually should pursue by helping me count the costs and not just making an emotional decision.

Developing mentoring eyes. Walling explains that developing mentoring eyes is to gain the skills that “recognize divine appointments and growth opportunities that God puts in the mentoree’s path.” More often than I would like to admit, I count some things are merely coincidental in my life. I do not always stop long enough to acknowledge God’s divine movement and placement of people, opportunities or circumstances that are there to form me into Christ-likeness. I need to increase my attentiveness to God’s actions in my life and bring these things before my mentors so we can talk about them and use these things as a basis for greater development.

The Impact of a Few Great Men

There are two great men that have had deep impacted my life: David Jones and Ken Murphy. I met both of these men as I started my journey into full-time ministry. Though they are different men, they have a few things in common: they both love the Lord with all of their heart; they prioritize family above ministry. They both intentionally seek to give away their knowledge for my improvement; they have made themselves available to me without hesitation. I am forever grateful for the impact they have had in my life.

Ken Murphy
Ken and I met when I was only 18 years old. He came into my life at a time when my theological foundation was being formed. I met him when I attended a young adults Bible study on the attributes of God. That study alone proved to formative of my perspective of God. In addition to that study, we met many other times and opened our Bibles. He helped me understand theological issues that have been important for my ongoing ministry. He also mentored my (now) wife and me through our dating relationship, engagement, and our wedding.

Nearly ten years later, we still meet approximately every two weeks as he mentors me in my calling as a pastor. He has served in the pastorate for twenty-five years. His wisdom and life experience have always added greatly to my life. He has never forced a perspective upon me. He has always been intentional to ask questions, guiding me through hard-to-navigate situations, and encouraging me to keep the Bible as the foundation of my life. A bonus to this relationship has been that his wife and my wife have grown close. This allows our families to interact and for us to see him and his wife raise their kids and see their marriage on display. While Ken teaches me many things directly, there are many things I learn from him indirectly through our informal times together.

David Jones
I met David Jones when I took my first pastoral job at Harvest Bible Chapel in 2006. David has dedicated his life to training up younger pastors. He was gracious enough to take me under his wing and include me in some of his trainings with other men who would eventually take a senior pastor role. I learned a lot from him by sitting in these formal contexts and studying ministry philosophy. This time was shorted by and unexpected move to Colorado. Before I moved away from Chicago, he called me and said he would like to maintain a relationship. Since then, he and I have talked on a regular basis. I often refer to him as my “preaching mentor” because he is the loudest voice in my life as it relates to my ongoing preaching ministry. He has helped me develop processes and paradigms for sermon preparation and sermon delivery. He also gives me access to his personal life, allowing me to see him in his role as a father and a husband. I have learned a lot from his godliness and his dedication to God’s Word. He continually encourages me to keep The Cross at the center of my life. He’s not afraid to give a firm rebuke if he knows it is necessary, but I always feel loved by him no matter how hard he pushes me.

Areas of Need

Mentoring will continue to be a practice in my life. I will never assume that I have arrived or do not have more to learn. At this point in my life, there are five main reasons I know I still need mentoring:

  1. Accountability. I know that I need the voices of smarter and wiser men to look into my life and call me to deeper holiness.
  2. Objectivity. Their objective perspective is needed to help me avoid mistakes and shore-up shortcomings so that I may reach my maximum potential.
  3. Goal-setting. I need to be stretched beyond what is comfortable.
  4. Attentiveness to God’s moving. Just as mentors can help me avoid blind spots, they can also help me see the work of God where I may lack the attentiveness or perspective to see it.
  5. Work and Family Life Balance. Ministry can be all consuming; I will trust my mentors to tell me when I’ve taken on too much and need to be more intentional with my family.

I love that mentoring is a part of God’s design. I plan to steward this gift with the utmost intentionality.

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Undone: God’s Redemption Plan for Reconciling People To Himself (Acts 10:23-48)

God has no partiality in who he saves and who he does not – so why do Christians so often act as if some people are not good enough for the Gospel? In this message, I unpack the way that God chose to save the Gentiles in the book of Acts. I believe  passages address one of the most important doctrine issues in the whole New Testament. Without this truth, we would not be welcomed into the family of God. Similarly, we must make sure we are reaching all people with the truth of the Gospel, trusting that He will save whoever He desires.

My Sermon Outline: Undone Preaching Outline

My Study Notes: Study Notes on Acts 10.23-43

 

10 Resources for Counseling Marriage Conflict

Young couple not communicating after an argument

Prepare and Enrich
Prepare and Enrich is a tool that was designed by Dr. David Olsen to help evaluate the health of a couple’s relationship. This tool can be used for premarital and marriage relationships. It is something that a counselor would administer and facilitate for the couple, allowing them to see what is happening behind the scenes in their relationship. It gives deeper insight to the counselor as to how they can help. I have used this tool for years in my counseling office and I love the way it helps couples find a clearer path to a healthier relationship.

6 Steps for Resolving Conflict in Marriage
When counseling arises in a marriage, it can be hard to know where to even begin to work it out. This resource from Family Life lays out 6 great steps for resolving conflict.

Worksheets for Couples
Handouts can be so helpful when counseling a couple. These worksheets can be taught in a session or given as homework. This site lists over 20 links to downloadable forms that can be given to couples or used in counseling to help with communication or conflict resolution.

100 Questions to Deepen Marriage Communication
I have found that many men do not know how to how or initiate a deep conversation with their wife. This is true for some women with their husband as well. One of the greatest ways I can help as a counselor is it to teach them how to ask meaningful questions. This page contains a list of 100 questions that can be asked of a spouse to engage great conversation.

Resources for Marriage and Relationships
This is a great page of many handouts and worksheets that can be used for counseling marriages. Many of these are from outside resources such as John Gottman and The Blessing with John Trent. I am always in need of great resources for marriage counseling and this page is a wealth of resources!

6 Couple Exercises for Increasing Communication
Guide Doc is a site dedicated to sharing best practices with healthcare and mental health professionals. There are many great resources on this site and this article is specific to provide 6 exercises that could be helpful for a couple to increase communication with marriage. These can be done on their own or with the counselor. This site also included a “Marriage Counseling Doc: How to Avoid Divorce” that has some other great resources within it.

How to take a time out (Video)
Conflict can be hard to sort through in a counseling office filled with hostility. In this video, a counselor demonstrates how he would teach a couple to take a time out when facing a hard decision or disagreement. This could be helpful for the counselor or could be played for the counselee as homework in-between sessions.

Tips and Tools for Healthy Conflict Resolution
Focus on the Family has been a trusted resource for many people for several decades. This page does a good job of laying out 7 steps that can be used when resolving conflict. The counselor could teach this or it could be a great resource to have the counselee read on his or her own and come back and discuss in the counseling office.

National Counseling and Conflict Resolution Centers
Family Life has compiled a list of national organization that can help people with conflict resolution. All of the contact information is listed for each organization, including a description of theory and services. This would be great if a pastor or counselor need to refer out for greater or more specific help with a couple.

Biblical Counseling Coalition – “Conflict Resolution Articles”
This page is a compilation of various articles from many different practicing counselors and pastors on the topic of conflict resolution. The different exercises, viewpoints and helps within this list can provide the breadth of expertise needed to help a couple with this topic in 5 sessions or less.

Is It Okay to Be Mad at God?

Anger is the aircraft carrier in the fleet of our emotions. Not only because of its massive size, but also its ability to do harm because from it proceeds a multitude of other feelings—grief, sadness, hatred, loss, horror, and doubt.

Anger in itself is not necessarily wrong. It is an emotion God has given us, but as with anything He has given us, we must not elevate it higher than Christ. If we allow our lives and hearts to be defined by our anger, we are worshipping at the altar of our emotions, not at the throne of God. As children, we expressed anger freely, first physically through crying and temper tantrums, and then, hopefully and with parental guidance, through appropriate verbal expression. As adults we learn how not to express anger and instead spend millions on drugs to anesthetize the inevitable pain of keeping it stuffed too long. If anger is suppressed it leaves us in a state of helplessness and usually leads us to avoid divine help.

When it comes to being angry with God, we really have only two choices:

  1. We can talk it out. We could express to Him how we feel (even if most of this conversations is filled with our screaming).
  2. We can sulk. In most instances, when we are angry with someone—even God—we avoid him all together. Sometimes it’s easier to pout and have a pity party than actually deal with the issue.

If we don’t deal with our anger head on it will rear its ugly head in some other way. This can be dangerous. More explosive. Only dig us into a deeper hole. Expressing our anger to or toward God is all a lot easier said than done, I understand. Most of us accumulate anger and resentment like a collection of bugs. At some point those feelings swell up, tip over, and spill into all areas of our life, creating a deep sense of bitterness for reasons we can’t even remember.

Anger is universal, but the ways we deal with it vary, and often it is our strategy for handling anger that is wrong, not the anger itself. Be honest with God about your anger. He is big enough to handle it. But then patiently wait for Him to be clear with you in return. He may be able to change your situation by simply changing your perspective.

Why You Need to Avoid Hypocrites Completely

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01.03.15 wolf in sheep's clothing post

Have you ever heard the phrase – “A wolf in sheep’s clothing?” It’s a statement that is often used to refer to people who are sly, tricky or deceitful. At first you may perceive a person like this to be harmless, but the closer you get to them, you find that they are out to devour whatever they can get a hold of.

In 2 Corinthians 11:1-15, Paul is warning “hey, the enemy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – he is going to trick you into something that will ruin you in the end.” The Corinthian people were struggling with their faith in God because they believed false apostles – men who claimed to be speaking for God, but were actually speaking a lie.

Paul wrote to tell them to hold firm to the truth he had told them. He wanted them to know that even though these false teachers may look all right on the outside, they are corrupt on the inside. At the end of this passages he warned, ‘Even Satan can cress as an angel of light…but he’s still Satan on the inside.’

This is a good lesson for us to understand too. We must remember that the our enemy is crafty and will even use something that looks like the truth to trick us into living a lie. Be on guard. Don’t have a misplaced theology because it will lead to a misplaced hope.

Top 10 Internet Resources for Depression

01.02.15 depression resources

Biblical Counseling Coalition – Depression Articles
This site has an excellent list of articles, audio and video resources on the topic of depression. There are several different biblical counselors that wrote these articles, giving a variety of perspective and expertise. Tools and steps are included to help the counselor know where to start and how to set realistic goals for the counselee.

The Place of Hope Center – Help for Depression
The Place of Hope is a counseling center that has several specialties, one of which is counseling those dealing with depression. They use God-focused Christian counseling treatments to help a person overcome their depression. They can do their treatment in person or over the phone. The Place of Hope also offers a “Depression Evaluation” online and a copy of “Hope and Healing from Emotional Abuse” to all their counselees.

Article on “Understanding Depression”
This is a PDF article by Steve Lehrer that addresses the topic of depression and gives a clear biblical understanding of how to view it and deal with its causes. This is a resource for the counselor or the mature and astute counselee.

ACBC’s “How to Listen to Depression” Article
This article gives some practical insights and application for listening to a person dealing with depression. It also answers the question, “How does scripture conceptualize depression?” This is an important question that must be answered by the counselor that will be helping a person dealing with depression.

LifeWay Resource – Dealing with depression
This article gives 8 strategies for helping a person with depression. Though it is a brief article for this topic, it is weighted in its words. Practical insights are given, and the Gospel is clearly applied to the feelings of depression.

Article and Resources on for Depression
This is one of my favorite sites of all of the resources. I found on the web for depression. It gives a thorough and biblical explanation for depression, in addition to listing helpful websites, articles, and books on the topic. The symptoms and treatments are briefly addressed but extremely accurate.

Resources for Counseling Depression
A counselor that is dealing with depression should be looking for good books and resources on this topic to recommend to the counselee as needed. This list from the American Association of Christian Counselors gives four excellent books on this topic. This page provides a summary of each book so that the reader can choose which one is right for their context.

Therapy for Depression
Though this is not a stated Christian site, it has great resources for the counselor as to how to diagnose a person as depressed and what treatments may be needed. They also included many case studies of depression that may be helpful to compare to a situation of someone that may be dealing with it who is asking for help.

Understanding Depression (4 audio resources with documents)
Dr. Charles Hodges wrote an excellent book entitled “Good Mood Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder”. On this website, we are given four audio recording of messages Dr. Hodges gave on the topic of his book and how to help those dealing with depression or similar disorders.

CCEF Depression Articles
This is a list of articles and some audio resources from various network counselors that are a part of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. There are some great articles about dealing with this personally, helping someone deal with it and resources for those that live with a person in depression.

Jonathan Edwards Resolutions

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01.01.15 Resolutions Podcast Post
Here we sit on the brink of a new year, a time seemingly to start over and reboot our life’s hard drive. I am notorious for starting resolutions and failing or forgetting them by the end of January. However, I think I’ve found a model worth following.

I recently read about one of my heroes. He lived some 300 years ago, and he knew the importance of setting a goal and sticking to it. His name was Jonathan Edwards, and when he was about 22-years-old he sat down and started a revolutionary list that plainly lay out his goals for a personal reformation. All-in-all, Edwards had 70 items on his list.

I know you’re thinking, if I can’t even hold to one resolution, why I would be inspired by a guy with 70 times as many? Allow me to tell you why Edwards invigorates me:

First off, he was young when he wrote his resolutions. It is inspiring to hear about a man even younger than me who understood the importance of analyzing life and was always seeking to improve.

But that’s another thing I love about Edwards – he didn’t just want to improve for his own acknowledgement, but he understood that the chief-end for his resolutions was to bring glory to God. At the beginning of his list, he wrote, “Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God’s help, I do humbly entreat Him by His grace to enable me to keep these resolutions … for Christ’s sake.”

This is revolutionary! Think about how many resolutions we have made that are so focused on us. “If I lose weight,” or “if I work out more,” or “if I study harder”… all are goals that are only going to bring us bragging rights. We must be like Edwards and understand that all of our personal motives must lead us to the one goal of glorifying God!

The other thing I love is that Edward’s resolutions were practical. He was very specific and wrote things like:

“I resolved to read Scripture steadily, consistently, and frequently…”

“I resolved to never do anything out of revenge…”

“I resolved to never speak anything that is ridiculous…”

As you can see, all of his resolutions were all Bible-based. As you read them, you can think of a Scripture to back up each one.

Finally, I loved that Edwards did not set these at the beginning of a year and leave them to fade into the gray matter of his mind. He continually added to them and made sure to review them weekly or as needed, so that he could be reminded of these God-minded goals.

So I’ve followed his example and written my own resolutions, and I am sure that I too will keep adding to them. I have made them practical, Bible-based, and with the goal in mind of glorifying God, not myself. I encourage you to do the same. Take some time to start your own list. Like Edwards, write on the top that you acknowledge they will all be broken if you don’t have the supernatural help of heaven.

Make a commitment to weekly read through your resolutions our own. I am going make it a routine part of my quiet time with the Lord. And a year from now, I hope I will be able to look back over 2010 and see that my resolutions helped me resound with 1 Corinthians 2:2 that says, “I resolved to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.”

 

Defending Against Satan’s Five Most Common Plays

five plays od satan post

Satan is a crafty enemy, but I don’t want to give him too much credit.

He is my enemy because he is an eternal against my God. I cannot tolerate him, bear the thought of him or even stand typing his name. I loathe his existence.

Sadly, too often we act as if Satan is just some evil version of Casper the Friendly Ghost. We don’t hate him; we talk about him too lightly, and we have an “ah shucks, he got me again” attitude too much of the time.

If we understand his hate for us, we will be more inclined to want to destroy his every move. It is with that kind of attitude that I write this article. I will always do what I can do unwind his calculated efforts.

I was recently reading Genesis, the part where Satan enters the earthly scene, and I noticed some things I hadn’t seen so clearly before. His game of deception, doubt, denial, and discouragement is clearly seen in the Garden of Eden account. I was able to deduct five main plays of Satan, used often throughout Scripture and in our lives. They are as follows:

  1. Doubt: Satan tries to cause us to doubt God, His love, His promises and His forgiveness. Doubt left alone for Satan to fertilize will grow into a division between us and God. Doubt dispelled can become a building block for our faith.
  2. Discourage: This is the bazooka in Satan’s arsenal of attack weapons. If he can get us focused on our problem rather than God, he can weaken our faith and pick us off. Sadly, Satan doesn’t always have much effort to exert here. We have a way of finding discouragement on our own if we want to find it.
  3. Divert: This is a classic move – he make us love something more than God. We start believing things like, “This can’t be so wrong if it feels so right” and “No one will know and certainly God won’t do anything.” Satan loves to get us headed down the wrong path of affection and action only to allow the snowball effect to take over from there.
  4. Defeat: Remember, Satan hates you, so shooting you when you are down is no big thing for him. If he can get you with one of the first three plays and then make sure you are defeated, he will do just that. Defeat is easy for him as the father of lies, but hard for us to stand against. Our antidote is the truth of God that we can be forgiven, reconciled and made righteous through the Gospel of Jesus.
  5. Delay: A stalled out saint is sweetness to Satan. When Satan can get us to stop moving toward God and His purpose, he considers that a small victory. We are to put on our new self and take off the old, anything that delays us in doing this is one of Satan’s mainstays.
12.29.14 satans five plays slider

Adapted from the Chronological life application study Bible. Tyndale House. 2012

So then, how do we live?

Keep these five tactics in mind: Examine our hearts to see if and where we have allowed them to happen in our life. Then we ask for the Holy Spirit to give us the power to escape this pattern and return to righteousness. Though Satan has some power, God’s power is greater than any of his most venomous attacks.

Eliminate repeated attacks: If I were to find that one of these tactics was being used against me more than the others, I would want to get help, accountability and discipline to guard against it. I don’t ever want to let Satan take cheap shots. He is a jerk and will try to play dirty, so I must stand strong against his manipulation.

Remember, the fight is not against flesh and blood: A true defense against these tactics is not mere behavior modification. I must employ the powers of the one and only mighty God as I stand against his archenemy of darkness.

A Night of Peace on Christmas Eve, 1870: A “O Holy Night” story

Christmas Eve 1870 post

On Christmas Eve in 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, an intense battle was taking place between French and German soldiers. Suddenly, a French soldier jumped from the trenches, exposing himself to the enemy’s fire.

Before either side could figure out what to do, he began singing Cantique de NoelO Holy Night in English. Each side stood frozen as he sang of the birth of the Messiah. As the last chords of his solo faded into the night, a German soldier emerged from his hideout and began to sing From Heaven Above to Earth I Come, a popular Christmas carol in Germany. Both sides apparently joined together to sing an Austrian carol, and fighting ceased for the following 24 hours.

No one is really sure if this event actually happened, but there is enough evidence to piece together a story and believe something like this did once occur. Those soldiers obviously had some differences between them, and yet they were able to lay those differences aside for one night in order to celebrate something they had in common: Christ and His birth.

How often are we more marked by our differences than by our commonalities? How often do we allow petty arguments with a friend or a family member distract us enough so we loose sight of the true significance Christmas represents.

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Learning to Love God for More Than His Gifts

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12.13.14 Savor Christ post

Savoring Christ

There is almost never a day that goes by where I am not reminded to keep “Christ and Him Crucified” at the center of my life. Last winter, on a cold snowy day in Chicago, I was unexpectedly reminded of this. Bundled in my coat, I walked past a warm little bookstore and glanced in the window to see a homeless man that had gone inside to get out of the cold.

There he sat in the nice big reading chair with a half-starved look on his face. Unlike the many other homeless that were out on the street begging for money and trying to get something to eat, this man had a different idea of filling his need. He had taken a rather large picture book of food and gazed as he slowly turned through the pages. As I watched the man’s face it was as if he was sitting at a large banquette table and with every flip of the page he was served the next course of his meal. Finally, when he arrived at the desert section he grinned from ear-to-ear, and I continued to walk with a smile.

This foolish man made me think of all the times in my life that I have sat satisfied with something far less than the real thing. Too many times I meddle in the meaningless effects of this world, when I could be experiencing the Almighty. Even more, it may not be sin that distracts me, but the mere everydayness of Christianity. My desire to relate to people more deeply, or preach more adequately, or do youth ministry more relevantly are all noble causes, yet they pail in comparison to knowing Christ and Him crucified.

When the Cross is off-center in my life I have willingly allowed something else to take its place. Whether it is my finances, my relationships, or even this week’s sermon, which are all so urgent and all “good things”, they begin to knock out the important, Christ. How easy it is to let my ministry take the place of Christ and I go on doing things for God rather than knowing Him more closely. When this happens the aching slowly grows and I find myself homesick for the Cross due to my busyness, shallowness, and sin.

For some it may be making retreats more rewarding than redemption or Wednesday nights more enthralling than God’s glory. With deep urgency, we must strive to return the Gospel to its central place in our lives. The Cross, and all its beauty is not only saving on the day of our regeneration, but should also fulfill us daily. By the Cross our hearts are found overflowing with the deepest satisfaction, and by it we are given strength to help those that God places around us. When a teen in an abusive situation comes crying for help we will already be in position to lay them right there at the feet of Jesus. Or when we have a young guy come and openly admit his attraction to the same sex, we will be able to help him tap right into the bondage-breaking power of the blood of Christ. With the cross as the nucleus of life we will be ready for all situations.

For everyone there is a choice whether we are going to wander this world aimlessly, sit hopelessly, or run fervently to God. Great men have gone before us such as Paul, St. Francis, Luther, Whitefield, Spurgeon, and even still Graham, Piper, McDowell and Giglio. All of these have known God greatly, but the Cross was no more accessible to them then it is to us today. What makes these men great is that they acted upon an inward longing. We too can discover that true life is found with the Cross at the center, and in turn can be used greatly by God.

By His strength only

Making Christ the midpoint of our life requires sacrifice and diligence. There will be much excavation that needs to be done in order to clear a path for deeper perseverance. God’s word tells us that we are to “Throw off everything that hinders us and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run the race marked out for us (Hebrews 12:1).” Yet not by our own strength do we run, for it goes on to say that we are to, “Fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2 emphases added).” It is prideful yet easy for us to think that in order to fully know God we are to run in our own strength; Rather, we need to selflessly fall to our knees with the same brokenness that we did on the day of our salvation and remember the great gracious gift that God has give us. By remembering where we have come from, by surveying the cross, and rejoicing in our hope eternal we will discover this sweet salvation once again, and the grace He bestows for everyday life.

So then how do we live?

I trust that all of us understand the disciplines of grace to live a cross-centered life of modeling Christ. This means that it will affect the way that conduct ourselves, for we are instructed to imitate God (Eph. 5:1) all the while living a life worthy of the Gospel (Php 1:27). Our chief-end is to know Christ. Any knowledge of small groups, great leadership, or secrets to youth ministry tastelessly compare to knowing Him. No praise of man or adoration of students will ever satisfy us as much as the love of Christ. How much more Glory would God receive if at the end of our ministry it could be said of us, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you but Christ and Him Crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)