For years, I’ve fought against the urge to place too much weight upon the next thing. The next thing may not be clearly defined, of course–it rarely is. But nonetheless, I catch myself looking ahead, dreaming of what might be. All the while, I steadily lose sight of my present responsibilities.
I watched The Exorcist in high school. While I watched movies often in those days, especially action/adventure movies and comedies, I hadn’t yet explored much in the realm of horror. The movie left an impression on me that remains to this day, though not because the movie itself scared me. No, I remember The Exorcist because, around the viewing of the film, I was told stories of real life events that inspired parts of the story. The story of The Exorcist forced me to recognize the reality of spiritual warfare, the existence of actual demons. The film reminded me that we face a very real, very evil enemy.
I wonder what went through John’s mind as he sat in prison. He’d answered the call of the Lord in the wilderness, proclaiming the kingdom of God and baptizing the repentant (Luke 3:1-22). He’d prepared the way for the Messiah, introducing the Christ at the beginning of Jesus’s earthly ministry (John 1:29-36). He’d faithfully stood for righteousness in the face of Herod’s immorality (Matthew 14:4). And yet he found himself imprisoned. The crowds he once taught left him to follow Jesus (John 3:26). While John found joy in humbly playing his role in the bridegroom’s story (John 3:27-30), he seems to have struggled with doubt while in prison, for he sent some of his followers to Jesus to ask an important question.
“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.”
Stewardship matters. Continue reading
Asking for prayer is not just a sanctified sympathy request (though I often unconsciously see it that way). Continue reading
I used to be all about some trading cards. Granted, I never managed to jump on board the major trains (shout out to Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic, etc.). Instead, I amassed stacks upon stacks of Young Jedi cards (a trading card game based on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace), Marvel’s Recharge trading card game (complete with images from the first Spider-man movie), and, finally, The Lord of the Rings trading card game. For all the inherent nerdiness, trading card games captivated me for years. I loved to collect, to display, and, whenever I found an opportunity, I loved to trade.
Youth ministry can be a challenge.
Ok, that’s an understatement. Let me try again:
Youth ministry is a crucible through which one’s faith is put to the test in frightening and unimaginable ways. But that’s not to say there isn’t joy there as well.
I love Christmas. I love the chilly weather outside, the lights strung throughout the trees in the park, and the sounds of Christmas music everywhere. I love the warm feeling that accompanies giving gifts to loved ones, and I even love facing the crowds to get those last minute gifts. Christmas, for these reasons and more, is arguably my favorite time of the year. Continue reading
I’m not very good at connecting the dots. If I’m watching a movie with some friends, I’m usually the one who will be surprised at the plot twist that everyone else saw coming. So it shouldn’t surprise me that I missed the point of the Christmas story for the longest time.