This Sunday at Radiant Life Fellowship I want to invite you to join us. I am really looking forward to this Sunday for a few reasons.
It is going to be action packed! We are talking about characteristics of God using current movies to illustrate what God is. This week is one of the most action packed movie trilogies of all times. TRANSFORMERS. You better believe that the message will be just as action packed as the movie.
We are also going all out this series. Most churches coast through the summer on auto-pilot because attendance is so inconsistent, but not us. This series we will be showing clips from great movies, playing an awesome popular song each week in addition to our awesome worship, incorporating fun games complete with give-a-ways for the winner, and this week the youth is ending it all with pizza and fun after the service.
The final reason why I am so excited about this Sunday is somewhat obvious. The message will be delivered by none other than your’s truly. I will admit that I am new to this and I will most certainly be nervous on Sunday morning. So all the familiar faces I can have in the house will help me more than you know.
With that being said, I would love to invite you RLF this Sunday at 10am. We meet at Blythe Elementary and you can come early for a little hang time with free coffee and bagels. I hope to see you there.
Check out this video of me doing magic at Movies in the Park last night. It was an amazing night with around 2000 of my closest friends in Huntersville. Radiant Life went above and beyond to create such an amazing event for the community. There will be more pictures and video up of all the great fun.
My friend Josh Conklin shot this last night so thanks to him for being the on point media guy all night. I’m glad he survived the NASCAR experience at the end of the night 😉
I am so looking forward to this!
Bring your family and friends and come have a great time with us! I will be doing magic and there will be tons of family friendly activities, give-a-ways, and snacks. See you there!
I copied this from Doug Fields’ blog at http://www.dougfields.com. It is a great word for everyone. It starts out directed at people in the ministry, but I think these words apply to everyone. Just replace the word “ministry” with “job” or “calling”. The content starts here…
When you say yes to ministry, you also say yes to periods of discouragement. Here are some harsh realities:
• Discouragement is painful.
• Discouragement is untimely.
• Discouragement is lonely.
Be confident that you’re not alone in your hurt (see yesterday’s comments).
Here are 10 ways that you might battle the occasional seasons of discouragement:
1. Find an experienced, but neutral, mentor who will listen to you. My encouragement is to make sure this person is outside your church so your conversation isn’t divisive.
2. Seek to spend time with an upbeat friend who is outside of your youth ministry. The benefit of an upbeat friend is that being with a friend who doesn’t really care about your ministry, but cares about you, can be very refreshing.
3. Realize that not everyone will understand you and your ministry. Actually, it’s fairly safe to state that no one will value your ministry as much as you. Perspective can be insightful.
4. Take a day off. A real day off…a day off of email, a day away from the ministry, a day of rest.
5. Schedule solo time away. Once a quarter take an entire day with your journal and Bible and get away. Solitude can really help.
6. Clear the piles on your desk. Piles can be depressing! Shove everything into a box and deal with it later. A clean desk can make a difference in your attitude.
7. Get some sleep. Even if you don’t think you need more sleep, get some any way.
8. Start in a discouragement journal. Write your thoughts out. Write out the discouragement journey from A-Z. It’s amazing when you look back and see God taking you thru a discouraging season and it will happen again.
9. Begin an affirmation file. Save the “keepers”… read them when necessary. Being reminded that you’re not hated and/or a loser can help.
10. Pray! You’re not the first leader to bend the ear of God.
Thankfully there is hope in the midst of discouragement, and because the God of the universe is involved, it’s plentiful. Light is out there for the discouraged.
Don’t loose sight of the eternal Light in the midst of the temporary darkness. When discouragement hits you, count on the reality that God will use that season in your life to increase your ministry effectiveness (God doesn’t waste a hurt).
There’s my 10 ideas…please add to the list! Next week I’ll post all your ideas from yesterday and today. I’m anxious to learn from your ideas!
These are such great steps that everyone should follow. I think numbers 1, 2, 4, 6, and 7 are huge in my life. Without doing these things every once in a while I would be so lost.
Here are some quotes from the breakout session on Youth Discipleship by Doug Fields.
“Discipleship is not a short term process.”
“We (youth leaders) do the possible and have faith that God will do the impossible.”
“A youth pastor’s job is not just to lead students, but to lead parents and other leaders as well.”
“Disappointment opens the door to spiritual growth.”
“People (kids) don’t remember your messages, they remember you. Lead by example.”
“If leaders (messages) are not repetitive they are not effective.”
“Don’t just give the kids a Bible… Give them resources.”
As Daniel was moving up the ranks of the kingdom, other leaders became jealous and tried to find the dirt in his past. As you read through the first part of chapter 6 of Daniel, it sounds a lot like an attempted smear campaign in today’s time. I guess things don’t change that much in 2000 years. When the administrators realized they couldn’t find any dirt on Daniel they decided to change the law to make it illegal for Daniel to pray to anyone except King Darius. King Darius declared that anyone who prayed to someone other than him for 30 days would be thrown into the Lion’s Den and left for dead. Even though it was banned, Daniel continued to pray to God in the privacy of his own home. As you probably already know, he was ratted out and sentenced to the mercy of the Lions.
Lions… have you ever been face to face with a lion? Me neither. Its a little hard to imagine being locked in a lion’s den with real lions. Our lions can be a little different than Daniel’s.
Lions=Fear Lions=Obstacles Lions=Addiction Lions=Oppression
Daniel 6: 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
Daniel was squeaky clean. He had lived his entire life following God’s plan for him and yet he ended up here. He was face to face with one of the most intimidating creatures in the world. If you were in his shoes, how would you feel? I think most of us would question God.
“God, I don’t deserve this!” “Why am I here.” “All the other ‘bad’ people out there and I’m the one in this pit.”
Sound familiar? When we get faced with lions in our lives we often feel that its because of something we have done wrong or its unfair because we have done nothing wrong. Daniel didn’t feel this way. He kept his faith. He trusted that this was all part of God’s plan and God would deliver… and He did!
Daniel 6:19-22 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Are you facing any lions? Are you overcome with fear and anxiety? Are you battling an addiction that seems to be killing you? Are you stuck in a pit full of obstacles with seemingly no way out? Have you ever been in Daniel’s shoes?
23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
Trust in God. He will save you from your lions.
When you are faced with your own lions, how will you react? Will you let it kill you or will you be like Daniel and emerge with no wounds because you trusted in God?
Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Blythe Movie Night was tonight and it was a huge success. This is one of the ways we serve our community in love at Radiant Life Fellowship. God has called us to love others by putting them first. A team of volunteers from RLF put aside their Friday evening and night and devoted it to serving their community and it was a beautiful thing.
1 Peter 4:10 Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.
Watching the setup, breakdown, and all the work put in behind the scenes was like seeing God paint a collage with all the different gifts he gave us. Some people working on the technical stuff, some on putting out chairs, lights, plants, and other decorations to make the stale gym feel a bit more like a home theater than a gym, and some serving food and drinks to everyone. What a beautiful picture!
Romans 12:11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Nights like this give me hope, they inspire me, and they fill me with strength. By serving others, we become strong. That is how I know God is present. When we serve out of our own strength we become weary. When we serve with God’s strength, we are able to accomplish more and become stronger. Without God’s strength Blythe Movie Night would never have happened.
1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
I can’t wait to see how we will “Prove It” next!
This weekend I started going through a lesson plan with the 5th graders at Radiant Life. Billy Graham Ministries based a study around Daniel and geared it towards students. Its to better equip them to share the Gospel and stand firm in their beliefs just as Daniel did in the Bible. I don’t think students are the only people who can learn from this study.
I learn most effectively through teaching. As I prepare myself to teach I always learn more and grow deeper. So as I walk through this with the 5th graders I am going to walk through it on here for myself.
When Daniel is introduced in the Bible he is a pre-teen. He has been chosen by the Babylonians as one of the best and brightest youth. They take him and the other chosen youth and begin brainwashing them and forming them into the perfect Babylonian.
Daniel 1:3-5 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
The King even changed their names, which in those times was a common practice when someone was “born again”.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
Daniel chose to stand strong in his beliefs. The Babylonians worshiped their king and many gods, but Daniel had been raised to believe in the God of the Bible, the Hebrew God, Yahweh. He also was raised to respect himself and his body.
Daniel was able to stand firm in his beliefs even when the king and the Babylonian world were trying to tell him otherwise. He was able to do this because of his strong foundation in God and the scriptures. This is why we study the Bible and why we memorize scripture. So that we can stand up against the false teachings of the world and defend ourselves with the Word of God.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
This is the first verse in equipping anyone to share the Gospel. It is our first memory verse in D2BD. This is our first step in being able to stand up against the false teachings of the world and spread the love of God. This is where it begins…
Rockin’ out at Radiant Life this morning. What a great morning of worship, teaching, and fellowship! What will you do to respond to Christ the Christmas?
After missing church this morning, due to alarm clock malfunction (Jesalyn’s fault), I was excited about getting out in the community. This is the third year for Radiant Life doing the Singing Santa. It was our first time getting to experience it. This was the first week so if you missed it, we will be doing it for the next two weekends in neighborhoods around Huntersville. Check out times and locations here.
We had a great time. It was the coldest night of the year, but that didn’t keep the neighbors from coming to see Santa and enjoying cookies and hot chocolate. Santa drove around the neighborhood several times in a lit up sleigh and invited everyone over to join us for cookies and hot chocolate and a chance to meet the one and only Santa. Check out the other videos of Santa and his sleigh on my youtube channel. Everyone seemed to have a great time. It was blistering cold, but the hot chocolate and entertainment seemed to keep everyone smiling.
What a great way to show Jesus’ love for our neighbors. Sharing time, food, and talents with neighbors may not be easy, especially when its freezing cold, but its what we are called to do. I can’t wait until next week! Let me know if you want to join us next week in Latta Springs.