Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hearts of Servants

Over these last two Wednesdays we have been taking our youth to serve at the Unity Shoppe of Santa Barbara ( Unity Shoppe is a place where low-income families are served in a dignified manner. It includes an actual store where families can choose items they want and need.

Our youth go over to show the love of Christ through helping to stock shelves, take families through the store and serve in whatever ways we are needed.

These are some of the moments that remind me why I still love being a youth pastor. To serve alongside students who are happy to volunteer and love people because Christ first loved them brings rewards that trump the more challenging times.

This time of year we are reminded God came to live among us. In this generation I see people who are ready to go out and love others. They bring us all great hope for the future of the church and for the many who will be led by them to Christ.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Following my sermon on 11/30 I have had some interesting conversations. It seems many people really connected with the idea of quieting their lives and letting God speak to them in the stillness and quietness of His voice. People are growing weary of programmed lives filled with too many activities, tasks to be completed and not enough time to "be." This used to be more of phenomenon among adults and college students but now I'm seeing it among High School and even Jr. High students. Advanced Placement classes, Club sports, performing arts, the pressure to get in the best college and more are all pressing on the lives of youth with increasing intensity. While the things I listed are not necessarily bad they are, in many cases, being abused.

In succeeding years we will begin to experience the consequences of this hectic culture in the form of more stress-related illnesses, competitive anger and any number of other symptoms. What will it take for us to "be still and know that He is God?"

In some of my conversations I have had some well-meaning people imply I am going through a "simplify" phase. While I was thankful for their encouragement I was struck by the observation that this might some type of program. Listening to God in the quiet is not a task to be accomplished and it certainly cannot be a fad. It will be a life-time process shaped by keeping Christ at the center, loving my family and receiving the support of others who are seeking to journey this same road.

The other day I stepped out into the hallway of our house and caught our Dachsund, Laney, laying in the sun. In the winter the Southern California sun is low enough to come directly in the hallway. Laney loves to nap in the sun and takes advantage of this comfortable setting. It is here she finds her best rest. I get relaxed just watching her rest!

In this season where we talk so much about light and see so many lights, where do you find your place of rest? When you see the light of God's warmth do you take the time to rest in it?

See you in the sun!