Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Island Fever

Sometime late last week I felt restless. In hindsight maybe I really was "rest - less!!" I have had a full schedule over the past weeks filled with the good things about being a youth pastor yet there may have been too many of those things and so I longed for a little "unplug" time.

This feeling came even stronger when I found out one of our staff was taking off with her husband to Puerto Rico for the week. Suddenly all those memories of flying into Puerto Rico on my way to Antigua, West Indies (where I was helping to establish a church) came back. While I have always wanted to visit Puerto Rico I found myself ready to get on the next available plane to the country I visited for four straight years so I could greet the church, reunite with my island friends and chill on a white sandy beach with clear blue water.

Since then I have been thinking about it everyday, for at least a few moments! What does all this tell me?

1)It is time for a break - Good timing. This Saturday I leave with my wife and daughter to go visit our oldest daughter in Seattle for six days. Sun, a white sand beach and warm water are not in the forecast but God's beauty will still be there. More importantly I will be unplugged with my family.

2) I'm attracted to the slow life - Life on Antigua is slow, sometimes to the point of frustration. Why is it frustrating? I'm too accustomed to the fast pace. I think I want to slow down and then I have a hard time adjusting when the opportunity arises. Nonetheless, I am still drawn to it.

I'm not the first to say that ministry is not a sprint. It is a marathon. I pray daily for wisdom to use my days wisely. Wisdom challenges me to take regular breaks, whether it is a consistent day off or use all my vacation days. These times of rest give me strength to keep going and finish well.

Ministry could not have been meant to be this busy. Some would argue Jesus worked long hours. How do we prove that on a consistent basis? I also observe he took time off, not to mention he spent the first year and a half of his three active ministry years preparing his disciples.

I may not get to the island soon but I will go there often "in my mind" as a reminder to rest in God.

Friday, March 13, 2009

General Thoughts

A few things I'm happy about:
*Today I'm happy about a day off, it has been a full week
*My work with Young Life Committee. I'm meeting some great new people and getting a feel for where I can most contribute.
*My daughter Kelly. I have been helping her edit papers for college and she is a wonderful thinker who challenges me in a good way.
*Going to a Youth Specialties One Day seminar on teaching the Bible. These are great times of encouragement and I love being with our leaders.

A few things challenging me:
*I have a lot of writing assignments due in the next week or so.
*Finding times to "unplug." My mind is going a thousand miles a minute with some good stuff but I would like to "turn it off" at times.
*The thought of a possible salary cut due to the recession.

A book I'm reading: A biography on John Quincy Adams. I am reading biographies of all the presidents in chronological order. It is interesting to read about their lives and their leadership styles.

Friday, March 6, 2009


A few times a year, as a youth pastor, I am required to go join a bunch of other lead pastors, associate pastors, youth pastors, worship pastors and every other kind of imaginable pastor for some of time interacting, training, praying and being encouraged. These days away never seem to come at good times BUT when I'm there I am thankful. Why? Days away from family, a back log of work, people who need to be visited and more hardly ever sounds appealing. Getting together with all these teammates puts it all back into perspective.

I was born into a connectional denomination. Translation: We do a lot of things together we could not do individually. Our connection brings additional resources. Interacting offers challenging ideas and new directions. Being trained together adds encouragement and sense of purpose in Christ.

I come home (I came home yesterday) honored to be a pastor of youth and more committed to excellence in my work and faithfulness to the Lord.

I like belonging to the Free Methodist Church of Southern California. We're not the only good thing happening in the kingdom of God but I'm happy to be on this team.

Want to know more? Check out

Monday, March 2, 2009

New Categories

To at least keep me weekly on this blog it's time for a new strategy. In the tradition of FACEBOOK categories and other stuff I have seen blogger friends do I will offer my own short-list categories:

A few things I'm happy about:
*Kicked off a great two week series on HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS with our Jr. High and High School students
*Parents who loved the UNDERSTANDING YOUR TEENAGER seminar to which I referred them.
*All the good books I have yet to read
*My oldest daughter will be studying in Uganda next fall.
*Being connected with a great Free Methodist ministry called Eden Reforestation Projects. Check it out at

A few things challenging me
*Working on a book proposal for Youth Specialties. Carving out the time easier said than done.
*High school guys who need followup and extra care
*Financial strain of this economy, the impact on our ministry, our families and me.

One thing God taught me: Keep walking with Him. I'm always wanting Him to walk with me.

A book I'm reading: SURPRISED BY HOPE, N.T.Wright. What a great book to read leading up to Easter. Review to come.

Music I'm liking: RED's newest CD. Great, hard-charging music with a little screamo mixed in. These guys are Christian and doing well on the Billboard charts too.