Today is the last day of school. There is a part of me that is very excited and relieved, and there is a part of me that is very reflective. This seems to happen almost every year. I wonder if this mixture of emotions happens to other people?

First, the part of me that is excited – I made it through another year, in another new building, with another new principal, with two new grades. Plus, I still have my sanity. I have found a niche teaching elementary music and I love the addition of the older kids. I feel like I connect with the older kids better but I love them all.

Second, the reflective part of me – Part of it is just my personality. I am a bit melancholy. In the past, however, I have always finished the year wondering if that one would be my last. Because of my work with church ministry and my work with teaching I can never decide what I am going to do when I grow up. I have always committed to God that I would be available to do whatever He wanted me to do, whether that was teaching or working with a church full-time.

Thirdly, for the first time in over a dozen years I do not have a summer job – yet. In the past I have worked with band camps or at the church. This summer I am totally free of any of that responsibility. I’m not even taking summer classes. It is a very weird feeling. There’s a part of me that wants to do something else and there’s a part of me that is saying just enjoy the time at home with your family. A refreshing summer might be exactly what I, and my family, need.

When all is said and done the job will sort itself out on its own. What I know for sure is that I have one more day to finish up school.

“Heigh ho, heigh ho, It’s off to work I go, Heigh ho, heigh ho, heigh ho…”

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Some time ago I began memorizing Psalm 34:1-3.  For the life of me I can’t remember why I started memorizing it.  At the beginning I remember thinking that, on the surface, this verse was lacking in practical application (can I say that?).  However, as this verse has sunk in the meaning of it has been very valuable to me, especially as a worship leader.

I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; the humble shall hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together (Psalm 34:1-3, ESV).

  1. The psalmist starts off with a singular expression of praise: “I” will bless the Lord & “my” mouth.
  2. It then includes the “humble” who will join him in their rejoicing.
  3. These three verses culminate with the psalmist exhorting other to join in magnifying and exalting the Lord’s name together.

Maybe I’m reading more into it that I should but I see the progression from individual to larger group and it seems to reflect my experience leading praise and adoration as well.  The leaders come in prepared – or at least they should.  A small number of others will initially join, followed by an invitation for others to join in as well.

I pray that we would make the most of every opportunity to “magnify the Lord” and “exalt His name together.”

I am excited about the group of junior high students we have right now! They are really fun and they are really serious about wanting to be like Jesus. And that’s what it is all about!

This past summer I began thinking about how to ground them in the Word without overwhelming them. What resulted was a “series” we started back in August called One Verse Wonders. In this series we are covering basic doctrines and themes using a key verse or two from the Bible.

The idea behind this is supposed to be fairly simple. Each week we have a verse that corresponds to a particular topic. We start off by analyzing and breaking down the words so we can understand what it says and means. After that we discuss and discover the context of the verse. This is done so the youth can actually see and be involved with the process of what it looks like to “study” the Bible. After that we will typically discuss what it means for us (application) and reference other passages that might apply. Hopefully this allows them to grasp the truth of the Bible for themselves and put it into practice.

I have found that you can also encourage other disciplines like memorization. I have challenged them to memorize one verse a week. This allows them to do in in some sort of practical context. Also, I originally started out by writing a weekly devotion to go with our topic but that quickly became very tedious to complete. That might be something I go back and add later. It is another way to tie it all in together.

The great thing about how this is done is that it can really be done for both junior high or senior high youth with only slight modifications. I’ve included the topics and verses below just in case it might be helpful. If you’d like, please contact me and I’ll be happy to make the actual lessons available in a print format. You can see how the possibilities are endless for what you can cover.

Other topics or verses that I intend to do include: Armor of God, Evaluating media, Creation, Image of God, Heaven, Hell, Prayer, Romans 12:1-2,James 1:23-25, and Put on/Put off.

Let me know if you have other ideas!

1) Spiritual School Supplies
2) The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20)
3) Acts 1:8 – Witnessing and the power of the Holy Spirit
4) The Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39)
5) The Gospel (Problem, solution, choice)
6) The Gospel, week 2
7) The Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
8) Recap…
9) 1 Corinthians 10:31 – Worship
10) Joshua 1:8 (Lessons to a young leader) – The Word
11) John 17:17 – Truth
12) Ephesians 4:29 – Talk
13) Hebrews 10:24-25 (The church, philosophy and values)
14) 2 Corinthians 5:17 – A new creation
15) Romans 8:38-39 – Eternal Security
16) Philippians 4:8 – Guarding Your Heart
17) Philippians 4:6-7 – Anxiety and the peace of God
18) Philippians 2:3 – Humility
19) 1 John 1:9 – Confession
20) 1 Timothy 4:12 – Being an example in your youthfulness
21) Isaiah 26:3 – How to have God’s perfect peace
22) Galatians 5:22,23 – Fruit of the Spirit
23) 1 Peter 5:8 – Satan
24) Who is Satan? Part II (broader survey)
25) Relationships Overview – Is dating in the Bible?
26) Matthew 16:24-25 – Denying self and following Jesus

“Church is so boring…”

“Christians are so boring…”

“Why can’t we have more fun?”

These are questions that a lot of people have when it comes to church. These are also a lot of questions a lot of youth workers get. They are not always the easiest to answer. What would you say?

I recently had a parent who wanted my help. She asked if I could find devotions that had a little more life to them. She wanted something exciting that would connect with her Christian child. Her teenage son was also struggling with these same comments or questions.

Jim Rayburn, the founder of Young Life, was known for saying that “it is a sin to bore a child.” To be honest, I haven’t researched the context of that statement. It does raise a good question though. Is it a sin for church to be boring?

What makes church boring? Actually, what do they mean when they say “boring?” Is it the activities? The teaching? The relationships? As church leaders, is it good enough to give our best? Are we giving our best?

What does a non-Christian see in church when they call it boring? What does a believer see in church when they call it boring? What is the difference between the two? Should there be?

As you can see I have a lot of questions too. And I don’t have all the answers. However, let me ask one more question to any Christian who feels like church (or the Christian life) is boring.

Do you know how to live a full or even abundant Christian life?

Are you living it?

No, really…

Are you?

Here is an interesting article by Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, on Gov. Sarah Palin and biblical roles.

(ht: Jesus Creed)

What are your thoughts?

O.W.L.S. stands for Older Wiser Loving Saints. This is what we call the people who identify themselves with the older people in our church.

Several years ago we had a man and his wife return to our church to minister specifically to this group. They have been a wonderful addition to our church. They are a godly couple full of insight and experience. They are both such a pleasure to be around.

Recently, he gave a message at our church specifically targeted towards understanding age groups and how God can use all of us. Here are a few of the more memorable quotes from his message.

“Recognize your limitations and establish your boundaries.”

“Glorify – to make God look good.”

“Deposit all of the Bible verses you can into your memory bank so you have them for withdrawal.”

“Remember that where you go there you are and that’s where God is too.”

“All the things we don’t like are teaching aids to help our relationship with God.”

“No matter what your age be careful not to suppress the impulse of the Holy Spirit to be gracious and generous to others with your life.”

There’s a lot of wisdom there. Think about it and give me your thoughts.

I know I still have one more post on worship to go but things have been really hectic the past few weeks. I’ll post soon but until then let me give you this video to consider.