Friday, November 30, 2007


I'm empty.

Not in a negative, depressed kind of way and not in a positive, peaceful kind of way. I don't really know what I mean by it. It's just how I feel. Empty.

Actually there's a lot of other stuff going on in my head which kind of makes the empty comment pretty meaningless but since no-one actually reads this crap anyway who cares if it makes any sense? Yes i'm tired and frustrated and annoyed and a little more alive than I've felt for a long time but through it all i just feel empty. I want to hide. not from anyone or anything in particular. I'm not one for running away. What's the point? where ever I run I'll be right there with me anyway. No, I just want to hide for a while so that i can just be me. Me. alone. empty. I need to be free to be empty. free to be an empty me. just me. alone.

I'm tired of carrying stuff. can I just put some of this crap down, dump all the garbage, dump these burdens I'm carrying (yes, that's the same burdens i keep telling my youth they have to let go. does that make me a hypocrite? i guess it does.) half of them aren't even mine anyway, most of the rest is just stuff I've picked up along the way and never seem to be able to put down. there's a good chunk of stuff that comes with my job, there's the family stuff and then theres the deep, dark, me stuff. all stuff, all heavy and i'm tired of carrying it all. I just want to dump it all, strip off and walked naked and free into hiding.

naked. empty. me.

that's it. rant over.

Good night.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Ministry of Encouragment

At this mornings staff meeting Pr. Dave shared this scripture as the devotion. I wanted to share it with as many as possible. So on the off chance that anyone actually reads this blog, here it is.

*aside note* what a blessing to work in a place where meetings include a devotion!

2 Corinthians 7:5-6 (New Living Translation)
Paul writes:

When we arrived in Macedonia,...

That's the site of our ministry. As Paul was called to Macedonia, we are called to our own fields. Youth ministry is my Macedonia, whats' yours?

...there was no rest for us. We faced conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.

(Sounds like Youth ministry to me!)

But God,...

There's some powerful theology in those two little words; 'but God...'

...who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us...

This is the cool bit, look at how God encouraged them; by a miracle? by an intense spiritual experience? by a dream or revelation? the arrival of Titus.

Wow! That's all it took to lift them out of a pretty dark place. Titus' arrival. How beautifully simple. If you're struggling in your 'Macedonia' look for a Titus, God will often reach us by sending us an encourager.

And how about Titus? the scripture goes on to say

...His presence was a joy,

Note; 'his presence' was enough. He didn't need to find any fancy words, he didn't need to beat Paul over the head with scriptures and 'Godly advice' (Job's friends anyone?). 'His presence was a joy' We all know people like that. what if we were to strive to be people like that?The saying goes 'a burden shared is a burden halved' or something like that, but maybe sometimes 'a burden shared is a burden two people now have to carry!' I'm not saying we should struggle on alone, far from it, we were never meant to walk this walk alone. (Adam walked in perfect harmony with God yet God realised he still needed a companion. What makes us, with our fractured, halting, sporadic relationship with God, think we can do it alone?) But sometimes I think we're a little too quick to load our burdens on others.

What if Titus had come to Paul and he's said, 'Hey Paul, I'm facing conflict from every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside.'
(maybe Titus was in Youth Ministry too)

Chances are Paul, despite his own heaviness of heart, would have stepped into his 'strong leader' mantle and done everything he could to encourage Titus while his own heaviness was be pushed aside and never lifted. Is it any wonder leaders burn out?

The scripture goes on to show how it's supposed to work

...but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you.

That's pretty simple really. Titus was encouraged by others, that lifted his heart and he was able to encourage Paul. Even more impressive is that Paul was encouraged, not just by Titus, but also by the encouragement Titus received. So the encouragement given to Titus was compounded by the time it reached Paul and carried forward into Paul's ministry in Macedonia and as Pr. Dave brought it to our devotion this morning and as we read this scripture onward to us. Now THAT'S the kind of 'compound interest' I can get excited about!

So let's all look to be a Titus to each other. Encourage not burden.

it's a fine, yet significant line between:


(These cartoons are the simply wonderful creation of:

Get it right and maybe we can begin to understand what Jesus meant by 'The unforced Rhythms of Grace'