The Image

Dear Lord,

So far today, God, I’ve done alright. I haven’t gossiped, haven’t lost my temper, haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over-indulgent. I’m really glad about that. But in a few minutes, I’m going to get out of bed, and from then on I’m probably going to need a lot more help.

There is this image that I constantly wrestle with. One I feel thrust upon me whether I want it or not. It is this image of having to be squeaky-clean, confident in God and self, knows the Word of God inside out, enthusiastic, has inner peace, fun-loving, bubbling over with joy, and full of wisdom. It really has little to do with me being a minister. It has all to do with me being a Christian. Someone somewhere along the way in history this sort of image has been thrust upon us. This is what a “successful” Christian is supposed to look like. I’m not quite sure how or when this standard was established but it is there. I k now you know that too. You’ve had it thrust upon you. You try to live up to it but know that you don’t. You try to prop up that image for others to see so they don’t see what is really going on with you. We’ve learned that we need to present this image at all times, particularly to the non-believing crowds so they desire what I’m displaying.

The End of the Superpersonality Youth Pastor

Originally written September 1992.

While I was in Bible college in the Mid-Eighties, I was blessed to have a close relationship with the youth ministry professor in his classes as well as the times he spent with my youth ministry.  I learned from him timely strategy on how to reach the unchurched youth.  It involved much on my part.  I was to eat lunch in the school cafeteria with the students, be a guest speaker in classes, and bring in assembly speakers.  Through these high exposure situations, I was to meet those unchurched youth.  By meeting them and getting to know them , this would encourage my youth to invite them to the youth meeting.  The thinking was if they liked me, they would like the youth meeting.  If they liked the youth meeting, they would then be exposed to the gospel and make a decision to follow Jesus.

Living on Easter Sunday

Originally published May 2004.

It has been oft quoted that of the three major Christian observances, only one happened in the public eye. Christmas was first observed by a hill full of shepherds. Easter was shared by around 40 disciples and some Roman guards who knew the truth of what happened to Jesus' body but as far as we know, took the pay off instead of believing what they witnessed with their own eyes. Only Good Friday happened for all the world to see. The entire then world got to see God at His worst--abandoning Jesus' to that horrible death, not intervening, staying silent, and allowing the unfairness. Many called upon God the Father to intervene but He chose not to. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" Because God had. I'm sure those words hung in the air like they hang on this paper.