Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Be strong and courageous.

In following up with the last post from last week...I didn't pack my things up and move back to Ohio. I was in Ohio this past weekend, but I hadn't moved back. Just fyi. Ya know.

Last week at club, it was absolutely amazing. I was petrified for the first time in a long time to give a club talk. Alright that's a lie...I was petrified to give my last one at CCHS, but that's because I didn't want to cry during it. This was different though, because these kids don't know me, and for that matter because I've only been around a couple weeks they have no real reason to desire to hang out with me or even listen to me. The kids at CCHS know me and I know they care about me in return for my care for them. Usually I wouldn't let a new leader give a club talk for some time after they start leading at a school but in this situation I suppose it really isn't an option. In fact, for those keeping score at home and who will truly understand the gravity of this next statement: I'm giving 4 more talks, those being a Need, Sin, Cross, and Appropriations. Yikes. Better hope I earn the right to be heard before I tell kids they're going to hell because of their choice to sin and not follow Christ. Oh well. But back to my original statement, guys were flocking to me like they haven't before after a club talk. Conversations were had off of that. Phone numbers were exchanged, hang outs were planned, God was showing how if He wants something to happen it truly will happen. And when it does, y'all better look out. Loved it.

This past week...freaking horrible; in my opinion at least. Music didn't go well, no one wanted to sing, no one seemed to care about the games, and stuff with guys definitely did not go how I wanted it to especially given the extraordinary strides made after last week. I wanted to quit, I wanted to pull the plug on AKYL, I wanted to move back to Ohio. Basically I wanted to take the easy route, and no more was it  tempting than after having an amazing weekend back in my home state, then a crappy club, and feeling absolutely inadequate as a leader.

"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." ~ Romans 8:18

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~ Romans 8:35-39

Take those verse in if you're reading this, and especially if you are being discouraged through things going on around you and the situation that you are in. "Be strong and courageous."

Looking back on this post, it isn't exactly what I had set out to write, but it certainly is what I need to continue to preach to myself and I know that whoever is reading this will take encouragement from such powerful verses.

"Be strong and very courageous."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

That Borden kid was onto something...

Read the story of William Borden. Then return to your regularly scheduled reading of CRASH. 

Done? Good.

Let me tell the middle of the game on Friday, I wanted to turn around, drive back to my house, pack all my things, and retreat back to Columbus, Ohio. Yup. I really wanted to pull the plug on the whole dang thing right then and there. Somewhere though, in the midst of my despair, I remembered this story. Obviously the song by Needtobreathe helped as well, like I already posted about, but the words written in the back of William Borden's bible rung in my ears.

No reserves. No retreat. No regret.

And they didn't just ring for Friday night, they stayed there Saturday, and Sunday, and thru today while I was putting the finishing touches on the club talk I was giving at the 3rd AK club of the year. 3 weeks ago I was fighting back tears at my last talk at Central Crossing, and now I was being thrown into the fire. It's what I asked for, isn't it? I mean I'm the guy who went to the AK football game less than 24 hours after I got into town with all my stuff.

So there really is no other option out there, other than to get rid of the reserves. Even Christ tells His disciples in Luke 9 when He sends them out that they need to take nothing with them. Good enough for me. After that, I already talked with so many people about the point of no return that I experienced in last club at CC. With a point of no return, obviously comes not being able to retreat. Any thoughts of that are foolish, and are weak attempts by the devil to distract me from my calling. Now I have to seize the attitude and spirit of being one who is already dead; dead to the world, dead to myself, dead to my desires, dead to my reputation, dead to sin. I am alive in Christ, I am made alive because of Him who died. There can be no room now for regret, because if I am going with God I am going with the ruler and creator of the entire universe. He's got my back, and therefore I can step out in faith time after time after time when it comes to sharing Him with kids at Ardrey Kell High School.

So in the immortal words of the's time to "open the gates, and seize the day!" (Man I love that song...and movie.)

Carpe diem.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Outsiders.

"Shortfalls and little sins
Close calls where no one wins
Stand tall but running thin
I'm wearing thin
Oh, why are we keeping score?

'Cause if you're not laughing
Who is laughing now?
I've been wondering if this starts sinking
Would we stand our ground?
After everything we've learned,
We've finally come to terms;
We are the outsiders.

I'm not leaving without a fight
I've got my holsters around my sides
Just cause I'm wrong that don't make you right,
It's not right.
Oh, what are we fighting for?

'Cause if you're not laughing
Who is laughing now?
I've been wondering if this starts sinking
Would we stand our ground?
After everything we've learned,
We've finally come to terms;
We are the outsiders."

When I got down here to Charlotte, I was very fortunate to be able to move into a house that for a while has been guys in their mid-20's, all Followers of Christ, and some associated with Young Life as current leaders or previous leaders while in college. It's interesting because it's kind of like the graduated, Charlottean (like that?) version of The Brickhouse at Ohio State where I lived for so many years. Anyways, it's been absolutely fantastic living with these four guys so far and I've really enjoyed getting to know all of them. 

Shout out to Bill, Tanner, Matt, and Justin. You guys rock.

Well, soon after I got down here to Charlotte Tanner introduced me to this group called Needtobreathe. I had heard of them before, but I'm pretty sure I had never heard of any of their songs. One day while driving around and showing me cool places Tanner had them on in the car and I fell in love with their sound. Well what do you know, there was a concert coming up just a week away that wasn't sold out! It was at a small venue called The Visualite (don't ask, don't know), and there were a bunch of people in their (my new) group of friends that were going to dinner and then the concert. Well who am I to turn down a good time with a cool group of people? Especially when I need friends...

I get a ticket, head to dinner with everyone, and then go to what turns out to be one of the absolute best concerts of my entire life. This band really knows how to entertain, unabashedly love the Lord, and on top of that they are ridiculously talented musicians. Drums, lead guitar/banjo, bassist who everyone develops a man-crush on, keyboardist, and of course the lead vocalist who really has a great voice. Without going into a ton of detail (ask me and I'll tell you more) I was blown away by them, and had a great time with everyone that I went with. Fun fact: I was one of two guys amidst about 10 beautiful and amazing Jesus-loving Southern women. Boo yah. 

Well you might be wondering why I put the lyrics to "The Outsiders", which is the title track off their similarly named newest album at the beginning of the post. As you know, I'm leading Young Life at Ardrey Kell HS in southern Charlotte. It's a far cry from Central Crossing, mainly because I at CCHS I could walk around the grounds, the halls, any event at the school, and be known. It felt like I truly knew every kid in the school even though we all know that's near impossible. That was the feeling I would get. I knew I belonged there, I knew I was called there, I knew that I could be quite bold in ministry and getting to know new kids. Maybe more importantly, I knew I was "in" there.

Last night I went to AK's homecoming football game, where we defeated the Myers Park Mustangs where Justin Robillard and Steve Gardner both lead. Big stuff. Unless you count that MP has only won one game this year. Anyways...even though I've met a decent amount of kids through club the past two weeks and have met some parents as well, I walked around that game in a daze. I can't say I was overwhelmed, because high school kids that need Jesus are the same everywhere. No one can ever argue that with me. However, for the first time in a long time I felt like an "outsider". Not only did I feel like one, I am one. The more I started to think about that fact, the more I know it was good for me to move. Doesn't take away how difficult it was to leave my Comets {ctid}, but I know that I need to feel like this. As a follower of Christ, I am not someone who is "in" with the world or what they do. I am "in" with the God of the universe, but to this world I am definitely an outsider. 

So I'm definitely laughing at the foolishness of the world, I know that even if things start sinking I'll still stand my ground. I will not leave AK without a fight, I didn't leave CC without a fight. A fight for the souls of high school kids. I might be wearing thin right now, but I'll stand tall and I'll stand in the gap for these kids. I've finally come to terms with being an Outsider; and I'm excited.