Well, I figured since it's been a couple weeks since I've posted anything good, I should attempt another one just for the sake of it. Also due to pressure and slander from a friend, or should I say the rowdy little sister of my friend Mike Schalin (who by the way is planning some risque endevors on her upcoming trip to some tropical place, take careful not Mike), I'm going to write something.
It's just after 9am on Thursday morning, I am currently in the office, but normally I'm still in bed at this time on Thursdays because of the late night with youth on Wednesdays. So I'm taking slight advantage of a little extra time regardless of my status at work.
Maybe it's the cheerios in my underpants, or maybe it's the short stubbly beard I'm attempting to grow, but I can't help but feel frustrated by some things going on in my world as of late. Mainly to do with myself and my ministry here in the Nizzle Bizzlefizzle. I don't know if it's cause I'm new, if somehow I've given the wrong impression to the students, or if I'm just way off base with everything, but there seems to be little to no interest and virtually no respect/discipline.
I am a firm believer that you need to earn respect before you get it, or at the very least give respect before you get it. As a result of that belief, I ascribe to it. I try to give respect, I try to give second and third and 20th chances as much as possible, but for the 4th or 5th consecutive week, our Wednesday nights have been almost unmanageable because of the lack of interest and apparent complete disrespect.
I know it's being recognized as a bit of a trend in today's youth, that there's little respect and much less control than there used to be. Besides all of that I can't help but ask the question "what am I doing wrong?" or maybe more applicable "what am I not doing right?"
If I'm supposed to lead kids to Christ, I need to be there myself. So then I have to ask myself another much more taxing question...am I there? Does my relationship with Christ show to myself let alone others around me? Am I completely surrendering to God?
As I sit here in this office, whiche is a tad warm this morning, I can't help but look at myself (metaphorically of course) and say a resounding "NO" to answer those questions. I think this blog is actually becoming a part of my morning devotional for today because, well I need to examine my heart and confess sin if it's coming up.
I'm preaching on Philippians 2:1-11 in just over a week, December 31st to be precise. My theme and quite possibly even the title of that sermon (now that I'm thinking about it) is going to be looking at an "Attitude Adjustment". In verse 5 of said passage Paul states that "your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus..." He then continues on to describe in short but slightly poetic detail just exactly what that attitude is.
As I think even more and reflect and perhaps even receive some conviction from the Spirit, I need a tremendous attitude adjustment. I am so focused on myself that it hurts to say it. I can try to chalk it up to any number of excuses: I'm single, I'm a youth pastor it's supposed to be about me, I'm human, I'm sinful, I'm , I'm , I'm..... That's just the problem, there's something that all of those statements have in common..."I'm...insert tired and old remark here". Even when things become clearer they're jaded.
Yes, we need to examine ourselves, it's Scriptural. Yes we need to repent of sin revealed to us by the Spirit. Yes it's so incredibly important to utter the words that few people like to say and even fewer seem to mean when they say it "I'm sorry." BUT, if all I ever do is think about myself, whether good or bad things (see "sober judgement" passage in Romans 12:3), something's missing....what? Jesus!
If I am so focused on myself all the time, Jesus is left out. Then my schedule becomes an attempt at just that, it being "MY" schedule. My free time becomes something that I'm trying to actually take ownership of. My attitude, my pain, my hurt, my joy, my happiness, my...whatever becomes something that I forget someone else shares in... Jesus' role in our lives, in my life is forgotten for the sake of independance (which we all know is completely undesirable, though many would try to convince us otherwise) and the result is loneliness.
Alas, we forget still, even in that loneliness the Spirit of God is never far off. In fact He is within us, we've just suppressed and ignored Him and so forgotten His place in our lives.
The beauty of God mysteriously intertwined within us to dwell and to shape us, but part of that mystery is that the work is only done when we finally allow it to happen.
Oh how I want to allow God's Spirit to overwhelm me today. How I long for my attitude to be characterized as being like Jesus, for my life to no longer be mine, but to be continually broken for those around me that God may be glorified in this body and in theirs.
Well there you have it, another journaling thought.