Saturday, December 11, 2010

Weekend Prayer Request

I read these requests from a godly saint and want you to pray them for me (and each other):

To Abide in Christ
- In your thoughts: Supernatural application of what you know of Him filling your mind
- In your intentions: Sensitivity to the Spirit's leading to be purposeful in all you do
- In your words: Christlike encouragement and challenge to everyone you know
- In your emotions: To be filled up to full by the love that only Jesus can give
- In your character: That there would be no doubt who owns you and is fueling everything you do and others would give glory to Christ because of you

To Learn Something New About God
- In Scripture: To be amazed at God for an attribute of His in a new way and to love Him more because of it
- In someone else: To see the Holy Spirit at work in someone in a new way and to love Him more because of it
- In a cool situation: To watch God's love and power in action and to love Him more because of it

To Take on a New Challenge and Watch God Bless It
- In a relationship: To love someone new or deeper and see God work
- In a decision: To obey God in an act of faith and see God bless you in obedience

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Youth Leader: Kelly and Steve

I want to praise God for His work in their lives as a couple, specifically in three ways:

First, their faithful service. This is the sixth year that they have served in the middle school group. Many of us have trouble committing to even small things for six months, much less six years. Especially something as challenging and as demanding as Middle School ministry. Yet, they continue to serve. And not just serve in a well-they’re-a-warm-body kind of service, but they serve in a way that shows they see each child as one of God’s children. They could have checked out when they had a child. They could have checked out when they had a second child. They could have checked out when they had a third child. And they didn’t. They didn’t because they have their priorities right. They see that eternity is much more valuable then they’re comfort. And even though the easy road would be to find a less demanding ministry, they don’t. I look forward one day to standing before God as He shows Steve and Kelly the overwhelming treasure they will have in heaven because they served God with their lives.

Secondly, their discipleship. Jesus’ last words in the book of Matthew, before He went up to heaven, were this: “Go and make disciples”. Jesus’ last words weren’t: “Go and get a good job” or “Go, and find a ministry you like,” but “Go and make disciples”. Steve and Kelly live as if these words were spoken by Jesus—because they were. They are fiercely committed to discipleship. Discipleship can sound like a nice sounding church word, unless you’ve done it before. Then you realize that discipleship means loving those that are hard to love, serving when you don’t feel like it, bearing with folks who sin and need repentance, daily self-denial, and much, much prayer. Steve and Kelly know this, cause they do it. All the time. And they are phenomenal at this. And this is with the additional challenge that they’re pool of students changes 50% every year. The 8th graders move up to high school, the 5th graders move in, and yet Steve and Kelly pour themselves 100% into the students. Another quick thing, some people think that to reach young people you have to know their language, their “cool” culture, and be their buddy. Steve and Kelly don’t believe this lie. They model Christianity and pull students up to their level. This is real discipleship.

Thirdly, their others-focus. This ties into the last one, but bears its own 122 words worth of God-ward praise. Let me explain this about them by explaining what Steve and Kelly are not. Have you ever met someone who only wants to talk about themselves? They brag about accomplishments, regal you with boring personal stories, and jump all over questions you ask them about themselves. This is NOT Steve and Kelly. They are others-focused. They are so secure in God’s love for them, that it frees them to be totally about ministering to others. They are deeply interested in the person standing directly across from them and truly love others. When you talk with them, you feel cared for and ministered to and loved.

I could go on. Trust me. I could tell you how they do family-centered ministry at its finest. I could tell you about one of my favorite parts of their ministry—their ministry to the young adults of this church. I could tell you about the hundreds of little fun times I’ve had with them. I could tell you about how the church should have hired them instead of me. I could tell you about the special connection I will always share with them because of the car accident the three of us were in. But I won’t. You’ve already got more then enough to praise God for.

But I am grateful for them. Deeply grateful. And I look forward to, Lord-willing, continuing to serve with them and be friends with them for years to come.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Youth Leader: Steve and Kelly

Name: Steve and Kelly Schulz

Nickname: Stonewall, Kellsabells

Time in Youth Ministry: 5.5 years

Gifts: Leadership, Teaching, Administration, Encouragment, Wii Skills

Evidences of Grace: Steve and Kelly head up the middle school ministry here at the church. If you haven’t met them yet, you are missing out. If you have met them, you know they are a godly couple and that no one more capable could be heading up such an important ministry in the church.

Now I could go on and on about the individual ways that God’s grace is evident in their life. I could go on about how we are so blessed to have such a gifted couple here. I could tell you that Steve is a godly man, a perfect example for our young men to imitate. Sometimes, Bible characters can seem a long way off from a young man's reality. Steve provides a real life example for our 12-year-olds, 14-year-olds, and 16-year-olds to follow. I could tell you that God has supremely gifted him in teaching and Steve exercises this gift well. He teaches at a Middle School level with the teaching depth of a Pacesetter. I could tell you that God has given Steve the gift of administration, to lead and manage and organize a group while pulling everyone together. I could tell you how Steve is a gifted leader, someone who sees where the middle school group needs to be and is someone who takes the steps to bring them there.

I could tell you about Kelly. I could tell you how godly Kelly is, how she is soft to the Holy Spirit and quick to act in obedience to Him. I could tell you how she leads with kindness and care. I could tell you that she is hospitable and welcomes ministry into her home because her life is about Christ. I could tell you the tremendous welcome new students have when coming to the group for the first time. I could tell you how she reaches out with love and builds meaningful and spiritually-effective relationships with the students. I could tell you about all the women that go to her for counseling, help, prayer, support, fellowship, requests, words of affirmation, and the like. I could tell you how my future wife will have to be Kelly-approved.

But I won’t. I won’t tell you about those things. I want to praise God for His work in their lives as a couple, specifically in three ways. I'll tell you about them tomorrow.