Sermon Prep Time

I spend about 5 hours preparing my youth ministry sermons, or up to 10 if I’m teaching in our main service. Sometimes I’ll prepare for a few hours, look at my outline, delete the whole thing and start over. That can be super frustrating, until I remember…

If 230 students are coming that weekend, each of them will spend 30 minutes getting ready to come. That’s 6,900 minutes, or about 11 hours. They’ll probably each drive at least 2 miles to get there, and 2 miles home. That’s almost a thousand miles traveled to come and be taught by me.

That fact helps me spend an extra hour or two preparing my sermon.

Sermon Prep Time

I spend about 5 hours preparing my youth ministry sermons, or up to 10 if I’m teaching in our main service. Sometimes I’ll prepare for a few hours, look at my outline, delete the whole thing and start over. That can be super frustrating, until I remember…

If 230 students are coming that weekend, each of them will spend 30 minutes getting ready to come. That’s 6,900 minutes, or about 11 hours. They’ll probably each drive at least 2 miles to get there, and 2 miles home. That’s almost a thousand miles traveled to come and be taught by me.

That fact helps me spend an extra hour or two preparing my sermon.

Loved As You Are

I was listening to one of Brennan Manning’s final sermons, and I had to write this part down. You can find a clip that contains this HERE.

“Do you believe that the God of Jesus
loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness,
beyond fidelity and infidelity,
that he loves you in the morning sun and the evening rain,
that he loves you when your intellect denies it,
your emotions refuse it,
and your whole being rejects it.
Do you believe that God loves without conditional reservation,
and loves you this moment as you are,
and not as you should be?”

I believe it.

Loved As You Are

I was listening to one of Brennan Manning’s final sermons, and I had to write this part down. You can find a clip that contains this HERE.

“Do you believe that the God of Jesus
loves you beyond worthiness and unworthiness,
beyond fidelity and infidelity,
that he loves you in the morning sun and the evening rain,
that he loves you when your intellect denies it,
your emotions refuse it,
and your whole being rejects it.
Do you believe that God loves without conditional reservation,
and loves you this moment as you are,
and not as you should be?”

I believe it.

Q & A with High School Students

A couple weeks ago we asked our students to write down any questions they have about Christianity, faith, spirituality, and that sort of thing. I’m going to answer a handful of them from the stage over the next few weeks, and then I’ll answer the others on video and post them on our ministry blog. Here are a handful of good ones I am looking forward to answering. (Side note: I will do my best to answer them. I don’t want to come across like I’m some answer machine when it comes to all things spiritual).

  • What will heaven be like, specifically?
  • How does predestination work?
  • What makes this religion (Christianity) different from others?
  • Where do religion and evolution meet?
  • Are the stories in the bible supposed to be taken figuratively or literally?
  • Are only Christians going to heaven?
  • What does God say about dating?
  • Can God help me get better at something?
  • Does God believe in love at first sight, or is it a myth?
  • How do I know if God is mad at me?
  • Is it OK to be mad at God?
  • Did Jesus feed 5,000 people or 4,000 people? The gospel accounts don’t say the same thing.

Retirement

Assuming that I live long enough to retire, I’ve been wondering lately if & when I would actually do it.

The question I keep thinking through is, “When does a pastor retire?”. When do I say “Well, that’s enough.” and stop pastoring?

If I do retire, do I take on a role as a volunteer? I just don’t think I’ll ever be done serving. Maybe I won’t get a check, but I think I’m going to be a “pastor” for the rest of my life. I definitely HOPE that I always feel compelled to shepherd, serve, and teach.

Should I even consider retiring? I keep thinking about a pastor I worked with named George Bedlion. He must have been up in his 80’s, and he was still running the show in one of our family ministries!

I heard that Francis Chan doesn’t even have a savings account!

What do you think? Any kingdom-minded readers out there that are wrestling through what to do when they get to retirement age?

don’t eat that

I talked about stewardship yesterday with my high school students, focusing on the bling bling. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that most teenagers have an unhealthy view of money. Not sure if it comes from mom and dad or those darn gangster rappers, but most kids are ignorant about how spiritual their money is.

I was gonna use the Elf clip to set up this story but I cut it right before I went on stage. A 62-year-old man went to the hospital back in 2002 because he was having stomach pains. Doctors freaked out when they saw this x-ray,

coin eater This guy had been sneaking around his house eating COINS. This lump of money in his stomach had to be removed, and it turned out to be about 350 coins! The whole thing added up to be about 12 pounds (about the size of a bowling ball). You can see how heavy it was by how far down it had pushed his stomach.

We might as well be eating our money if we’re not investing it in lasting things. Have you ever seen a Uhaul trailer attached to the back of a hearse? Probably not.

Ya can’t take it with ya.

Maybe that’s why Jesus talked more about money and possessions than faith, prayer, heaven and hell… combined.

Check out Paul’s approach to encourage generosity in 2 Corinthians 8.

Is this the approach you usually hear pastors use?

Luke 15

I am teaching in our main service at Mission for the first time this weekend. Ironically enough, I’m teaching on the passage that I taught on during my interview weekend at Calvary. Mark and I were talking last month about what message would be a great fit for this weekend (which is a baptism service), and he picked this passage. I couldn’t be more excited! We’ll be wrapping up each of the services with a whole bunch of baptisms that will take place during the final songs. Our worship pastor C.J Bergmen has some amazing songs picked out to complement the message and the baptisms.

I’m sure that most of the people who come this weekend will have heard the story of the Prodigal Son. Maybe all of them. Maybe they’ve heard about the wandering sheep or the lost coin. But this is one of those stories that should never get old. I love what Tim Keller says in “The Prodigal God” about familiar stories like this one:

“One of the signs that you may not grasp the unique, radical nature of the gospel is that you are certain that you do.”

Dallas Willard put it another way in The Divine Conspiracy:

“Presumed familiarity breeds unfamiliarity.”

Just when we think we “get it”, God peels back another layer of this beautiful gospel.

It really is good news… no matter how badly it gets misrepresented by picketers and “pastors” from Tempe.

I’m grateful to be in a place where they trust me to teach from the main stage. Mark has me scheduled to teach once a month for the next 5 or 6 months… but I think he wrote it in pencil HAHA! I’ll try not to be horrible. It’s really hard to mess up Luke 15, but I’ve seen it done.

I will be including some childish (moderately inappropriate) humor in my sermon though, just to maintain my youth pastor’ness. Stay tuned πŸ™‚