Thursday, December 17, 2009

Snow Day Hiatus, RETURN: CRIBS pt. II

In 2009, many of you were called into a specific, vocational ministry. That is super exciting to know that God planted in your heart a desire to serve Him in such ways! As believers, we are all called to ministry in the way we live our life- whenever, wherever (SHAKIRA styles)...

As you think about all that is ahead of you as it relates to that which He has called you to do, don't think about all of the obstacles or anything in the way of making it become a reality, simply ask yourself "Am I willing?"

God does the impossible- God does the impossible. Say it out loud. Journal about that truth. In Luke 1 we peak in on Mary learning of what is to come... "How will all this be, since I am a virgin?" It was humanly impossible but He made it happen.

What might He be calling you to do? What seems so impossible about that? Have faith, be obedient, and buckle up!

Merry Christmas, seeya in January!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

CRIBS. pt. I... Pregnancy Plan.

Please tell me / Why are we / Trying so hard?

Why worry / it's over /We always fall right back / To where we start.

There goes another one of our / "Sure-fire" plans / ...It backfired again /

We try to think it through / The best that we can / I bet it's gonna backfire again.

Take what it is / Given you / How does that sound?

Everything is / All thought-through / And fool-proof / Now watch it all / Crumble down /

And down again.

-MuteMath- "Backfire"

Often I am asked something to the effect of "WHAT IS YOUR 5 YEAR PLAN???" Guess what? I have resolved to not attempt to box my life into your so-called plan. Too many times we try to create our own life's itinerary. It looks like this: "I want to get good grades in high school so that I can get into a terrific college in order to step into my career of choice so that I can take out a loan for that car I've always wanted and in the process of doing so I will get married and have 2.5 kids who will eventual grow up and follow the same process and oh my I hope they take care of me when I'm old and deteriorating in all that my life has become." As Piper said it best... "DON'T WASTE YOUR LIFE."

Mary and Joseph could not have planned the ways their life together brought about Emmanuel. Most everything that could've gone wrong, seemingly did. Mary was pregnant, but not by Joseph. They had to travel back to Bethlehem, at the peak of pregnancy. Jesus was born while on this trip, and they were forced to have him in an animals den. But therein lies the beauty: while all of these things happened in a way that they would not have chosen- it was the way in which Christ became incarnate.

While in the questioning period post finding out Mary was pregnant, God gave Joseph a dream...

"20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel”(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus." Luke 2:20-25

God in essence gave Joseph a blueprint for what was to come. While Joseph didn't know all the details, all the whats/wheres/whys/hows, he at least a glimpse of the bigger picture. God has given me a calling in my lifetime: make disciples, specifically out of students much like yourselves. I don't know all the details, just a glimpse of the bigger picture. What might God be laying out for you? What plans do you have that need to be given up? How is He stepping in to 180 your life and make it a magnificent existence? Chances are that if you try to plan out your life, God will totally spin it in order for you to see His glory. Be wise, make good godly decisions, and pursue what He has for you, but don't selfishly tell the world your plan for your life. Be open to God's project in you and see where it takes you.

A life lived for Him bears zero regrets. NONE.



Thursday, November 19, 2009

Overflow Series: Ryan Skoog on Courage

"What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love." Galatians 5:6 (The Message).

Taking a step of courage is well, a step of faith. In Galatians 5 Paul is writing about how as Christ followers we are under a new covenant (vs. "The Law"); one where circumcision has no bearing on one's spiritual connection w/ God. Faith applied in love is a new goal- not mere outward facades. Faith takes courage, and love is rooted in compassion...

Have you ever witnessed, or even just heard of some situation that absolutely broke your heart? Innocent children brainwashed into soldiers in Northern Uganda. Massive sex trade in the Phillipines. Unbelievably abusive parents in Minneapolis. When these things "wreck" you, it is the heart of God overflowing out of your own. What makes your heart melt with compassion? Your life will have meaning when you invest in the things that God has made you passionate about!

Give- time. money. thoughts.

Awareness- raise it for your cause... make T-shirts. write a blog. fundraise creatively.

Prayer- get on your knees and connect to Heaven about what needs to be done.

"When Courage meets Compassion, that's when the miracle happens."

Being bold ain't easy, but it sure isn't boring!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"I never wanted anything in this world that I couldn't stand losing" (Henry DeTamble, The Time Traveler's Wife)

How tight do your fingers grasp the possessions around you?

In the middle of Luke 12, Jesus points out that the location of our treasure is synonymous w/ where our hearts will be found. If you actually accounted for every dollar you spent (be real- do you actually balance a checkbook?), someone could look @ the list of all the ways you spend your $, and be able to tell what is most important to you.

Jesus challenges us to live for greater things than just mochas and movies (even though HO HO MOCHAS are officially in season @ your local Caribou, and UP was just released on DVD). What if we had the vision to see just how our acts of obedience could lead to change in the life of an orphan? That is your opportunity to be stretched. As you've learned from the Overflow series, God's heart is after caring for the orphan (read James 2:1-13), and that will be ONE's focus this year in One To Another. How will you invest? While the dolla dolla bills come to mind first, also consider giving of your time and the abilities you have (raising awareness through campaigning, being a voice for the invisible, etc- be creative!). What radical things are you committing to letting go of so that your delight will rest in the heart of God as you make the things that are important to Him important to you?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Ever read a page in a book and upon finishing and being ready to flip to the next, you realize you had no idea what exactly it was you just read?

Far too often we sit back and let life pass by. You were called to be greater.

How many times do we walk away from a message w/ little more than temporary thoughts? What is the point of learning if there is no challenge; nothing to change (or continue)? This simple blog is a tool to help you remember...

ONEthoughtThursdays will feature a new post every Thursday, connected to a thought from the previous night's "ONE" (River Valley Church's youth ministry located in Apple Valley, MN). Keeping ideas fresh will make them last and prayerfully further application!