What’s My Deal!?

The Simply Youth Ministry Conference is really good. There are plenty of workshops that you want to be a part of, and the only way to get to most of them is to keep coming back year after year. I definitely feel that I’m blessed to be a part of this experience.

But there is one problem that I’m facing.

And like most problems, it’s not external, but within myself.

I keep feeling like I’m inadequate to be here. I’m stuck in the mire of feeling like I’m a rookie (or “noob” for those cool, hipster, young folk), even though it’s just not true. As Jon Acuff mentioned in the general session last night, there are voices constantly whispering in our ears. Unfortunately, I’m listening to one of the negative voices, and it’s preventing me from coming alive at this conference.

So with confidence, I hope to stamp out this voice. It’s time I embrace more of the truths that God declares over me. For example, 1 John 3 assures us that we are beloved, children of God, and that He can overcome anything in our hearts because God is greater even than our hearts.  [1 John 3 says some other good stuff too. You should read it!]

There’s more for me to think about and meditate over, but this is a good start. Now it’s time I boldly carry on with the conference and see what I can both give and take in these final workshops and sessions.

NOTE: A special thanks to Kyle Koster for helping me see, flesh out, and understand this crazy thing going on in my head. You’re truly a manly dude.

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Early Reflections from the 2012 SYMC

SYMC 2012.

Simply Youth Ministry Conference.

I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by so many passionate youth leaders that want to see kids grow in their relationships with God. It’s also been refreshing that the speakers and conference organizers really want people at the conference to take a step back, breath, and rest in Jesus’ arms. It’s a conference with workshops, but it’s also an opportunity to receive. This is important since, as leaders, we have a tendency to give and give and give…

I felt particularly blessed by a worship leader named Tim Timmons. I previewed a few of his songs before the conference and wasn’t particularly drawn to his music. However, it’s amazing the way your perspective about someone changes when you experience them in person and as you learn their story.

His presence on stage instantly changed my opinion. He is passionately in love with Jesus, and it’s clear that he passionately wants that love to be made known. Also, he sang a song that really spoke to my heart. It was called Child of God, and it really fits the family theme that my youth ministry in Hong Kong has steadily explored the past couple of months.

There’s no video that I’ve found, but check out the song on iTunes (album is called Sons and Daughters) and the lyrics.

The other cool aspect about Tim Timmons is that I found out he’s lived with a type of incurable cancer for the past nine years. Nine YEARS! I wouldn’t have known except for the fact that I did some research on him. Moreover, he’s pressing on and recording faith-filled and passionate music. His latest project is called Let’s Be Beautiful. I encourage you to watch the video and learn more.

I’ve really appreciated the music and worship at SYMC. I’m blessed, feel refreshed, and I’m looking forward to another full day tomorrow.

The Other F Word

I’m on a retreat with my youth staff from Island ECC. I wasn’t part of the planning committee (and by committee, I primarily mean my colleague Amanda), so I’m just along for the ride. Like any good retreat, there’s a healthy combination of relaxation and reflection. I shouldn’t be surprised at the reflection topics, but again I’m overwhelmed at the amount of time I’ve been spending thinking about family and their influence on my relationship with God.

Just when I thought we might be done with the evening, we decided to watch a movie. As we bounced around some ideas, we settled on a documentary called The Other F Word. The title is quite intriguing, but I had to surpress a chuckle when I found out the F word stands for FATHER.

I think God’s trying to get my attention.

Anyway, it was an intriguing and occasionally insightful movie. The storyline follows the lives of punk rockers that have become dads. I especially liked what Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Art Alexakis (Everclear), Ron Reyes (Black Flag), and Jim Lindberg (Pennywise) had to say about fatherhood. [As a note of warning, it’s not for those sensitive to the standard F word or other words like it.]

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This Thursday I’m heading to the United States for a conference organized by Simply Youth Ministry. Once it’s over, I’m going to spend a week with my immediate family. I’m hoping and praying that God will help shed some light on why I’ve been bombarded with thoughts and reflections surrounding my family – particularly my dad.