Denying the Cool Factor

I was intelligent enough to prepare for at least one of my two talks this past week at Christian Alliance International School’s (CAIS) Spiritual Emphasis Week Camp. My first talk was about the life of Paul, one of the greatest early Christians and missionaries the world has ever known. I prayed and prepared to not only inform kids, but also to encourage them to be more Christ-like. I think it went well, and lots of kids told me so afterward. (You can see my presentation on Paul if you want.)

However, my second talk was not anything like the first.

I was to speak on engaging culture. There was no description, and I was definitely at a loss on where to start this huge topic. Seriously, it’s extremely broad. So what does a guy do when you feel overwhelmed? You’d think I would prepare way in advance and pray even more earnestly. But nope. I did what too many of us too frequently do. I procrastinated until the very last minute, and I only worked on the talk so I could save my butt from utter disgrace.

And the worst part? I tried to rely on my own knowledge and coolness.

As I look back it’s only too obvious how silly I was. I know that I should have prepared more. However, it’s funny that I thought I might be cool! Ha!

After my talk I joined the kids in a time of ministry and worship, and God worked in my heart. First, He helped me calm down after the debacle in front of 75 kids and about 10 adults. Then, he showed me my mistakes. And finally, He reminded me how much He loves me.

The next time I feel overwhelmed and stressed, it’s best not to rely on myself. Rather, I need to point to Jesus and rely on His strength. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). The greatest things in life are not about me nor my perceived coolness. Rather it’s about Jesus and the glorious victory of Him overcoming sin and death and bring us into God’s presence.

Amen and Amen.


Learning to Let Go

It seems that my wife and I can’t seem to figure out a place to stay for any secure length of time. This might seem deceiving since we’ve been in Hong Kong for nearly five years. However, we’ve been on a series of one or two-year contracts. Scratch that, I’ve been on one or two-year contracts, and Kristin’s contract is indefinite with a three-month-notice clause. Regardless of these details, each year or two seems to bring about the question, “What are we doing next year?”

Lately, we’ve been asking that question again.

'Uncertainty ' photo (c) 2010, Nicu Buculei - license: I stay at Island ECC as a youth pastor?
Will I even be a youth pastor?
Will Kristin stay at Union Church?
Will Kristin enroll in graduate school full time?

We’ve talked and debated a number of ideas and plans. However, there’s no clear path just yet. Fortunately, we’ve been clear-minded enough to just let go of all this planning. There are some actions we’ve taken to open up our prospects, but nothing definite. The month of February has been and continues to be a month of praying and waiting on God to reveal some next steps for us.

If you’re reading this, please pray for us. We don’t want to be anxious about anything. We simply want to be obedient servants of God. If we’re in His hands doing His work, I think He’ll make us content wherever we end up – even if it’s exactly where we currently are doing the jobs we currently have.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)