In my ministry here at Calvary Wesleyan Church we are about to have an extreme shift when it comes to how we do Student Ministry. We are about to scrap this concept of splitting middle and high school and bring them back together for a United group. Conveniently we are changing the name to United; we are uniting two groups, we are united in Christ, we will be united in worship, service, and growing. I’m flippin’ jacked out of my mind about the journey we are launching in January. Friday nights will be our main night with games, chill time and worship through the Word and music and then Wednesday nights will be our night for discipleship. This is where this post comes in. I wanted to journal some of my thoughts that I have had recently on this topic. So here we go…

My thought is for a discipleship program to work for students, first of all, they have to understand the need. They have to be aware that there is a level of Christianity that is deeper than their current state and also deeper than maybe they have ever seen. Many times students use their parents as a measuring stick of their spirituality. This means students will only go as far/deep as their parents. That is unless they have a mentor/small group/discipleship leader that models discipleship in its truest context.

Second, in our consumeristic mindset students have to realize how and why it benefits them. So not only the need but they need to know ‘whats in it for me?’. I believe our job is to live a life of discipleship that is so attractive that students want to follow us as we follow Christ. I’m not talking about having a Escalade on 26’s attractive, I’m talking about disciplined in reading Scripture, talking to God, and just living a life that is evident of the grace you have received. They will soon understand that this is an attractive life because we are living life to the full, not just waking up and hoping everything goes well.

Lastly, after we have shown students the need and shown them why it benefits them we have to point them outwards. When student’s lives are being changed we need to begin to turn them around and show them a lost and dying world all around them. I firmly believe students are in the greatest mission field they will ever be in, middle and high school. Public or not, doesn’t matter. My experience has shown me people need Christ in public and private schools with the need being nearly equal in both. When they begin to grow in their faith and they have leaders who model discipleship and lifestyle evangelism then it will be natural for students to begin to do the same and begin duplicating students just like them.

Well, these are my thoughts. I want to know what you think. You dont have to write a dissertation, but what do you think about discipleship? Similar thoughts or something completely different? Leave a comment.

I am speaking on forgiveness this week at Fuel and Traffic and I ran across this quote. Thought it was something to consider…

In the book. Lee: The Last Years, Charles Bracelen Flood reports that after the Civil War, Robert E. Lee visited a Kentucky lady who took him to the remains of a grand old tree in front of her house. There she bitterly cried that its limbs and trunk had been destroyed by Federal artillery fire. She looked to Lee for a word condemning the North or at least sympathizing with her loss. After a brief silence, Lee said, “Cut it down, my dear Madam, and forget it.” It is better to forgive the injustices of the past than to allow them to remain, let bitterness take root and poison the rest of our life.

What tree do you need to cut down in your life?

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My Best Friend

No, its not our anniversary but I just want to take a second and brag on my wife! Besides deciding to accept Jesus Christ as my Savior this is the best decision I have EVER made. The past year 16 months have been the best 16 months of my life! We have been able to do so much, see so much, and just enjoy each other’s company! It has been an incredible ride here in Delaware so far. We haven’t had family around so we have gotten the chance to lean on each other for everything and it has been nothing short of amazing. God’s plans are so just and so clear that I pray I never question them in my life. God has blessed us so much, physically, spiritually, financially, with friends, and students who are growing passionate about seeking Jesus with their whole hearts! God has truly blessed me with the Godliest, hottest, and most compassionate wife I could have EVER asked for! I have so much that I want to do in this life but my number one prayer is that I be faithful to my God and faithful to my bride, everything else is just icing on the cake. I pray that the Holy Spirit would always keep us close and seeking God and in turn we will grow closer! That’s all for now, I just wanted to take a second and talk about my best friend and my bride, Sherry Anne Wagner (its gotta nice ring to it).

Me and one of my friends Matt Beasley got into a long conversation. That along with the Scripture that God directed me to right before I talked to him and the book Forgotten God I read a few weeks ago rocked my world. It’s been a few weeks brewing but this is what i’m thinking. Turn in your Bible and get ready to underline/highlight this because it is imperative that we understand this Scripture. 1st Corinthians 3:16 “Dont you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?” Ok, so maybe you’ve read it before. You know all about it. Last night it hit me. We can be Christians and just go through life or we can live a life that is FULL of the Spirit, it makes all the difference in the world. Not all Christians live a life that is FULL of the Spirit. Yeah, the Spirit is there regardless of if we acknowledge Him or not but we have to opportunity to capatalize on GOD living IN US! Listen, dont read this and act like you’ve heard it all before. If we are living by the Spirit then EVERYTHING changes. We don’t have time to gratify our desires, we dont see it necesary to complain, we will always put others first, etc… So ask yourself this. When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to lead your life? When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to free you from bondage? When was the last time you asked the Holy Spirit to give you the eyes of Christ? How many times do you acknowledge the Holy Spirit during a typical Sunday service at your church? Think about this, why did all of the prophets in the OT and the disciples in the NT walk in supernatural power…because they were fully surrendered to the Holy Spirit and held to an unwavering faith.

Christians, when we live in the Spirit we are most dangerous to the enemy!

10 Questions Church Leaders Should Ask Themselves

#1 – Am I loving “social networking” more than Jesus?

#2 – Am I loving my particular brand of theology more than Jesus?

#3 – Am I loving my particular worship style more than Jesus?

#4 – Am I loving my platform more than Jesus?

#5 – Am I loving attention more than Jesus?

#6 – Am I loving facilities more than Jesus?

#7 – Am I loving opportunities more than Jesus?

#8 – Am I loving ritual more than Jesus?

#9 – Am I loving success more than Jesus?

#10 – Am I loving the ministry more than Jesus?

Basically…am I loving ANYONE or ANYTHING more than Jesus!

I thought he was right on with this. Most people that read my blog may have already read it on Perry’s but I thought it was worth a re-post!

This summer is going to stinkin awesome! Most of the Thursday’s this summer we have stuff planned with the students. Later on today we are going to the beach and I am pumped about it. Other Thursdays will be things like going to the park and grilling out, a water park trip, going to the HUGE Arundel Mills Mall, and a bunch of other stuff! It is a time for me to get OUT OF THE OFFICE and build some deeper relationships with students. This time will be awesome for our ministry because we are getting to the size where I just cant connect with every student every week. I will be taking my Flip Mino HD that my family got me for my birthday (it was June 16th btw // happy bday to me) in hopes of trying to get some footage of a life in Student Ministry. This camera is going to allow me to catch things on video that are hilarious, dumb, random, entertaining, moving, etc… If you dont have a Flip yet I think you should look into getting one. They are THAT cool! Anyways, just checking in on this thing and letting you know whats going on in my world! Oh yeah, because Sherry is working 3 days a week now she gets to go with us!!!!!! Yeah that is GOOD NEWS! I LOVE sharing this ministry with her!

By far one of the hardest messages I have EVER had to speak. I had to face this one before my students got it… BTW: The idea of this message came from reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan (EVERYONE should read this book). Hopefully this message inspires someone.

The message tonight is titled “Profile of the Lukewarm”. We are going to take a look at what it means to be lukewarm in the eyes of a Holy God. Tonight I want to talk to you from two separate passages of Scripture that are extremely powerful, but first I want to ask you a question. When was the last time you saw someone throw up? When I say throw up I’m not talking about the little throw up in your mouth thing, I’m talking about really seeing someone up-chuck. For me it was two years ago when I was on a road trip with the baseball team. We were going to a college that is up in the mountains and unknown to me one of my teammates gets car sick. He’s got his head tilted back and he looks like he’s asleep and then all of a sudden “PUKE” he throws up everywhere. Luckily he pointed it down and not out so it got on the floor and started to run up to the front of the van. It was disgusting! For me, the whole throw up thing is not a big deal when I do it. If my stomach is really hurting or I feel like I’m going to throw up, I just go ahead and do it. But it’s a completely different when other people do it, you know what I mean? I mean I’m good with seeing it but the whole smell just makes me want to gag! Ughh!!! So by now everybody’s got that picture in their minds, the last time they saw someone throw up. You are probably thinking where in the world is he going with this? Well, I’m glad you asked. When God looks at your life what do you think he thinks? Do you think He’s pleased or do you think it makes Him want to throw up? Seriously, how do you think it makes God feel? But Kenneth, God doesn’t throw up! Let’s look at the first Scripture. Turn to Revelation 3:14-16.

READ Revelation 3:14-16

Jesus says, “I know your deeds…” Jesus sees what we do. He knows where our heart it is. He knows if we are living for Christ or if we just exist in a lukewarm state. We have to do something, I mean we can’t say that we have experienced the love and salvation and the freedom of Christ and then live like it hasn’t changed us. How many of you like coffee when it is lukewarm? How many of you like soda when it is lukewarm? Exactly, you like your coffee hot and you like your soda cold. And it’s the same way with God. God can’t stand when we are lukewarm. He would rather us make up our flippin mind whether we are going to serve him or not. I mean seriously if you are not living to please Him why would you want to spend eternity with Him? If nothing in your like looks like you believe in heaven why would you ever want to spend eternity there? You say you believe in heaven but most of the time you live like hell. For so many of you your life is an oxymoron. We need to make up our minds!

And so this second passage kind of covers the lukewarm lifestyle but in a different way so let’s take a look at it. Turn with me to John chapter 15, verses 1 through 8. We will get back to the whole idea of the lukewarm lifestyle. Let’s read.

READ John 15:1-8

I want you guys to notice one of the first things that I read in that passage. It says, “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit.” Where have we, as American Christians, gotten the idea that we can be Christians but bear no fruit? How does that even make sense? If we honestly think that we can say a prayer and then see NO life change but yet still feel like we will spend eternity in heaven, I have a real problem with that. I heard it said once that, “Information without transformation equals damnation”. Basically what the means if I can break it down is if you know everything you need to know about Christ yet you have never seen a change in your life then you are in real danger of spending eternity in hell. I don’t know how else to say it. Let me ask you a few questions to try and make it a little more clear for you guys. Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of the things of God in your life? Or is your relationship with God overshadowed by other activities, sports, addictions, and sins in your life? I believe that lukewarm Christianity has become an epidemic in America today! I say this because when I read the New Testament and see the things that Christ calls us to do and then I look around at the people that call themselves Christians it is really hard to match the two up. It just doesn’t make much sense. I mean when people actually take the words of Christ literally and seriously they are considered “radicals” or “overboard” when in reality they are getting it right! So with that said would you describe yourselves as totally in love with Jesus Christ or do the words halfhearted, lukewarm, and partially committed fit better? Because Jesus says in this verse that He cuts off EVERY branch that bears no fruit and that’s not very promising to those of you in here that do absolutely nothing to show that your life is in the hands of Almighty God. As a matter of fact, that’s a scary place to be. I am going to take a few minutes and explain to you what the lukewarm person looks like and you can decide for yourself whether or not you are truly following after Christ or if you are just a lukewarm believer.
•Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “Good Christians” do.
•Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict.
oThis is what we talked about two weeks ago but it is worth repeating. Our desire is to fit in both at church and outside of the church. But the problem is most of you care more about what others think of you than what God thinks about your hearts and lives.
•Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one.
oJohn 10:10
•Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act.
oLukewarm people call radical what Jesus EXPECTED of ALL His followers.
oYou think it is so awesome the Anthony and Joe would give up their summers and go away from their families and friends to minister to people in Ireland yet you do not do anything. You choose to be quiet when you have the opportunity to tell your friend about Christ or invite them to Fuel/Traffic.
•Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their friends or classmates. They do not want to be rejected. They would rather be disobedient to God then rejected by their peers.
oJesus says, Matthew 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before me, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns be before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.”
•Lukewarm people gauge their goodness by comparing themselves to others.
oI’m not a Bible thumper or Jesus Freak like _________
oor I’m not nearly as bad as _________
•Lukewarm people say they love Jesus and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give him a section of their time, their hearts, and their thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives.
•Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.
•Lukewarm people lobe others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves.
•Lukewarm people will serve God and others as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them.
•Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep them from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, “to be good enough” without requiring too much of them.
•Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control.
•Lukewarm people probably drink and cuss less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever.

I listened to a Leadership Podcast from Andy Stanley and I thought I would post some of my notes. Enjoy…

•When your memories exceed your dreams, the end is near.
•Success breeds complacency and complacency breeds failure.
•Vision begins with a burden and a burden reflects a broken heart.
•What breaks your heart?
•Don’t let success or momentum overshadow vision.
•People almost never complain about the vision but they will complain about the processes of achieving vision.
•Stories are the most powerful way to communicate vision.
•Stories bring the emotional connection to the vision.
•Celebrate the vision!

Me and my Sr. Pastor were talking today and he said something that I thought was profound. It all started because I have just started to read Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and I am completely freaked out! If you have read the book, you know what I mean. Satan is whacked out! Anyways, my Pastor starts using a baseball analogy to describe Satan and i’m like OK this actually makes sense (i’m not the smartest guy, but I try). So he goes on to say that Satan is like a good pitcher. If a pitcher is good then he has read the book on you. Just like a good pitcher knows what you can/cannot hit, he knows what makes you fall, he knows what makes you take your eyes off of God, and ultimately he knows what really pisses you off! I gave it some thought and this is so true. When I went up to the plate in college pitchers didnt throw me a whole lot of fastballs because I was a fastball hitting guy. They threw me a steady diet of sliders away and change-ups down because they knew I would chase them (way too much btw). And Satan does the same thing. He doesnt tempt me with the slots down the road (gambling is legal in DE?) because he knows I’m gonna hit that one out of the park, thats a no-brainer. He doesnt tempt me to grab a 12 pack while I’m at the gas station becuase he knows I’m gonna hit that one in the gap. But the crazy thing is…he knows what the slider away and the change-up down is in my life and thats what he throws to me! EVERYTIME! He doesn’t mess with the stuff that I am already having victory in, he throws me the stuff where he knows I struggle.

Think about the implications of this in your life. If Satan’s read the book on you where does he know where to hit you? He doesnt just shoot from the hip or hope he tempts you right. He knows exactly what to do to trip you up and get your eyes off of Jesus! So examine where you are and what you hit best. This may seem kind of obvious but it was obvious in college that I couldnt hit the slider away and change-up down and I could never really seem to do anything about it! I’m not saying we can’t overcome things that Satan tries to put in our lives but we may never, in this life, have COMPLETE victory. There is a difference! Overcoming and victory are two different things…maybe that will be my next blog! Anyways, think about what you struggle with and know that Satan is already working there! Men and women of God let’s get into the batting cages of life and work on the pitches we can’t hit!

This video REALLY caught my attention. What do you think?