#tcgwky

Guest Post, Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

#tcgwky – Round 2, Fight!

28 Jul , 2017  

#TCGWKY = The comparison game will kill you.

This journal series was co-written with Pastor Corey Gibson. See what he says about #TCGWKY in Round 1, Fight! of the series.

In just the last few years, I’ve been in three distinctly different seasons of life and ministry. I’ve been in the role of leading a ministry that was “small”, I’ve been in the wilderness of transition, and I’ve been in the driver’s seat of a nationally recognized movement. The idea that the spirit of comparison is exclusive, or even stronger, in any season is just as rich of a lie as that destructive sirens’ promise that better grass exists. When I worked with a small ministry, I wanted to be in a bigger one. When I was in transition, I just wanted to be wanted, the way I felt everyone else who had a platform was… wanted. And when I had somehow “arrived” into my dream position, piloting a ministry that had influenced me for years, I was still just as empty and green as I had ever been. Shades of inadequacy and hues of envy colored the way I viewed everything.

I have watched friends fall at my left side and brothers abandon calling at my right hand. And in my most vulnerable moments, I can tell you that the same spirit has not just come nigh my dwelling, she has kissed my ear on my own couch as I gaze into an iPhone wondering when I will ever “matter”. She has taken my place in bed, next to my wife, while I pace through hallways and try to develop ideas like adding rungs onto a proverbial ladder. I’ve read enough books, listened to enough podcasts, and heck even preached enough sermons about not comparing peoples highlight reels to your life. It’s easy to say “Amen” to, but seemingly impossible to escape.

I chased success like some mythical white beast, that was always just far enough from my hands that I would never really reach it. I found myself constantly pursuing something other than the pursuer, and you simply can’t live like that. All in all, I found myself subscribed to the idea that working harder was the answer. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, but my every movement became about proving

something to someone. I didn’t care much who it was, but I had an intrinsic need for validation that was achingly insufficient – all because my life didn’t look like the Instagram feeds that I had idolized. All because twitter followers somehow eluded me but migrated to everyone else. Because I couldn’t for the life of me gain a blue check on Facebook. Because I only got to speak at four camps per summer, and not ten.

There’s a reason it feels like you are always chasing… running and gasping for each breath, holding your ribs in exhaustion. Because comparison NEVER wants to you to know satisfaction. No matter how big the ministry, how influential your social clout, how perfect your airbrushed photos are, there will always be another dying star that vies for your attention. And if we do not make a conscious choice to abdicate comparison’s power of our life we will make our spiritual dwelling in the slums of rejection.

Why? Because comparison and rejection are winning dance partners, and our western-progressive-Christian minds are the ballroom. A month ago, I found myself back in this place of transition. This time not just in employment, but in calling, in residence, in economic status, what felt like every aspect of life. At the pinnacle of this change, I laid in bed one night for hours listening to the same song on repeat. “I’d rather see your stars explode” by a band called Slaves. (If you’re some hyper-purist, don’t listen, they aren’t even remotely a Christian band). But I lay there incessantly hitting “play again” all for a three-line bridge towards the end of the song where the singer says, “I’m gonna show what I’ve got left. You haven’t even seen my best. Just wait.” Somehow without me even noticing, years’ worth of rejection began surfacing and I found myself weeping, gritting my teeth and bitterly declaring those three lines of lyrics over and over again

All of that to say this, the comparison had made me believe that I would never live without being in someone else’s shadow. A predecessor, a successor, an illegitimate idol who fits into skinny jeans better than I ever have hopes for, the list goes on…

That night I made a decision that the world would see my best. No matter what it took. I persuaded my own heart to trust that I still had something left inside to offer. The only way we kill comparison is regaining security in our God-given identity. Mine is different than yours. And it’s different than my wife’s. It’s different than the pastor with 12,000 followers and it’s different than the guy’s who preaches in a living room for 12 people. We must come to a place where we unashamedly embrace our differences, where we celebrate the favor of God on our friends and on our rivals, where we cancel our premium subscription to Satan’s lies and rejoice in who we are as children of God. I’m more and more convinced daily that genuine revival and comparison cannot cohabitate. The reason is, revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die.

Revival and comparison are at war for who gets the glory. If we authentically desire a move of God, comparison must die. Click To Tweet

-Johnathan Key

Johnathan is a national speaker and church consultant with a passion for training leaders to “make things better. always.” With 13 years experience in ministry, Johnathan now travels spreading fires and coaching pastors, leaders, and volunteers to understand that revival is a choice. He is a husband to Andrea, Dad to Israel, and Unashamed Skylanders collector. Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Website

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Guest Post, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

Authentic Love for People

4 Apr , 2017  

Guest Blogger, Michael Vanden Berge shares some candid thoughts on authentic love.

If I talk a lot about God, the Bible, and Church, but I fail to ask about other people’s needs, I’m simply making a lot of empty religious noise. If I graduate from theological seminary and know all the answers to questions you’ll never even think of asking, and if I have all the degrees to prove it … and if I say I believe in God with all my heart, soul, and strength, claiming to have incredible answers to my prayers, but I fail to take the time to find out what makes others laugh and why they cry, I’m nothing. If I sell an extra car and some of my books to raise money for poor starving kids somewhere, and if I give my life for God’s service and burn out after pouring everything I have into the work, but do it all without ever once caring about the people, the real hurting people—the moms and dads and sons and daughters and orphans and widows and the lonely and forgotten—if I pour my life into the Kingdom but forget to love those here on earth, my energy is wasted, and so is my life.

Here is what love is like … genuine love. God’s kind of love. It’s patient. It can wait. It helps others, even if they never find out who assisted them. Love doesn’t look for greener pastures. Love doesn’t boast. It doesn’t try to build itself up to be something it isn’t. Love doesn’t act in a loose, immoral way. It doesn’t seek to take, but it willingly gives. Love doesn’t lose its temper. It doesn’t keep changing its mind. Love doesn’t think about how difficult the other person is, and certainly, doesn’t think of how it could get back at someone. Love is grieved deeply over the evil in this world, but it rejoices over truth. Love comes and sits with you when you’re feeling down and finds out what is wrong. It empathizes with you and believes in you. Love knows you’ll come through just as God planned, and love carries on to the end. It doesn’t give up, quit, diminish, or go home.
Love perseveres, even when everything goes wrong and the feelings leave and the other person doesn’t seem as special anymore. Love succeeds 100 percent of the time.

That, my friend, is what genuine love is.
My friend lets pour out His love onto others. Let’s make Jesus look good, for he is that good.

Love is grieved deeply over the evil in this world, but it rejoices over truth. Click To Tweet

Michael Vanden Berge - Authentic Love

Michael Vanden Berge, Reaching the Hungry, Missionary. Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

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Guest Post, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Worship & Prayer

Worship: It’s not always what you think!

27 Mar , 2017  

Guest Blogger, Lucas Lash shares his thoughts on Worship…

What is worship? How and why should we even worship in the first place? Worship is a necessary part not only in church but in our very own relationships with God. Every day, each one of us worships something, whether you believe in God or not. Sometimes we don’t even intend to, but by how we think and how we use our time, we are always focused on something. It’s easy to get misled and worship those things, and by this I mean we tend to get distracted by so many things we come across in our daily lives. We go to school, we go to work, some of us have kids, or we are focusing all our attention on our boyfriend or girlfriend or even our spouses. Our schedules are so full and we cram so many things into our days that we don’t prioritize the time necessary to worship God and spend time with Him. That is crucial for our relationship with Jesus, and I’m guilty of the same thing sometimes. We fill our plate with work, sports, family or friends, and all those things are great and God blesses us with those things, but I think Jesus deserves a little more than the 5 or 10 minutes a day and then moving to the next thing on our schedule.

I wanted to spend some time pondering the question of why we should even worship God in the first place. It seems like such a small question in our faith, but it really is very significant to remember why you are worshipping God. I want to share a verse that has definitely been one of my favorites ever since I first heard it. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you’re a Christian, then you believe Jesus died for your sins, to take the full penalty and weight of your sin and endure the wrath of God so that we don’t have to. It’s very simple, but every time I spend time thinking about this truth it breaks me down and brings me back to the simplicity of why I am a Christian. I chose to follow Jesus because I have witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others and give back to God all that I have. That’s why I worship, and really it’s the only reason we should worship God. Not out of a state of fear or pressure, but out of a revelation of God’s faithfulness and love. Jesus came down to this earth and endured all the pain and suffering that we really can’t even imagine, and Philippians 2:8 says this, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” I think that is amazing. Jesus was God and He came down to this earth because He loves us, and died the death we deserve, all because He wanted to spend eternity with you and I. So again I come back to the question, “Why should we even worship God?” Well, because I believe He deserves it. He deserves every piece of me; my heart, and my life. And for what God has done for you and me, and what He is doing for us each day, I will worship Him and tell the world how awesome and great He is.

I chose to follow Jesus because I've witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others... Click To Tweet

When you look around the world at different cultures and religions, you see different ideas of worship and what it looks like to worship. The question of how we should worship is a strange one, but I think it’s important to talk about. Each of us are very different people, but we all have the common goal and intention of worshipping a God who deeply loves us. How we worship Him will look totally and completely different. God created us to be unique individuals, He doesn’t want us all worshipping the same way and doing the exact same thing as the next guy. He doesn’t want us to raise our arms just because everyone else is doing it, or fall on our knees at the altar just because it looks like a more meaningful experience. God simply wants us to let our walls down and fully accept His love. Once we do that, we feel that incredible comfort and peace that only comes from Him. We let everything down, and open our heart to God, and in response to that, we worship. We thank Him. We praise Him and show Him how grateful and humbled we are. Showing God our gratitude and showing Him love can come in different forms, and as I said before, it will always look different for each of us. For me, my favorite ways to worship God and to praise Him is through playing music and playing drums. I’m one of the drummers for my church praise band, and I do it because I love God, want to make music for His glory, and of course, because I love playing drums! I love skateboarding and doing art, and those things are even considered worship when you do them with the intention of bringing God glory. Each of us has passions and things we love doing, and that’s great! God gives us these desires and fires us up to do things because He wants us to be happy and enjoy this life, but He also wants us to use those passions to grow the Kingdom, reach those around us, and glorify the God who made us.

Worship is such an integral part of our relationship with God. It’s a way for us to communicate back to Him our response to His love. I definitely think He is worthy of it. Worship looks different for each of us, and I believe that’s exactly what God wants. Worship isn’t always through music or singing but it’s the way we live our lives and what we choose to focus on or direct our attention to. Worship is an amazing thing, and God is always ecstatic to hear your voice, to see your heart and your actions bringing glory to the Kingdom. He is and always will be worthy of our praise.

Worship isn't always through music/singing but it's the way we live our lives & what we focus on Click To Tweet

Lucas Lash _ WorshipLucas Lash is a 23-year-old who currently lives in Wichita, KS. His hobbies include drumming, art and design, skateboarding, and running his faith-based clothing brand “Urban Society Co.

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Guest Post, Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, Student Ministry, That'll Preach Sayings, Worship & Prayer

Guest Post: THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

4 May , 2016  

This was originally written and posted by Pastor Micah Berteau here

Healthy is not a sexy word in youth ministry. If we are ever asked about the status of our youth group we would love to use words like “growing,” “powerful,” “massive,” “explosive,” “game-changing” and then end that sentence with a humble brag like: “but praise God because He’s the one sending the masses of kids to hear me preach!” Don’t flatter yourself. Humility is the breeding ground of revival. Is that one of those one-liners with no truth behind it? False. Think about it. The Bible clearly states how the humble will be exalted. God is moving in places where he gets all of the glory. God is into promoting purity over pride. Which makes it clear that Humility is a strong indication of spiritual health

The word “health” is most likely not our favorite word to describe our impact on culture. The reality is, we get caught up with size instead of health. We must redefine the metric in which we measure a thriving youth group, or any ministry at that. Numbers without health will not sustain. On the other side, healthy ministries cannot and will not stay without growth. Health does not mean taking a picture at that one angle for social networks that make your youth group look like 2,659 students. Health is being huge in spirit before you are ever huge in number. It is the foundation of prayer that starts with the youth pastor. It is reading the Bible for more than just sermons. It is keeping Jesus as the main focus of our entire operation.

What is one of the most effective ways to build a healthy youth ministry?  Copy everything you see on Instagram from other churches. Joking. It’s DICIPLESHIP. Discipleship is showing this young generation the reality of Jesus in their every day lives. Discipleship is replicating who you are. Discipleship is dirty. Discipleship is time consuming. Discipleship is the ultimate Jesus model.

Jesus took 12 nobodies and turned them into some of the baddest people to ever walk on earth. Talk about #SquadGoals. How did Jesus do that? Matthew 4:19 (NLT) states, “Jesus called out to them, “Comefollow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” In this verse we learn the Jesus model of discipleship in three steps.

  1. COME. Allow the students to come as they are, not as you would like them to be. The greatest leaders aren’t born they’re formed.
  2. FOLLOW ME. Students need a man/woman of God to follow as they are on their journey with Christ. Someone to text, call, or message at any time of the day for prayer and guidance.
  3. I WILL SHOW YOU HOW. Our young people no longer need to hear about how they should live, but SEE someone living it out in front of them. Discipleship is more illustrative than it is verbal. Show them how to read the bible. Show them how to worship. Show them how to pray. Leadership is more caught than taught and these young people need to see what a righteous walk looks like.

Understand that everyone you disciple may not make it. Even Jesus had a runaway: Judas. However, do not lose heart because though you may not see the temporary impact, discipleship produces eternal impact.

 

MicahSmileMicah Berteau has grown up in the house of God.  Micah, along with his wife Lindsey, are the youth Pastors of Heart&Soul and Stadium Youth & Young Adult Ministries at The House in Modesto, California.  Micah influences hundreds of young people on a weekly basis.  He has led events with over 2,000 people in attendance and has had the privilege to see thousands of people saved.  Micah is a dynamic, powerful, and enthusiastic speaker. He carries an anointing to speak not only to the youth, but to all generations. His passion and love for God is refreshing and contagious.  Micah has a heart for evangelism and a desire to see the youth and young adults of this generation intimately know Jesus and boldly make him known.

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Guest Post, Leadership, That'll Preach Sayings

WINNING

16 May , 2014  

WINNING

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Guest Post, Leadership, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

Run After God, Not Just His Gifts

13 May , 2014  

Run After God, Not Just His Gifts

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Guest Post, Leadership, That'll Preach Sayings

Johnathan Key on Raising Leaders

14 Apr , 2014  

Servants can’t reproduce themselves, only leaders can! Are we building and raising leaders or just servant workers??

Pastor Johnathan (@PastorJohnathan) – student pastor at Gateway

Guest Post, Leadership, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

When God Hits the Pause Button

18 Dec , 2013  

When God Hits the Pause Button

Guest Post, Leadership, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, Student Ministry

Awkward Seesaws (5 Reasons Why There Is More To Student Ministry Than Speaking)

14 Dec , 2013  

Awkward Seesaws (5 Reasons Why There Is More To Student Ministry Than Speaking)

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Guest Post, Leadership, Randomness, Reflections & Introspection, That'll Preach Sayings

PERHAPS

13 Dec , 2013  

PERHAPS