Why I do what I do

Why I do what I do

As I sit here in my office I am about 30 minutes away from Marshal County High school. This morning there was a shooting there. A student of the school showed up with a gun and shot at his classmates killing 2 and injuring several others. In the past 6 months there have been several other shootings at schools including on in Italy, TX that happened yesterday, that I hadn’t even heard about until today.

Right now it is 2:02 and I, like so many other parents, am counting the minutes until school gets out so I can see my kids and give them a big hug simply because I still can. As I sit here one thought keeps coming into my head.

“This is why I do what I do.”

There are lots of reasons why I am a youth pastor. It is where my skills have lead me. It is a whole lot of fun. It’s easier than being a pastor. It is amazing to see students worshiping God, especially those doing it for the first time. But when it all comes down to it the reason I do what I do is because of days like today, because we are living in a messed up broken and dark world and there are millions of teenagers who need to see the hope Jesus offers and for some God only knows reason He has sent me to take the light to them.

This is why I do what I do.

I do it because I walked through dark times, through bullies, and parents dying, and my own stupid mistakes, and I know how dark life can feel at times. I do it because in all of those times I always knew that I had hope because I always knew that God was with me. I do it because while I always knew those things I also know that there are so many kids right now who don’t have Jesus walking with them, they don’t see light at the end of the tunnel, they don’t see the hope that God brings. I do what I do because these students need to know that while this world is broken and messed up ultimately this is not all there is. There is a God who loves and cares for them, and ultimately this broken world is not our home.

As I have gotten a chance this past year to spend some time in the middle school I have found students who are desperate for someone to see them, to care about them, to speak good things into their lives. My heart breaks each time I walk out of the building because I know that there are so many more of them than I could ever help. But the reason I do what I do is because God has put in me a deep desire to see teenagers find Jesus, to find hope, to find real life that only God can provide.

On a day like today I am reminded again.

This is why I do what I do.

Snow Days!

Snow Days!

 I have been working to add some new stuff to Nailscars.com ever day again, but I am currently in the middle of a snow weekend which looks like it is going to move into a 5 day weekend for my boys. This means I have been spending more time at home and less time sitting in front of a computer.

I have a few new things I am working toward, most of them are Good Friday Worship Experience related, but I have a few other things I want to put together too. Hope you are having fun and staying warm if it is winter where you are.

Days Off

Days Off

One of the cool things about my job is that I get a day off in the middle of the week. My pastor takes Fridays off so I take Thursdays as my day to rest. That works great for me because my whole week sort of revolves around our Wednesday night event and on Thursday I am normally tired and ready for a break. On those rare days that I end up working on Thursdays I don’t normally get as much done.

Today my wife and I went to watch a movie (one of the perks of having kids in school) which started at 10:40. We are officially old people. We watched “The Greatest Showman” and even thought it has very little in the way of actual history in it (it would be hard to even call it a biopic for all of the liberties that it takes) it is a fun family musical that is clean and doesn’t have bumbling parents or yelling kids rebelling against authority, so it is a rare bread.

It isn’t going to blow you away with its social commentary. The lessons that it teaches are presented with all of the deftness of your typical Hallmark movie, and the story is cheesy enough that you could bring chips and have some nachos, but that doesn’t mean that the movie isn’t great for what it is. It is a fun way to spend a couple of hours for families, especially those who like musicals.

Anyway, didn’t mean to get into a big review. Just bragging that I had a day off.

Music Before My Time

Music Before My Time

OK, there are three things that all came together to create this idea in my head and they are:

  1. I bought Rocksmith to help me learn to play some lead guitar (it is wicked fun btw)
  2. My son wanted to break the Lego Rock Band drums back out and started playing again
  3. Firfirey, the Ethiopian student living with us thinks that no “teenager” knows old songs that I sing on the radio.

Anyway, so all of that led me to putting together a playlist of classic rock songs that I can listen to when I am with my boys. I was thinking of it as sort of a rock and roll education. Which is important as there really isn’t any rock and roll anymore. It has morphed into pop and hip hop and the driving guitar licks have given way to loops. So I wanted to make sure that my kids at least knew how we got where we are musically. (One day I will go back and introduce them to blues and jazz, but right now we are starting with my youth.)

So as I was listening through this playlist I put together it hit me how many of these songs are from before my time. I was born in ’74 so I wasn’t really music listening age until the 80’s. But the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holley, Simon and Garfunkel are the songs that I remember. So I was trying to figure out why.

Then it hit me, a flood of memories came rushing back, but they all had one central image. I saw me, 9 years old, hair still slightly dusty blonde, still sort of shy around new people, but not really into the world of bullies yet, sitting in the front of my dad’s 70’s era blue Chevy Impala (not exactly like the one in the photo). It was blue, and two doors and each door was longer than our current car. I can see myself sitting on vinyl seats with the windows down and my arm hanging out. Me and my dad are driving around in the country, to go fishing, or to a rock pile, or just to drive around and the songs that are playing are these songs, these songs from his childhood that are playing on an 8-track or later on a cassette player he installed. I am driving around and we are talking some and I am talking lots and we are listening to the Sounds of Silence and Johnny B. Goode and Little Duece Coope, and we are together.

In cars today I feel like my boys are always doing their own thing. They have Kindles and books and DVDs and they sit in the back and do their thing with me up in the front doing mine, and yes they are safer, but I wonder if we are missing something with them back there in their world and me up front in mine.

Lazy Day Jitters

Lazy Day Jitters

I am currently enrolled in Seminary (online) and have been pushing hard to get to spring break (which starts on Monday officially). We were scheduled to have a youth retreat this weekend and I am teaching Children’s Church on Sunday. There is a baptism on Sunday too so that means that I had to make a video introduction. So I have been working furiously for the past few weeks trying to get things done and be ready so that I could lead a retreat this weekend.

Then it snowed.

And snowed.

And snowed enough that the retreat center had to cancel on us. So here I am sitting on a Saturday with all of my work done and no appointments. It is so rare that I really don’t know what to do with my time. Last night I went to watch a late movie and then sat and read a fiction novel. When I am doing so much reading for school I forget how much I like to read when it is something other than Systematic Theology.

Anyway, so I have  lazy day today and I can’t stop thinking that there is something that I am forgetting to do.

Well, I bounce between that and a desire to do something big with the family so that I don’t waste this time.

Either way I am having a hard time relaxing.