Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The ACTS model of prayer

ACTS is an acronym that can help keep you on track when you’re praying. If you ever found yourself coming to God in prayer and just feel so disconnected. At one minute you’re repenting of you sins and the next sentence you’re praying for your friend at work who doesn’t know Christ. This style of prayer can keep you more focused and intentional in your prayer life.

A- Adoration
C- Confession
T- Thanksgiving
S- Supplication

Start out with “A”. Its where you take time to adore God. Start out by adoring Him for who He is, for what He’s done in your life. Take time to adore His creative ability and His character. This is where you get to adore God and remind yourself of who you are approaching. Tell God how powerful and awesome He is! Too many times when we are praying I think we neglect to really thank God for who He is and what He is doing, I am talking about myself also. It is very easy to just jump in and make prayer all about us.

Next we come to the “C” in ACTS. Lay all your sin on the table. Confess it all to God. Confess your thoughts, your actions, your words and everything. Don’t hold it back. God knows all about it. If there is any sin that can hold you back from praising Him now is the time to confess that. Some passages in the Scripture that I turn to at this point are: Psalms 51:5-6 or 1 John 1:9.  Maybe you feel like you are not worth anything or that you have sinned too much and God could never forgive you.  That’s not true. God is a forgiving God but we have to confess our sins.

After we’ve confessed our sin we move to Thanksgiving. We get to thank God for all He has given us, for His provision, for His endless love, for our health, for our family, for our friends and the list goes on. This is where the Psalms can come in very handy in helping to thank God for all He’s done. If you are having a hard time thanking God, this is a good sign that you need to thank God. This will begin to turn your mind to Him and His goodness. Look at what Psalm 118 says.

Notice, up until this point we have not made one request of God except to forgive our sins. Now we come to the Supplication time, this just means to ask for something. If you are anxious about work, ask God to lead you. If you are wondering about a relationship, ask God to help you. If you are stressing on a place to live, ask God to show you what to do. You can also pray for others, you don’t just have to pray for yourself. It will be easier to pray for yourself and I would encourage you to start out by praying for others. Pray for your family, your friends, pray for people who are far from God or people who are serving God in a different country. The more I pray for others, the more I find my requests begin to seem silly.

Monday, October 26, 2015

My Expanded Role

This fall I begun taking on more leadership at CPC. The change did not happen immediately but came about through many conversations and prayer. About 18 months ago I actually had a young man approach me and say, "I've been talking with some leaders and we all think you would be a great fit. Would you consider leading our Young Adult ministry?" Now I was thrilled he thought I would be a good fit, but the request wasn't coming from our elders and I wasn't ready to entertain a conversation like that.

Fast forward to early Spring 2015 and our Executive Team began the discussion. We talked about some internal changes in our responsibilities. These were great conversations that happened over a period of time. If this was going to be a reality it mean a few things for me. I would need to:
Training up an a capable, talented, and very gifted young leader to be our children's champion.

It also meant I wouldn't have the capacity to continue leading the Global Leadership Summit. This was a tough choice because I've enjoyed this part of my role, but I think this expanded role was going to be more important.

Now it was time to begin communicating. This is a place where many people mess things up. Our Executive Team drew out a plan and began to execute. During the summer we announced the plan to staff and key volunteer leaders. It was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. Starting September the change was in full effect and now I'm leading our Young Adults ministry.

People have asked me questions on this transition and I want to answer some of them here:

Why did you say yes to this role?
Well I didn't say "yes" out loud at first (although I did inside). It took some conversations and prayer to get me there. After having conversations with my wife, my friends, and my pastor I said yes. Let me make it clear, It wasn't a reluctant yes. I understand the impact leading a group of young adults can have in the world. I really wanted to make sure it was God opening the door for me and not just me thinking it was a cool idea.

Ultimately I said, "yes" because I think investing in young people is one of the best things I can do with my life (besides loving God and loving my family). I want to be investing my life into others. I also want to connect more with young adults at my church. There was much affirmation that I was the right guy to do this. And I want to grow close now in hopes that many of us will be leading, side-by-side, for many years on the Peninsula.

Are you no longer a campus pastor?
I am still a campus pastor. I love leading my campus. I am so thankful to work with my elders, lead pastor and campus staff. This is not a completely different role, this is an expansion of my current role.

Are you excited to lead in this role?
Very much! Most of my ministry has been working with people younger than me. I'm excited to pass on some of what I've learned and to learn from our young adults. The first few months have been a whirlwind of learning and leading, I'm excited to learn more so I can actively lead this group closer to God.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Much Needed Break

This September I made a choice to not participate in any, and all, social media. For some people this might sound as difficult as a junkie kicking heroin. What drives a person, like myself, to abstain from all social media for a month?

There were two main factors in my decision: God and my family.

Focusing on God
It seems like very now and then I need to purge myself of all the other voices in life. This September was a time where I needed to find more clarity and deeper connection with God. My goal in taking this time off was to connect more with God. As I reflect on the month of September I'm still not completely sure I accomplished what I originally set out to accomplish. I wish I could say with absolute resolve that I accomplished it, but I can't.

I can say that I accomplished my goal of not being on social media, but I wish I would have connected with God more in this time. I could probably take a similar break like this for the next ten years and never fully accomplish what I set out to do because I tend to set lofty goals.

Focusing on my Family

Although I may not have accomplished my goal of connecting with God to the extent I desired, I did connect more with my family.

There is a huge benefit of not being on social media. The benefit, for me, is feeling like I don't have to check on social media. Therefore I was able to focus more on my family. I didn't have this lingering thought; "What is going on now." There was a desire to scroll but I know I had made a commitment to not scroll.

Also, I didn't feel the pressure to take the perfect picture of my kids to post on Instagram. I didn't have to tweet every funny thing my kids said. Or keep up on the news on Facebook. It was freeing... seriously, it was freeing!

Well my month is over, and I took a little longer just because it felt so good. I plan on slowly engaging back in social media but on a small level than I used to. I'm not going to check Instagram everyday. I'm might miss your birthday on Facebook. You may never see me on periscope again. But you're welcome to call up and we could grab a coffee!

If you are thinking of doing something like this let me know. Or if you've done something similar share what you learned.