Sunday, March 27, 2016

My hope for our Young Adults Ministry

In our Young Adults (YA) ministry we're currently going through the book of Colossians. The book of Colossians is a great New Testament book written by the Apostle Paul. Starting in Chapter 2,  Paul lays out his purpose in writing the book. The Apostle Paul never visited Colossae but he was aware of what was happening in the city. He knew that false teachers were trying to persuade Christ followers to stop following Christ. The goal of these false teachers was to promote talking about wisdom and worshipping angels; this was a big deal back in Paul’s day. It is still happening now. Paul caught wind this was happening in Colossae and he didn’t want the Christians to be confused with this false teaching.

So instead of being apathetic, Paul engages. Paul engages in a difficult situation. He does his best to make sure that Christ is glorified in the conversation.

Then he talks about his purpose in writing the letter. His purpose helps shape some of my hopes for YA. Here are three things I hope YA will be:

1) Encouraging.
Paul's goal is for the church to be encouraged in heart and united in love. These are tied together; their encouragement in because of their love for each other. The individuals in the church needed each other. Paul never tells them to function on their own; he is always talking to them as a group of people. When you grow as a Christian, you grow best with a group of encouraging, loving people.

My hope is that YA will be one of the most encouraging places on the Peninsula. My hope is people will come on Thursday night and long to come back the following Thursday. My hope is people who are beat up, downcast, under pressure and discouraged will walk through our doors and find encouragement from others and encouragement from God.

2) United in Love. 
Think about this real quick, we live in a culture where we love to cut each other down. I love to say sarcastic remarks and make fun of people but this isn’t Paul’s goal for us. The goal is to encourage in love. The way my brain works is sometimes it’s easier for me to understand what something is when I understand what it is not. Paul does not want the church to be divided. The false teachers were dividing the church.
What are things that can divide the church?

My hope is for YA to be united in love. To do so we will choose to be people who:
Fill the gaps with trust
Believe the best in people
Trust others

3) Understand the Mysteries of God. 
Now that we know Paul's goal is encouragement in love, he mentions this full understanding. Paul doesn’t want them to just know a little and be surprised later. He doesn’t want us to find out information in 140 characters or less; he wants us to have a complete understanding.

There is something filling about having a complete understanding. Its like walking into a test at school and knowing everything that is going to be on the test and more; its like you wrote the book and now you can calmly write it all out. Paul wants us to have this complete understanding also!
All of this concludes with knowing the mystery of God. I find it interesting he calls it “the mystery of God.” The false teachers wanted to have conversations that would confuse the Christians but Paul wants to give them everything. He wants them to know the entire mystery so much so that he gives up what the mystery is. The mystery is Jesus, and this mystery has been revealed to us in the New Testament! My hope is that people find truth in the name of Jesus Christ and understand the mystery of God!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Hiking with the Kids

I'm planning to take my kids to Yosemite this summer. As a kid we went to Yosemite every summer and I'm really looking forward to this trip. To prepare my kids for some of the hikes I enjoyed most I have been telling them we are going on walks together. We've been walking around the block but I've also reached out to friends to find other hikes we could go on.

One of these hikes was to a place called Sugarloaf Mountian. The first time I did this hike was with Sophie. Leah was feeling sick and I needed to get out of the house. The sun was shining, the weather was beautiful and it was a perfect day for a two mile (round-trip) hike. Sophie and me loaded up in the car and headed to the location. The trail started near a park that the kids have been to before. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect but the hike was fantastic!

We had a blast on the hike. I gave Sophie the GoPro and she filmed every dog we encountered. There were some parts that were more difficult for her than other parts but she really enjoyed it. We stopped at the top for a snack and looked over the Bay. She was such a trooper!

After knowing the hike we decided to take Leah and Isaiah the following weekend. Charity had plans with a friend and I wanted to get all the kids out of the house. We loaded up the car and headed out. I put Isaiah in the Baby Ergo and off we went! Leah wanted to take some pictures on the way and I was quickly learning this hike wasn't as simple with three kids as it was with one! The weather was once again beautiful and the temperature just right!

This time we decided to bring our travel checkers game and played a game on the top. It took us a little while to get up top, mainly because we had our whole family (minus Charity) with us. Isaiah was wiggly, Leah was hungry and Sophie leading the way. Looking back on the whole adventure it was a blast! On the walk back down Isaiah fell asleep for most of the hike. He did awesome! Leah was a super trooper and did a 2 mile hike at just 5 years old. Sophie impressed me with how much she could hike.

Overall, we're getting ready for Yosemite and I can't wait for the adventure!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Buy Her Flowers

Starting early on in our relationship I began buying flowers. Its not because I like to buy flowers, but because of what flowers do to her face. When she gets them, she lights up. They always seem to make her smile. When my wife gets flowers it does something for her.

When we were dating there was one occasion that I bought my flowers that still makes me laugh. I was heading down to visit her for a date. I thought, "I'll stop and grab flowers real quick." There was a little stand I could park down the street and grab flowers quickly. I pulled into the spot and totally forgot to feed the meter. I walked down the street and bought some beautiful flowers. As I was walking back to my car I saw the meter maid pulling away. That afternoon the flowers cost me almost $40 instead of the normal $10.

I like to buy flowers for my wife:
- When she needs extra joy in her life
- To show her how much I love her
- When parenting is tough
- I'm more busy at work than normal 
- When its raining outside
- To see a big smile on her face

What I've learned about buying flowers is to not use them as a "make up" tool. I like to buy my wife flowers as something special, a special token of joy in her life. 

For my wife, Orange is always the best color for a flower. Knowing her favorite color is orange helps me to always make the right choice (Yes, even on Valentines Day). 

If you've forgotten to buy your wife flowers in a while, today is a great day to start! 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Leah Turned 6!

March 11 2010 @ 7:06am we were blessed with our little Leah. I've actually called her little Leah most of her life, there are times I call her "little face" because when she was born she was the smallest in the Benson family.

Fast-forward six years and we're celebrating her life again! On Friday Leah went to school. After school I brought her home her favorite flower, multi-colored rose. When her sister was done with school we loaded up the car and went to see Zootopia. I had such a great time with my little girl. I love that she still sits on my lap in the movie!

Afterwards we came home for dinner and cake. Just singing her happy birthday was a joy! She is so much fun to be around. Love you Leah!

Friday, March 04, 2016

Cool New Opportunity

A few months ago I had coffee with a super creative guy. My friend Brain Berry introduced me to Mark Campbell. Mark lives across the Bay from me and is leading at a super cool church called Neighborhood Church in Castro Valley. At this first coffee with Mark we talked about Men's Ministry, life, a little of our history and good movies.

After our first connection Mark invited me to speak at their Men's Ministry on a Wednesday night. They do something super cool called Road Crew dinners. The night officially starts at 6:30pm but in my mind the connection time started much earlier. When I rolled in around 4pm there was already a few guys grilling up some killer Mexican dinner. Other guys were making sure the room was ready. There was bantering, smiles, laughter and high-fives.

As the sun began to set the men started rolling in. I always think that food attracts people; especially men. Mark is helping to reach the most difficult population in a church, the men.
Men don't seem to naturally attend a church service.
Men actually seem to think that church is lame.
Some men will never enter a church.

On Wednesday night there was a room full of men. The age range was all over the place. There were 14 year olds and 75 year olds there. There were guys who just graduated from college and men who have been married for 30 years. It was a super cool experience to be a part of. I felt privileged to be invited to share with these guys what God is stirring in my heart and life right now.

As I've thought about my time there, I have a few things that stick out to me:
* Guys need a fun environment to connect with other guys
* Food attracts and keeps men coming
* Relationships keep guys connected more than food
* Good leadership knows these facts
* Good looking material makes a difference
* People don't care what you know until they know that you care
* Guys need other guys in their life to grow strong in the Lord