Monthly Archives: September 2012

The dilemma

These past few weeks have been CRAZY!  I’m still getting back in to the groove of my weekly work schedule.  For anyone who is involved in ministry vocationally, you understand that beginning of the year is always BANANAS.

We are in the flow of things with K-Life and the past few weeks have consisted of interviewing college students to be potential leaders, organizing the year, placing new leaders, building training for these leaders, and starting up our entire ministry.  Last week, I went Monday-Friday 9am-4pm just doing interviews.  Thursday after interviews I ran to Books-a-million (my safe haven to hide and regroup) to prepare my talk for club that was going down in 3 hours(stop judging me).  Normally, I prepare the week before, but like I said earlier……

BANANAS.

We then ran club for junior high.  What a blast!  It was our first junior high specific club of the year.  It was so refreshing and needed to be standing in front of them and presenting them with the Gospel.  It’s dumb that this is my job…

#getbuckets

After club, because we have been moving at a million miles per hour, our staff spent some time regrouping and checking in with each other.  It was so needed, and so good, but so heavy.  We are both learning that our job is HUGE.  Right now currently within our ministry between our 125 college students and 280 kids, so much is going on!  Not only logistically, but in the lives of the people we are involved with…

We have people battling depression.  There are girls fallen captive to the lie that their physical reflection in the mirror isn’t good enough.  There are dudes that are convinced that their status here and now is better than the gift of Jesus himself.  There are families that abuse each other, and kids that are told every day by their parents that they have to “be better” at something.  And our jobs is to “feed this flock”?

Cue the wave of burden, inadequacy and worry.  Everything in my being and fiber automatically jumps to, “how will I fix this?”  Last night I was defeated.

It’s so easy to stop there…Luckily, I got to battle with Jesus over this.  He won, shocker!

For so long, I have gotten angry, and frustrated at the situations of men.  I would expect something more from everyone.  I didn’t get why these girls are so blind to the pain they are putting themselves through.  And why the heck were these guys so self-centered in their lifestyle?  Did they just not WANT to be okay?

Thanks to the conviction of the Holy Spirit through the Word, I’ve realized something…this all make sense.  Why do I expect we can fix ourselves?  This is the dilemma of the Gospel: “they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the images made to look like mortal men…God gave them over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done.”- Romans 1

These are all just the symptoms of the state of our sickness: Sin.  We can’t fix it.  I, Garrett, will never be able to fix others bent to continue to “do what ought not to be done.”

Tonight, I sit up and am thankful.  I am thankful that the hero of our story didn’t leave us high and dry in the desert.  The moral of the story here isn’t “just be better!”  Because if we’ve learned one thing it’s that we can’t on our own.  The two greatest words just play over and over again in my head:

But God…

“…but God meant it as good, to save many people alive.” Genesis 50:20

But the Lord God turned the curse into blessing.” Deuteronomy 23:5

“and they condemn the innocent..But the Lord is my defense; and my God is the rock of my refuge.” Psalm 94:21-22

“No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side has made him known.” John 1:18

But God, demonstrated his own love for us.  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Romans 6:23

“For which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.  But God’s word is not chained.” 2 Timothy 2:9

I always can come back to that.  The state of people is broken, and marred, and there will never not be hurt on this side of Glory.   But I do know one thing: there is a solution.  There always has been.  And it’s the only solution.  The solution is found in the hands of a not just a brave man.  Not just a martyr.  Not just a bold prophet…. No but God himself.

So that’s why I can’t help but weekly proclaim the Gospel while I preach, and at small group, and during discipleship.  It’s the only solution.  But it wont “fix” the problem of sin, but it will continue to reconcile habitual sinners to the one thing that will claim them as His own: God.  Because here’s the deal, until I stop breathing I’ll still carry my old self; I can’t kick it.  It’s the badge I wear while I’m here.  But Praise GOD because I can diminish it now.  From here on out, I’ll fight for two things:

1. Image— I will fight to image the Creator, because that is why I’m here. “All things were created by him and FOR him.” Colossians 1:15

2. Identity–I will continue to fight that my identity lies in the imputed righteousness that was given to me freely through Calvary.  And I will fight to flee the identity I left in Tijuana, Mexico nine years ago after I chose Jesus.

It comes down to one question for believers: Do you believe that Jesus is better than that?  I want desperately to always answer that Yes.

He must increase, and I must decrease.

 

 

 

Numbers can lie…

Baseball is a game of failure.  If you are a sports fan, then you know this realization.  That’s why people who even love sports hate baseball.

If someone is up to bat 20 times, and they get a hit 8 of those times, they are playing at a level that is considered not only great but also historical.  That’s pretty ridiculous.

My first test of my college career was a little rough.  I got a 28/100.  Yes, that’s not a typo, 28%.  In baseball terms, that’s batting .280.  If I batted .280 in the MLB I’d be starting on some teams.  Too bad that’s now how it works with grading…

This year is my third year doing K-Life full-time.  It’s been incredible, brutal on my heart, but incredible.  Here is what I mean by that:

I have seen four groups of seniors in high school graduate and head off to college since I’ve been involved.  I have been the small group leader and spiritual mentor for 3 of these groups.  I have fallen in love with this year in a kid’s life.  I believe it’s crucial, and possibly one of the most important years in someone’s life—I am dead serious.

Senior year is the last time a kid has until he moves to set up the trajectory for possibly the rest of his/her life.  The reality is both scary and realistic.  The beliefs shaped this year truly do set you up for the long haul.  I’ve seen it first hand.

Like I said, 3 different small groups, the exact number to dudes that I’ve led is 23.  Now I want to talk about them as numbers just to paint a picture so you can see why I said my job at times is brutal on my heart:

Of the 23 that I have been around, the Gospel has radically changed 5 of them.  3 of those 5 were saved at K-Life.  That’s a 21% “success rate” to put it in numbers form.

That’s not even good by baseballs standards.

Of the other 18, I am still in communication with 2 of them.  Let me preface that by communication I mean I have talked to briefly and casually over the past three years.  The other 16, I literally have no idea where they stand, what they believe, and how they are.

5-23?  Really… That’s it Garrett.  That messes with me.

Everything in my flesh beats me up about this!  It would be so easy to stop there and close the book and say, “you’ve failed.”  And at times, I end days like that.

Then I hear what Jesus said to Peter on the water, “Where is your faith? Do you trust me?”

Praise God that he is not a God of numbers, or of statistics, and that His plan from the beginning to reconcile creation was so personal!  From the beginning he knew what he was doing, why have I made myself the hero?  I’m just in the credits at the end of this movie.  Jesus is the hero.

I continually put too much emphasis and expectations on myself.  If I continue to look through the lens of wins and loses, and not that Jesus already won, I will be crushed by lies.  My job is to present a new paradigm for these guys, the rest isn’t up to me!

Weight lifted!  Now I got direction of how to keep walking!

So because of the lens of the Holy Spirit, this is how I see Jesus’ ministry through me these past three year:

I have been chosen and given the incredible gift and job to present the good news of the Story of the Gospel to students.  And I will strive to do it faithfully and in accordance to the Scriptures.  Over the past 6 years of doing this in Waco, I have personally been a vessel to watch the Holy Spirit turn 5 dudes from death to life.  Jesus’ good news has penetrated, re-worked, and shifted the paradigm of 3 of these guys this past YEAR!  And I got to watch it happen.

Light always overcomes darkness.

Luckily, Jesus was perfect in his plan and knew that if it were up to me, I’d mess it up.  So I am clinging to his plan is perfect that he is reconciling everything back to Him, and I get to be apart of it.  I’ll take whatever glimpse of His glory I can get.

Let’s end with numbers shall we:

Jesus labored with 12.  He left it in the hands of 11(+1 Spirit of God, talk about unfair advantage).  Within weeks, there were over 3,000 that the Holy Spirit awoke to the Gospel.  And “praising God and enjoying the favor of all people the Lord added to their numbers daily those who were saved.”- Acts 2:47.

He’s sovereign. He has a plan.  And he’s perfect.  An above all else, He is good!  So I can’t worry about what if’s and uncertainty… because He is sure—So I will be find rest in that.