Friday, April 11, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

A couple of reviews:

What Matters Most when NO is better than YES
What Matters Most when NO is better than YES by Doug Fields

It has been a few weeks since I finished this one. I love DF and have enjoyed anything I have ever read that he wrote. This very short read took me awhile to get through. It think part of the reason is that I haven't had the time but also, it deals with saying no in ministry and for so long ministry has been a "hobby" more than a "job". Still, I finished one day and the next my pastor asked me to speak at a deacon's meeting the one night the following week that I didn't have to be out of the house. It gave me the courage to say no without guilt and to say why. I think it was a good reminder as to what is most important. I want my family to know that they are my #1 priority. Working these two jobs the last 8 months hasn't necessarily displayed this. I think Doug has some great insight into why we need to walk away from the guilt and just say no.

Partnering With Parents in Youth Ministry
Partnering With Parents in Youth Ministry by Jim Burns and Mike Devries

I really flew through this book. I thought it gave some great perspective on how to implement a more family centered ministry. I found that the why section was challenging to me as a pastor. I have felt the pull to be a more parent concerned Youth Pastor for awhile now and God confirmed I got so much out of the building a strategy chapter and the obstacles chapter. Also, I think their descriptions of the generations and their characteristics was spot on! I wold highly recommend this book to anyone who is the vision caster in their student ministry. It is challenging and thought provoking.

And now the house update ...

Closing went REALLY well and I am now a home owner (okay the bank is letting me live in the house that I guess they technically own). VERY frightening! I had a lot of frustration with getting paint stuff and really got very angry at the Maryland Heights Post Office because they are pretty much useless. They are calling for snow and rain tomorrow. GREAT! It is supposed to be very cold as well. Fun.

I really do like the house. Kendra stayed there last night until about 9:00 painting the basement family room. She didn't like the first color enough to paint the whole room that way, so she bought an accent color after I left that I haven't seen but she is pleased with. In the end, I am a dude, I don't care what color it is. I am happy if she is happy.

We will go back this afternoon after work and try to finish the painting tonight and clean. We still have much packing to do at the condo. It is a bit stressful but knowing on Sunday I will be SO CLOSE to church helps. It makes me smile! It should scare the masses that I am a homeowner since I know NOTHING about home maintenance. We'll see.

God has really blessed us!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

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Jasper Speaks:

So, I have been posting a lot on a site for the alumni of my high school (my 20 year reunion is coming up this summer --- YIKES I am old!) It has been interesting to reconnect with some people and see where we have all been and where we are going. There are a lot of topics, mostly pretty trivial, like "complete the 80's song lyric" or "what ever happened to this person". We even have one thread devoted to going off on one another in a comical way. Today when I logged on I found this new thread had been started: Name one thing, you would have done differently in high school? As I read over my classmate's comments, it got me thinking what my answer would be. So I started writing.

Here was my reply:

I would have applied myself more. I was way smarter than my GPA says. I was shocked,when I applied for my Teaching Certificate, to see that I had more Cs than I remembered in High School English. Obviously I could have done better since I became an English teacher! I just never did homework. Seriously for four years I just listened in class and did really well on tests. I had a decent GPA but I am sure I could have done really well (like I did in college) if I had just tried harder.

Also, I wish I would have been stronger in my faith as a Christian. I really blew it in that area. My relationship with Christ completely defines who I am. That relationship is the purpose of my life. In Christ I have found so much peace and hope. I understand the purpose of my life. I never really shared that with anyone in High School because I wanted to fit in. I was a young Christian in those days and wanted to be accepted so I didn't live the life very well at all. I really regret that I didn't take the opportunity to make a spiritual impact on my friends.

Maybe that is why I am so passionate about student ministry today. I never lived my faith out in front of you guys and I regret that. I spend my life as a Youth Pastor now trying to help teens embrace their faith and share it with their world. Nothing makes me more proud than to hear one of the kids in my student ministry tell about sharing the hope of Christ with a friend. I love to invest in the lives of young people and I think I am a Youth Pastor today, partly because God knows the regrets I have about not affecting high school students for Him when I was a kid, so He has given me the INCREDIBLE opportunity to affect so many more high schoolers for Him as I give my years of life in service to the cause of Christ.

So, regrets, sure I have them. Still, I rest assured in two verses from God's Word that help me look beyond the past and forward into what is to come:

"For all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose". Romans 8:28

"'For I know the plans I have for you,'" declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

Talked to my dad for a minute this morning. It is one of his bad days. I just wish I could go and give him a hug but it is my stupid busy Wednesday and all I can do is pray for him and tell him I love him. I am trying to figure out Twitter. I think I like it. Man, all the gadgets and stuff we need to survive now!

Forgot my lunch at home. I guess I could use some meal missing. We have the final walk through of the house today. Kind of intimidating, buying a house is. Suddenly Yoda am I?

I wish I could fast forward the teacher countdown. I have lasted three years, so 55 days or so shouldn't be that big of a deal. I so DON'T care! Oh well! Here I endure.

Having some extended family issues. I don't want to go into detail (partly because there SO is not enough space) but would appreciate your prayers.


This still inspires me ...