Friday, December 12, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

So I FINALLY finished Washed By Blood By Brian"Head" Welch. It was a good book over all. It was a simple read (which is why I am ashamed that it took me two months to get through the 200 pages). Throughout the book Welch is candid and up front about his struggles and what led him to Christ. It is an interesting story of God bringing an "impossible" person into the Kingdom. It was interesting to read about the people and situations that brought Welch to a realization that he needed a savior. Discussing people from his childhood right through his years in Korn, Welch reminds us how God brings people into our lives for His purpose.

I found it refreshing that Welch steered clear of going into too much detail about life on the road with Korn. His restraint was perfect. We got the facts without all the details. His honesty about continued struggles was also well articulated.

I would have a hard time giving the book to a young Christian student because of the turn it takes in the latter chapters. It is in these chapters when Welch discovers "Pentecostals" and so some of the theology would raise questions that I am not sure a young Christian could tackle. I would not be hesitant to open up those discussions but I would want to be prepared for questions particularly about tongues and visions as a result of their reading the book.

In the end the book is a chronicle of redemption. It is about trying to fill the God shaped hole in our hearts with everything but Him and how the emptiness remains. It is about how a loving God can change anyone. It is an easy read and one of encouragement (*** out of *****).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

On the wall on my office is a poster from Uth Stuph that has the many faces of Youth Ministry. It is a guy who makes all these different faces and underneath the pictures are sayings that correlate with the looks and have to do with my line of work. It is pretty funny. There is one that says "Sure I cleaned out and refilled the van" and one that says, "I think it was the Children's Pastor". They all crack me up.

Tonight the one I am pondering is, "Tables and chairs, how is THAT Youth Ministry?". I am tired of the Youth Minsitry in churches being the place where everyone assumes all the grunt work comes from. It isn;t that I think that we shouldn't be minsitering in our congregation. I understand that ours is a ministry of the young and healthy. We should be available to meet needs of our fellow church members. But why is it that when leaf raking, babysitting, carrying things and other storts of manual labor come up we are usually the ONLY option?

I think I am having a particulary hard time with this because tomorrow we are doing an event I really don't want to do. It is one I feel like we were somewhat backed into doing. Sure we will make a minnimal amount of money but the time and effort don't equal the outcome. Also, when these events happen (at least the ones like we will do tomorrow night) we have a VERY small turnout of our adult staff. I am not happy about tomorrow. I hope this will be the last time we do this particular kind of event --- at least for a really long time.

So there is my gripe. I guess that I will just suck it up. Grrr... I can always pray for an attitude adjustment. UG!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

I cannot believe that this year is almost over. Tonight was our last Reality Check of the year. Next week is our Christmas Party. It has been a good year. I think the kids have really been growing. We have seen kids saved. In this year I have gone from being a part-time interim Youth Pastor to a full-time Youth Pastor again. I have loved being back in the full-time game. I love affecting lives for Jesus. I love the flexible schedule. I love that Kendra has been able to stay at home. God has been so great to us.

I miss my mom today. My family is having struggles. She would not approve. I miss hearing her voice. I miss talking to her. I wish I could just have another conversation with her. I mean I know all the right answers. She is in Heaven. She is without pain. We will be together again. Still, I have an ache inside that is full of missing her. I cannot believe it has been nearly eleven months since she passed away.

I am not trying to be a downer here. Life is good. I have a beautiful wife. I have the greatest kid in the world. I have a dad who loves Jesus and me. I have a sister who is my best friend. I have another sister who is so tenderhearted it almost hurts. I have nieces and nephews who are funny and good to be around. I have many, many friends. God is so good to me.

I am rejoicing that God has a plan. Trusting in the plan. I am ready to shout about Christmas as I am full of excitement, treasuring all that He has done for me in my heart, ready to tell others and ready to live the call.

So, yes, I am a bit manic depressive these days. But I know God is good and I have joy in that.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

From journalling through Breathe: Devotions for the Youth Workers Soul

Devotion Day #1:

Scripture: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

What is a creative dream you have but don't think is possible?

I have several. I would love to write a great book of Christian fiction. I would love to write and act in a major motion picture. I would love to write, act and sing in a moving musical.

Where, in your life and your ministry, does it excite you to be creative?

Almost everywhere. I learned when I had drone jobs that the thing I missed most was creating. I love putting together events in our ministry. I love to design graphics for work and home. I love to think and write about creative things.

Where, in your life and your ministry, is it challenging to be creative?

Also in a lot of places. If I am tired, I don't create all that well. I can have a difficult time creating things in my life when I am easily distracted. Oddly enough, sometimes it is harder to be creative if I have a longer amount of time to do it. I guess that is all from my lack of discipline.
Jasper Speaks:

Consider yourself tagged.

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 16 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.

1. I am ABSOLUTELY nothing without Jesus. Nothing.

2. I really wish my life were a musical.

3. My wife and kid are the most important people in my life ... I fear something happening to them.

4. I like chicken livers. Fried. MMMMMM.

5. I have a man crush on Doug Fields and even I think it's kinda creepy

6. I am a pretty insecure guy, I crave validation and that stinks.

7. I miss my mom. Everyday, A lot. Really, a lot.

8. I love teenagers. Working with them makes me feel right.

9. I want to be skinny or muscular or both ... if that is possible.

10. I want to write a book and get it published before I die.

11. Perhaps one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard is "Thank you daddy!"

12. Kendra is so much more than I deserve in a wife. I REALLY married up,

13. I think Thanksgiving without turkey is not Thanksgiving at all.

14. I wish I was a good singer. I envy people that can sing. I like to think I can in my head but in my heart I know I can't.

15. I can't narrow down a favorite movie. I kind of like chick flicks and I hate to admit it. I can quote Steel Magnolias from beginning to end with the sound off but I think Rat Race is the funniest movie ever made.

16. A Seth Green movie changed my life. Seriously.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Jasper Speaks:

I can't believe it has been almost a month since I updated! WOW! It has been busy. We had a marginal good time in Nashville for NYWC. It jsut is pretty much the same every year and I think I may be getting over it. I am searching for a new conference for next year so if you know of one let me know.

Thanksgiving was good and mostly drama free which is also good. We went to my sister Darla's on Thanksgiving day and then traveled to Podunk to be with Kendra's family on Friday and stayed through Sunday.

We have started Christmas shopping. With Kendra staying at home, we are cutting corners a lot. I am so busy preparing for Christmas and post Christmas student events. Yikes! The year has flown by!

My absolute favorite Christmas flick is A Charlie Brown Christmas. Every year I look forward to watching it. It is such a simple story. A boy who feels like no one likes him is on a quest to remind people that Christmas is important. Along the way he is overwhelmed by the commercialization of the holiday and in his frustrations he shouts, “Doesn’t anyone know what Christmas is all about?!?”. His best friend Linus steps out onto the stage and quotes from Luke 2:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lordcame upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Linus walks off stage and says, “That’s what Christmas is all about!” As I sat watching the cartoon this year, I could hear my mother’s voice in my head shout, “Praise the Lord”. She was impressed every year that the simple, profound, life changing Christmas story was shared in homes across America through this beautiful children’s Christmas program. I always loved A Charlie Brown Christmas but as I have gotten older I have learned to appreciate it more. It is a reminder in a crazy season that the heart of Christmas is still the story of God becoming man. God became one of us so that He might save us. The cradle in the stable is overshadowed by the cross on the hill. The baby, sweet and mild, would one day die for me. He would lay down his life for me, even though I didn’t deserve it. He took the fall and thought of me. The entire act of salvation could no be without Christmas. I love that our media has not yet find a way to silence Linus’ words of truth from God’s love story to us. I hope you take some time and think about how important Christmas is this season.