Saturday, May 09, 2009

Jasper Speaks:

This weekend our group attended FM419. This is the student version of The Billy Graham Christian Life and Witness Course. The Afters led worship. Three guys led us in the Bible study time. It taught us about sharing our faith and I think it was a great substitute for Dare 2 Share and they weren't nearly as annoying about us coming.

I wish we would have taken a larger group. We had 13 students. A small turnout since we run between 45-60 on Wednesday nights. But I do believe, as always, God had whom He wanted there. That included me.

I have been a Youth Pastor for nineteen years now. You get a little jaded about events like this. I am finding out more and more that I feel even a little awkward being the "old guy" in the place. Still, I love students and they at least pretend to love me. I have no ideas of wondering off into another area of service anytime soon. It is just as I get older I feel a little more disconnected from things. But it amazes me that God still speaks to me at times like this. And this weekend he did.

Most of the time I was going through the motions. I had been through the adult version of this course in 1999 when Billy Graham came to St. Louis. So, the information wasn't new to me. I enjoyed the worship. Most of the time that is the part of events like this that I like the best anymore.

But God spoke to me at the final worship set in a real way tonight. I have been so worried and burdened by the junk going on in our group lately. It has hurt my heart and it has worried me. I use the word worry because concern would be a copout. I really feel like I have crossed the line into ungodly territory in worry. I haven't let go of these situations. I have let them burden me way beyond how I should.

So, today, we were singing GOD OF THIS CITY (which has already been chosen as the theme for our mission trip) and as I belted out the line, "greater things are yet to come and greater things are still to be done in this city", I felt the spirit wash over me in a way I haven't in quite awhile. I turned and saw one of our sophomore guys really worshiping. He was singing out and had his hands raised and eyes closed singing to the Lord. Maybe that doesn't sound so impressive but this is a kid who was a 7th grader when I got here. He has nipped at the heels of the "cool kids" in the group since he got here. He has always been a kid who I wasn't real sure where he stood with God. Was he someone who got it or was he living this life for his parents.

Over the past six weeks or so I have seen such a different side of this kid. He is very much as close to the center of the issues in our group as anyone could be without being directly involved. He has reached out for my guidance twice in this time. During our conversations I have seen a whole new side to him. It as if a light came on and he woke up one morning and said, "This is my faith and I really do believe these things. I need to live them out". He has taken some major stands when he has felt convicted. He has confronted sin and shown grace beyond his age. He has impressed me.

He has never been one to sing. Never. Generally he stands with his arms crossed and is motionless during worship in song. He always strikes the "guy pose". I am sure many of you know exactly what I mean. But today was different. He was positively glowing with the love of God and singing his heart out. We talked a lot about adversity creating Christian character this weekend. I am sure that is what has happened to him.

As I watched him, my throat tightened and my eyes got moist. I sang those lines from the song even louder as I felt the Spirit say, "the things going on right now are not as bad as you think. I am still in control. I still love you. The attacks of the enemy will come but this round is because he is scared beyond belief at the greater things that are still to be done. Just like that boy over there has had to take awhile to discover my plan, other students will come in time. Greater things are still to be done in my ministry that I have entrusted to you".

Suddenly, things felt right. A weight was lifted. I felt the love of my savior holding me and saying, "It's alright, son. I have everything under control". I worshiped from there with reckless abandon. How great is our God.

I know we are far from out of the woods in the areas where there are issues in our group right now. Still, today, God gave me a reminder that He has it all under control. My job is to be faithful to His leading and His Word. He will take care of the rest. I think that is a pretty awesome message to hear.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Jasper Speaks:

Something light for your Friday:


My daughter and I went through the McDonald's
take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so
I also handed her a quarter..
She said, 'you gave me too much money.' I said,
'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.'
She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my
request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said 'We're
sorry but they could not do that kind of thing.'
The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.
Do not confuse the clerks at MickeyD's.


We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us
that one of our problems was that we did not have a
'large' enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said
that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2
horsepower. He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4
horsepower.' I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4 and he said,
'NO, it's not. Four is larger than two..'

We haven't used Sears repair since..


I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new
neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the

removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: 'Too many
deer are being hit by cars out here!
I don't think this is a good place for them to cross"
From Kingman , KS


My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered
a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal
lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.

From Kansas City


I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an
airport employee asked,
'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?'

To which I replied, 'If it was without my
knowledge, how would I know?'
He smiled knowingly and nodded,

'That's why we ask.'
Happened in Birmingham , Ala.


The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to
cross the street.
I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine. She
asked if I knew what the buzzer was for.
I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red.
Appalled, she responded,

'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'

She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS


When my husband and I arrived at an automobile
dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked
in it.
We went to the service department and found a mechanic working
feverishly to unlock the drivers side door. As I watched from the
passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered
that it was unlocked. 'Hey,' I announced to the technician, 'its open!'
His reply, 'I know. I already got that side.'

This was at the Ford dealership in Canton , Mississippi


They walk among us... and the scary part is
that they VOTE and they REPRODUCE

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Jasper Speaks:

Sin complicates everything. That was a favorite quote of my first senior pastor in Maine. It is so very true. My heart is heavy for several students who are making some really bad choices right now. I want to be there for them but they are turning their back on what they know to be true and I am finding only my prayers will be accepted. It is one of those days in student ministry when your soul aches for the teens of our times.

I have been a Youth Pastor for 19 1/2 years. All of my adult life. The challenges facing students today are greater than they have ever been in all of those years. The media is lying to them daily. Perhaps even worse, the media is lying to their friends who are convincing them of the lies as well. Christian teens used to act a different way. Today they are pulled in so many directions. It is frightening to me where they, and our world, will wind up.

Things that students are proud to declare today, were the things you didn't talk about even ten years ago. I see a slippery slide coming in students' lives. It breaks my heart. Compromise is fine. Living in a gray area is not a problem. Dabble in this and dunk yourself in that, it's okay. Christian kids have always worn their "church masks" but now, it seems so many of the kids you think are getting it are wearing the biggest masks of all.

I am discouraged. I know God is moving and thus Satan will attack. I know that Satan is the great deceiver and that includes deceiving me. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will convict, and heal these kids. I pray that He will use me to get them there.
Jasper Speaks:

Oh my Wordle:
Wordle: Jasper Speaks

Monday, May 04, 2009

Jasper Speaks:

We are back from our cruise. I am wicked tired. Pics will be forthcoming.