As I start this new school year, my twelfth since beginning to work with students full time 12 years ago, I have a few reflections on things I’ve noticed over the years. Maybe you’ll find them funny, you will relate or you will disagree. Please comment & let me know what you think! Half a dozen going into a dozen.
1. The only thing I know about technology is that it will be different by the time I figure it out. I mean, I didn’t have a cell phone when I began. And I remember taking 90 minutes to call 30 kids – they didn’t have email & their parents certainly didn’t either. This little newsletter I’m composing – yeah, it took me days and I literally cut and paste to put it together! Thankfully we have a God who is the same yesterday, today & forever (Hebrews 13:8).
2. Relationships are still the key to life. I notice this first and foremost with my own kids. For one it’s time, another it’s words & the other one touch. They each have specific ways that I can target to build into them a healthy relationship. Those 5 minute discourse lectures they must endure at times speak far less than the time building legos, huge encouraging words or “snuggle time.” It’s the same with students at school and church – they respond to a relationship far greater than some great talk or game I “put on.” Ministry must be about relationships – folks’ with me and them with God (John 15).
3. Parents are more scared then the students. Maybe it’s because I can relate to this as a parent of a growing . . .
(continued from parent eNewsletter here)
. . . 7 year old boy, I feel like my head is on a swivel looking at things he sees and things that I get concerned might influence him. And then I think of when I was a kid & I remember what I did. I remember my 3rd or 4th year of ministry when a parent told me that they couldn’t tell their teen not to smoke pot because they did when they were younger. Really? Now we can all agree that’s ludicrous but often times I do things like that on a small scale and don’t follow the commands of Deuteronomy 6:1-10 to talk about God’s commands (even if I’m not perfect at following them). Be the parent. And not the parent you think your kid needs but the parent God wants you to be.
4. Prayer is the key to success. When I pray I’m focused on what matters and I truly lay my agenda and perspective at the throne of Jesus. Somehow in prayer I get God’s perspective and I sense I care more and better than I ever can. And I’m led to action in areas that REALLY matter instead of what I think does. And success? Yeah, it’s definition is simply obedience. Success to me is obeying God in each moment and second of the day. Call it childlike, but the reality is that I’m not the measurer of success & it can’t be fully measured until we all meet The Measurer face to face.
5. Failure is a good thing. The best lessons I’ve learned from my biggest mistakes. I never want to make mistakes (Mt. 5:48 – be perfect as our heavenly father is), but God is sanctifying me through my responses (even if those are the mistakes and sins I make).
6. I need help. Medically, spiritually, emotionally, physically, in parenting, in ministry, in marriage and in all else. God has gifted me, but I’m not meant to do this thing called life by myself. I just wasn’t designed that way. Neither were you. None of us were! My son is memorizing passages from 1 Corinthians 12 for school this year and I’m finding it to be so true of this.