Not Remembering Is Better Than Forgetting

string finger

“It seems the older I get the harder it is to remember.”  This would be an unusual statement, except it comes from my 24 year old brother.  Even worse was my response to him, “just wait until you get to thirty!”  It is true though, the older you get the harder it is to remember and the more we tend to forget.  I have an untested theory on this, kinda like how it seems that days get shorter and shorter and time flies by as you get older, its all has to do with proportions.  A 5 year old has lived 1825 days, where as a 30 year old has lived 10,680 days and a 75 year old has lived 27,375 days, its all about the ratio.  A day in the life of a 5 year old is still a big deal, they have only had 1825 of them, by the time you’re 30 its just another day among 10,000ish, and when your are 75 another day is, “well it’s… wait, what’s today?”.  Life is gets increasingly more chaotic as you grow older.  You have to deal with more and more and ever increasingly have to decide what you are going to deal with at all.  We find if easier to forget things because there just is too much going on to deal with everything so we tend to forget.   One of my missional community leaders has a 95 year old, godly mother-in-law.  His favorite saying about her is, “she has forgotten more about scripture than I will ever know.”

But does God forget?  Can God forget?

In a bible study I wrote for our missional communities, I listed some scripture and asked the question, “What does God do with our sin?”  In a footnote to my leaders I said, “please resist saying that God forgets our sin.”  One of my leaders wrote me an email asking me to explain why we don’t say God forget our sin.  Here is the short answer.

Sin is Not Lost in the Chaos

With all that we have going on we can get lost and forget.  Think about all the tools we have to remind ourselves of what we have going on.  Some people keep note cards in their pockets, calendars, post-it notes, even our phones tell us when something is going on or reminds us to pick up something from the grocery store.  If God is omniscience, knowing all things, He cannot forget.  God knows the past, present, and future.  It would be a mistake to say He forgets.

There isn’t so much going on that God has to try keep up with everything and some of it just gets lost in the chaos.

Let me let you in on a little secret every pastor wants to tell his congregation.  Please, please, pretty please, if you have something important to tell me, don’t tell me before service, I have so much going on in my head before service I just can’t remember what you tell me.  And don’t tell me as you are leaving, cause everyone else is going to tell me something, it will get lost in the chaos.  If this were the case for God, our prayers would be foolish.

Sin is Important to God

I admit, it is so hard to keep up with everything people tell me, especially if it isn’t important to me.  Cars have never really been my thing.  I really just don’t care that that 703XWE has a 304 in it and can do zero to a hundred and infinity in 3.459 seconds.  First, I have no idea what any of that means.  Second, where can you go a hundred and infinity?  If you tell me something about a car other than it has gas and its ready to go, I will forget it, because it doesn’t matter to me.  However, there are things in my life that I desperately want to know.

Our sin killed His Son Jesus, God isn’t going to forget that.

Sin matters to God, it’s important.  Too often we are told to “forgive and forget.”  There are things that are done to people that are so terrible they will never forget (murder, rape, divorce, betrayal…), however they can forgive.  Our sin killed God’s son, He isn’t going to forget that, but He does forgive and separates the penalty of sin from us.

God Has Dealt with Our Sin

We do all sorts of things to remind us of things going on in our life so we don’t forget, and we still forget.  We even forget the good, fun moments in our lives.  We have all been sharing stories when someones says, “remember when…?” and we answer, “Oh my!  I completely forgot about that.  We have to be reminded of what we forget.  If God can forget our sins, how about my next sin would remind him of all my other sins.  Or if God forgets sins, He has to be very forgetful God.  No, instead of forgetting our sins, God deals with our sin.

Psalm 103:12  as far as the east is from the west,  so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Micah 7:19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Isaiah 38:17 Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish.  In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.

Jeremiah 31:34  No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord.  “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.

What does God do with our sins

  • God removes them from us and separates us from our sin in 2 different directions so that we are never associated with them again

  • God ties them to concrete blocks and throws them into the sea, so our sins are dead and no longer attached to us

  • God puts our sins behind His back, He puts Himself between our sin and us

  • God remembers our sin no more, He doesn’t forget them, he just doesn’t bring them back up to be held against us

Our God does not forget our sins.  He has dealt with our sin with Jesus’ work on the Cross.  Let this be reassuring to you and embolden your faith in Christ.  If God just forgot our sin it only makes sense that God could be reminded of our sin.  But God chose to deal with our sin and separate its consequences from us.  Think about the movie lines,  “To get to him, you have to go through me!” or “Over my dead body!”  This is exactly what Christ has done with our sin and the consequence of death.  God is saying, death, if you want them, if you want those that belong to me, you will have to go through me.  Jesus looked death right in the face and said, over my dead body.

God not remembering our sin is way better than a forgetful god.

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

3 Keys That Won’t Make Your Camp…But, Sure Can Break Your Camp

Made Camp 2014

I have spent half my life in ministry now and most of that spent pouring into student ministry.  Though my current path is looking more and more at the adult world, I still have great opportunities to be in the youth world.  During camp and event seasons, I am usually pretty busy speaking and helping others dream, plan and execute their own camps and events.  Recently, I have the chance to help a youth pastor with his first camp of his own.  As walking through this experience with him I was reminded of a few things that won’t make your camp the best thing since slice bread and selfies, but however if they are bad…. man-o-man will they destroy your camp and become the driving force behind complaint after complain and eventually mutiny from the students.  You always want to create memories for students, however, you want those memories to be good.  What you don’t want is students going back and being negative about camp.  Students will talk about bad things more often and longer than they do good things.  It’s not just students, look at our daily news; the majority of news reported is bad news.  Certain things as leaders we are in control of and will delegate because they are

Here are my top 3 keys that won’t make your camp, but sure can break your camp.

1.  Food

School cafeteria food brings back a lot of memories for a lot of people.  However, most of those memories aren’t great.  Remember square pizza and corn?  Not sure how those ever go with each other, but I do remember that pizza wasn’t the really even close to good and being soggy from corn juice didn’t help its cause.  Or how about that “magic meat”, we still aren’t sure if that was suppose to be Salisbury steak, perhaps last weeks meatloaf covered in gravy or if they really didn’t know what it was but they knew it was cheap.  But, I also remember chicken nugget day or little smokie day both served with mac-n-cheese and a roll… So Good!  School lunch never made my day, but on those days it was bad, it really made my day bad.  I was hungry and when I am hungry, I am grumpy and when I am grumpy, my day is bad.

When students are hungry they are grumpy and when they are grumpy, its just a no fun, bad day.

Camp food is so important.  As leaders it is something that the majority of us should delegate, but delegation doesn’t mean forget about it.  we have to be clear on what we expect.  You need to expect good food, not just food.  There is a huge difference in having cheap, cardboard, no taste food and having food that people talk about.  You and your cook must understand expectations are low about camp food to begin with, so to surpass expectations is not that big of an accomplishment, but it is a must.  Feeding students a good meal is a must.  It keeps moral up, it it keeps energy up and most importantly it keep their attention off their bellies and on Jesus.  A good decent meal doesn’t mean that they will go home and talk about how good the food was, but it does mean they won’t go home and talk about how horrible the it was.

Quick rule of thumb, $20-$25 per day isn’t unreasonable to keep your students or adults fed.  Here is my break down for food.  Breakfast: $4-$6, Lunch: $7-$8, Dinner: $9-11.  Don’t forget desert!!!

Bring the good goodies.  Spend the money on good snacks, aka good junk food (starburst, skittles, snickers, etc…)  – it’s okay to make them pay more during camp for the super good stuff.

2.  Speaker

You wouldn’t hire a speaker if you didn’t think they weren’t good, right?  This is very true.  You hire someone you trust to deliver good, solid, Jesus honoring messages to your students.  But, YOU as the leader have a vision for camp.  YOU pour hours of praying into a direction YOU want to take YOUR students spiritually.  YOU spend lots of time developing a theme and skits and games and stage design and small groups and on and on and on.  Yet, you turn over a large chunk of the spiritual time over to someone else.  I love speakers, I am one.  But, here is typically what we give speakers when we hire them;  “I want you to have the freedom to tell my students what God has laid on your heart.” or “The theme is _______, so just where God leads you from there.”  YOU have invested so much time into your students and  have the vision for camp, please, please, PLEASE let your speaker in on that vision and direction.  The name of the camp or theme of the camp does not communicate what you have envisioned.

Giving your speaker clear vision, direction and goals of and event allows them to more effectively use their gifts, talents and insights.

When I hire a speaker for any event I give them a clear cut vision of the whole event and what I want to accomplish.  Then I detailed the direction that I want each talk/sermon to take.  If I give the speaker all of this information then allow them to use their gifts, talents and insights, I have enhanced the vision of my camp or event.  This does not limit your speaker, in fact, as a speaker it is very freeing.  Work with your speaker at length.  This means at very minimum several phone calls, and several emails exchanging information.  If it is me, I do all I can to have an in-person discussion.  If that isn’t possible, there are too many ways to video conference.

If your speaker doesn’t understand the vision and goals of a camp or event they can greatly hinder the message.  This isn’t their fault, it is yours.  Most speakers won’t make your camp great, but they can break it.  Think how much more clear the gospel message is when everybody is on the same page.

3.  Attitude

Nothing breaks up a great experience than a bad attitude.  They cause a scene, they start bad conversations among others, they give things a bad taste and they just put a general downer on things.  Now you can’t control the attitudes of everyone at your camp or event, however there is a group that you can control and is crucial to a good event.  Your attitude must dominate the atmosphere.  If you as the leader are sold, most everyone one else will be sold on the event as well.  If your attitude about something is negative you really have to options: 1.  Change your attitude quick or 2. Get out of the picture.  If your attitude isn’t changing, let someone else take the lead the particular part of the event your sour about.  Things will go much better if you do.

If we are doing it, it’s the best thing ever, even if it isn’t.

The second group you have control over is the leaders under you, who are actually more control of attitude than you do.  My small group leaders and team leaders and event coordinators have always had way more say in the attitude of then event than I do.  If they are sold on what your doing, everyone else will be as well.  However, if they start discouraging conversation, it will spread like wild fire and your will spend all your time putting out those fires.  I have a saying with my leaders, “If we are doing it, it’s the best thing ever, even if it isn’t.”  I give them a lot of say into what we are doing, but when I make the discussion to do something here is what I tell them, “If its picking boogers, picking boogers is the best thing you have ever heard of!”  The attitudes of others won’t make your camp, but they can break it.

In my last 2 post on camp, I have ended with Pray, Pray, Pray!  If you aren’t covering your camp or event in prayer you failed before you started.  Prayer will make your camp great and the lack of prayer will line your camp up to fail.  So, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! and then PRAY some more.

* This is not a reflection on the camp we just did, in fact, the food, the speaker and attitudes were great!  I can’t wait to see what’s next on the horizon for Chip and the youth at The Brook.

** Thanks Natalie

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

3 Tips for Leaders at Summer Camp

HAU Summe Camp 2000I took a brief moment and counted the camps that I have been a part of leading in the past 17 years of ministry.  If the 53 name badges from camps dangling from an oversize carabiner  are any indication, I’ve been a part of a few.  And what I know is that there are many youth pastors/directors/leaders out there that have been part of way more.  However, I feel that I can speak a bit of light into the subject.  In my last post, 3 Tips for Doing Your Own Summer Camp, I gave tips a few insights on camps making an impact on students.  These tips are for being at camp as the leader.

It is important for your students and the leaders around you that as the leader you enjoy yourself and you enjoy the time you have with them.

Being the leader can be exhausting.  There is so much do to, so much that has to happen, so much that only you as the leader know.  For mid-size and smaller churches, a lot of the time, the leader has to do everything.  At larger churches, even if the leader has done a good job delegating, there is still a seemingly overwhelming responsibility on the leaders shoulders.   Either way there is a constant barrage questions.  “Where do you want this?”  “Where are we doing that?”  “Where is the equipment?”  “That broke, what do you want us to do?”  And if it rains!!!???!!!

It is important for your students and the leaders around you that as the leader you enjoy yourself and you enjoy the time you have with them.  With that though, here are 3 tips to think about while at camp.

3 Tips While At Camp

Relationships Are Everything At Camp

Do all your preparations before you go.  Let me repeat… finish all your preparations BEFORE YOU GO!  Don’t finish talks, small group material, or quiet time material while at camp.  As mobile as we have become with all our “iStuff”, it is tempting to just finish material or polish it up when you get to camp.  Your students are around you, make sure you are around them.  Make sure you have scheduled when you will do a game and make sure you have everything you need to play a game, don’t wait and have to make a “quick” run into town to a store.  That’s just time away from students.

When you plan events, make sure they are big, loud and fun; so much so that kids don’t what to do anything else.  If your plans are the best thing on the planet next to sliced bread and selfies, then you will earn your students attention.  This earned attention extends out to your other leaders.  Remember, relationships are everything at camp.  Relationships with you and relationships with Christ.

If your plans are the best thing on the planet next to sliced bread and selfies, then you will ear your students attention.

Make sure that you are setting your leaders in places to form relationships.  Have your leaders lead teams, teach small groups, assign them to different areas during any free time, and make sure they are eating with students not other leaders.  You want to set them up for a successful ministry and time at camp.  Your leaders have given up time, usually in the form of not getting paid or vacation time, set them up for a win.  As much as camp can changes lives of the students, your leaders lives can change forever if given the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in the life of the students around them.   This is why relationships are everything.

Have Fun!

Fun deepens and strengthens relationships in a way like nothing else can.  A long time ago I learned a twist to a common saying.   For students the saying, “People don’t care what you have to say until they know you care.”, becomes, “Students don’t care what you have to say until they know you will play.”  Watch a high school linebacker walls fall down when you spear him from the side.  Or watch a baseball player respond to you after you tell him that you want to try to hit his curve ball.  Watch a kid who usually sits off in a corner open up when you involve them and make them a hero in the middle of a game.

If your students are a big deal to you, be a big deal to them.

Or sit around an shoot the breeze and talk video games with a group of gamers.  Playing and having fun opens up more doors into students lives than anything I have ever done.  So don’t sit around and watch everyone have fun, get in the middle of it.  If your students are a big deal to you, be a big deal to them.  Did I mention relationships are a big deal.

Pray! Pray! Pray!

Please be the first one up in the mornings and the last one to go to sleep.  I know you are exhausted at camp, but this is important.  If you are to be investing in your students while you are there and active when they are awake, they need your prayers when they are asleep.  Get up in the morning and walk the camp praying for each and every face there.  Then as they drift off to sleep walk circles around praying and pleading for them.  There really is so much the can go wrong at camp and so much that God can do.  Prayer and faith is our only defense and offense in many of those areas.

I really would love to help you with your camp or event.  Please contact me and let’s dream together about what can be done to engage students with the gospel of Jesus.

Oh yeah, what if it does rains?  There is always Plan B.  What is Plan B?  Plan A in the rain.  Have fun!

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

3 Tips for Doing Your Own Summer Camp

HAU Summer Camp 2001

As a pastor there is a lot that I love about being in ministry.  But what I have the most fun doing is big events.  For youth, that means CAMP!!!  I love every part of it!  The sudden inspiration for a camp theme based on commercial from 10 years ago that your remembered when you hit your head getting into your car; the crazy skits that make no sense, but for 1 week in the summer that super hero with no real powers will mean everything; the creation of games that no one has ever done before and that no one will ever do again (ask me about “The Mousetrap”); the writing of quiet times; the study and writing of small groups and training small group leaders; having great conversations with speakers and bands; sweating so much you don’t know how you can sweat anymore; sweating when you go to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning freezing only to wake up at 6:30 in the morning sweating; there is just so much that goes into doing your own camp, but I love every part of it!  We do all of this and more all for those moments that change us and our students forever.

Summer camp means sweating when you go to sleep and then waking up at 3 in the morning freezing only to wake up at 6:30 in the morning sweating!

That student who realizes for the first time who Jesus is; the student who in conversation during small groups gets so excited because the truth of Christ comes alive; the small group leader who God uses to lead a student to Jesus, or uses their shoulder to cry on.  We do it all for those moments.  For those that are just starting out and doing their own camp for the first time or for the vet who has put on so many they can’t even tell you what last years theme was, here are 3 tips to remember when developing camps.

3 Tips for Summer Camp

Go All Out for the Big Things, So Students will Remember the Important Things

The ultimate goal of any church summer camp is to lead students to Christ.  Lost students need Jesus and the christian students need Jesus.  That’s important!  If you fail here the camp is a failure, you haven’t done anything but have a fun camp.  Without life change it’s just another camp.  However, if there is great material but camp isn’t fun, you should have just stayed home because that information isn’t going to stick.  So go all out on your theme!  Go all out on games!  Go all out on training leaders.  These are the big things that will make the important things have greater impact.

Make Memories

5 of us got into a nasty lake and waited until our skin shriveled,  leeches attached to our legs, and we got tired of treading water.  But what happened next, people still talk about.  “Hey, you remember that time you made Jesus walked on water?”  Yeah, we do.  What the 5 of us remember most is that on a perfectly clear night with a full moon, at just the perfect time, God put a cloud over the moon to hide us so that He was glorified.  You want to make moments that students will remember forever.  You want to create memories, so that when life gets in the way a memory sends them right back to camp and Christ.  See, what you want for your students is 20 years from now, you want them to say…

“Remember when?”

“No one has ever done that before!”

“How did we ever get away with that!”

“I’ve never seen anything like that, ever!”

“I can’t believer we did that!”

Pray, Pray, Pray

This seems a bit obvious, however, sometimes it’s so obvious we forget.  So much of camp needs prayer.  There is too much that we want God to do and so much that can go wrong.  Please – DO NOT FORGET TO PRAY!

One more thing.  PRAY!

P.S.  I would love to help you with your events, please contact me, even if it’s just to bounce ideas off someone.

Why I Love the Empty Tomb

happy easter

Good Friday?  Strange to title such a grotesque day in history as good.

With today being Good Friday and what we as believers celebrate as the day that Christ was crucified on the cross I thought I would take a moment and take a look at the  2 major events that are celebrated over the Easter weekend.  The gospel is clearly lived out and told through the crucifixion of Christ on the cross and the empty tomb of His resurrection.

Sin on the Cross

In the post “What Does Jesus Save Us From?” I explained that we are saved from God’s wrath.  We experience God’s wrath because of our sin (Romans 1:18-32).  What we as humans are desperately in need is for someone to save us from the consequence of our sins, to forgive us of our sins, to pay the penalty of our sins.  God know that the only thing that would satisfy His wrath would be the overwhelming payment of the death of His son Jesus.  How great is it for someone to believe that God would send the rescuer from His own wrath and He sent Himself!  The penalty of our our sin is death (Romans 6:23).  See, someone had to die for our sins, and who is good enough to pay that penalty?  Definitely not us.  Jesus being God in the flesh is the only one who could satisfy the penalty for us, so He endured the cross, shed His own blood, and died in our place.  He took the penalty of our sins upon Himself on the cross.

Our sins are paid for and forgiven on the cross of Christ, but that’s just half of the story, half the Gospel.  What would have happened if Jesus stopped at the cross?

The Empty Tomb

Having our sins forgiven is a miracle in itself, but if God stops there, if He stops with Christ work on the cross we are left forgiven but not alive.  For us, just having not to bear the wrath of God would have been enough.  This is the extreme mercy of God!  But this is not enough for our God!  He wanted us alive!  To live for eternity worshiping Him, living life to the fullest in His unhindered presence.  It is for this reason that on the third day God raised Jesus from ‘the dead (Acts 10:40).  This is the extreme grace of God!  When God raises Jesus from the dead, He paves the ways for us to also raise to life when our earthly bodies die.  When Jesus followers find His tomb empty what they don’t realize they are looking at is how their own tombs will be, how our graves as believers will be…EMPTY!

It Takes Both

If Jesus is just raised from the dead, then our sins are still unforgiven and we have to deal with the wrath of God.  If Jesus is just crucified on the cross then our sins are forgiven but we have no hope of eternity.  This is why this Easter I am asking you to praise Jesus for both the cross and the empty tomb.  Romans 10:9 says,

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

It is believing that God raised Jesus to life after His death on the cross that saves us from God’s wrath!

This is why I love the empty tomb!

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

 

 

What Does Jesus Save Us From?

What Does Jesus Save Us From?

calm-in-the-storm

Easter is this weekend.  It is as basic as it gets for Christians.  We cannot ever forget what Easter is about.  In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul ask us to remember how simple the gospel is.  Jesus died for our sins.  He was buried.  And He was made alive again on the 3rd day.  That is the simple and clear message that thousands of churches around the world will be professing this Easter.  It is this gospel that has the power to save all who believe it (Romans 1:16).  This has led me to recently ask a simple question…  What are we saved from?

Jesus died, Jesus was buried, and Jesus was resurrected.  The gospel is that simple.

For the majority of believers, I am afraid that we have lost sight or even worse, never knew what we needed salvation from.  I started asking Christians the simple question, “What are we saved from?”  I got many answers, many of which weren’t wrong, but they aren’t the answer.  And no, I am not out trying to be a stickler on semantics.  Answers like we are saved from our sins, we are saved from Hell, we are saved from ourselves, and we are saved from Satan.  Yes, all of these are true, but they are all parts of the right answer.  So what is the right answer?

Romans 5:9 “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!”

We are saved from the wrath of God!

As believers we must understand that we are saved from the wrath of God.  We must understand that our friends, family, neighbors and co-workers are in danger of suffering the wrath of God.  Did you get that!?!  Those around you that do not follow Jesus are in sever danger of the wrath of God.  God knows this, that is why He sent His son!  We celebrate Easter to remember the event that allows us to be in God’s immediate presence for all of eternity… The Resurrection!

I urge you to take time this Easter weekend to understand that God through Jesus saves us from the wrath of God.  He saves us from His own wrath.  Ponder that!  I also urge you to share Easter.  Your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers desperately need to know they are are facing the wrath of God because of their sins.  Use Easter as that time, no matter where they are in life and what road they are walking down, they are aware that this weekend is Easter, so its already on their minds.

Tomorrow I will address sin as part of Easter.

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

Words From Joe: Part 6 – Your Suit

Words From Joe: Part 6 – Your Suit

Suits-season-2This is the last of the “Words from Joe” series.  Joe is one of the wises and most humble men I have ever met.  I hope I have shared his wisdom with you as much as he shared with me.  The 30 minute conversation we had has impacted my ministry more than any single conversation I have ever had.  Thank you Joe.

God designed your suit for you and it will only fit you.

Joe said, “God designed your suit for you and it will only fit you.  It will never fit anyone else and anyone else that attempts to put on your suit, it will always feel awkward.  I would be too tight, too loose, too small or way to big.  Your suit is designed to move with you and always be perfect.  Our suits may be made out of the same material but one is made for me and one is made for you.”

God has put me in the very spot he wants me.  Better yet, when God wants me in a different context or different situation, He will put me there.  I only have to obey and wear my suit.  Same for you.  You have a unique suit that is made just for you, it will fit no one else like it fits you.  Know that God has you where He needs you and you only need to obey and wear your suit. Don’t try to wear a suit that belongs to someone else, you know it won’t fit you.

Jeremiah 1:5 (NIV) “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

Words From Joe: Part 5 – Obey

Words From Joe: Part 5 – Obey

obey hatJust a few more words from Joe that really struck me. He mentioned this thought several times. It was almost like he knew what had to be done so that he could hear “well done you good and faithful servant” when he knelt before the Lord. He kept saying..

“I just did as the Lord told me.”

“It would be so good for someone to say, ‘I just did as the Lord told me.'” Of course it would Joe.

He said, what if you were at a pastor’s conference and they asked you “what did your do for the Lord in the past year.”
And you said, “We obeyed God and taught his word.”
They followed up with another question, “But, how many people came to Christ?”
And you responded, “none, in fact people left. But, we did exactly what we were told to do, we obeyed God the best we could.”

Nobody would care, they just want to know about the converts and the successes of the ministry. They would ask for another testimony that had people coming to Christ. The point is not that you are successful, the point is that you obey Christ.

“The point is not that you are successful, the point is that you obey Christ.”

People want to be great and do wonderful things for Christ. The most wonderful thing you can do for Christ is to obey the word of God and His calling on your life. No matter, what you do, do it for the Lord and obey His word, the Bible.

1Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) “…do it all for the glory of God.”

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

Words From Joe: Part 4 – God’s Plan

Words From Joe: Part 4 – God’s Plan

blue prints

Thirty minutes with a guy that I have just met is not a lot of time to give him credibility and listen to his words.  But Joe, earned trust in a matter of seconds.  It was his spirit, his humble spirit.  It is his uselessness, humble, kingdom minded spirit that was apparent and drew me in.  This was Joe’s first lesson he gave me and I saved it for last.

I have been looking for a full time job in the ministry and getting frustrated as time goes by.  I’m ready!  As I finished introducing myself, I told Joe I had graduated seminary a few months earlier and looking for a job. “I just am tired of waiting”, I sai

d. In his mellow, South African / Australian, deep voice he said…

“Waiting is hard, but you can’t have plans for God.”

So why do so many of us try to plan out how we are going to do ministry? How we are going to restore the church? How we are going to …

Joe continued.  Noah didn’t have a plans to build a boat and definitely no plans on how to build an ark.  God provided the wood and the plans on how to build the ark.  Then He provided the animals and the rain, remember, God even shut the door. Noah was not involved in the plans, he just had to show up.

Moses didn’t have any plans of freeing Israel from Egypt, that would be ludicrous.  God made

the plans, gave him the words and the miracles.  What are Moses’ plans when he gets to the Red Sea, nope he doesn’t have any, God did.  How does Moses plan to feed a

n entire nation in the middle of the desert, he had no plans, God did.  Ten Commandments…God.  How about building the tabernacle and the ark of the covenant.  Moses was given all the plans by God,

who provided all the material.  Even Moses’ kid, God had the plan, Moses’ plan messed up.

An entire army bearing down on Israel and mocking them.  Does Saul have a plan?  Nope.  God Does.  Example after example, over and over again, it’s God’s plans.  How about saving Christians from Saul’s (Paul’s) wrath.  No plans there, but God shows up and not only stops Paul from harming believers, sends Paul out to bring the message to Gentiles.  Bet that was never on Paul’s radar.  What are the disciples to do, Jesus is gone and they have no plans.  That’s right, God has plans and saves thousands with one sermon from Peter.

Here was Joe’s question to me, “Why is it that we try to make plans to grow a church?  Is it not our job to just show up and do God’s plan?”

Matthew 16:18
“And I tell you that you are Peter,and on this rock I will build my church,”

Who is building who’s church?  Jesus will build His church.  It is not our job to build the church, that’s Jesus’ job, God’s plan.  Our job is to follow God’s plan.

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

“Jesus will build his church if we are making disciples.”

That’s the plan. Jesus will build his church if we are making disciples.

Originally Posted August 2nd, 2009

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

Words From Joe: Part 3 – The King

Words From Joe: Part 3 – The King

crownsJoe continued to tell me about his feelings on ministry.  Like I said in Part 1, this was a divine meeting.  His talking had a natural flow to it, like he had prepared this lesson just for me.  Like I have said before, South Africans do not talk unless they have something to say and Joe had more that he felt that I needed to hear.  From useless to pride and now the King.

The number one issue among churches today is serving the Kingdom and not the King.

Beyond pride the number one issue among churches today is serving the Kingdom.  It is church culture that the church be served.  And the pastor is being forced in many cases or gets caught up in serving the church or the kingdom.  Now there is nothing wrong with serving the kingdom.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

The danger is that the kingdom is being served and not the King. Joe said, “follow and serve the King, not the kingdom.  You can serve the kingdom and not the King, but if you serve the King you will always be serving the kingdom…His kingdom.”  If you are serving God, then there is no way that anyone can say that you are not serving the kingdom and you will be sure that you are following what God is having you to do.

Israel found themselves serving the kingdom.  In there case the kingdom was the law.  They were attempting to be completely obedient to the law.  There problem was that in their attempt to be obedient to the law and the kingdom, they forgot God.  My prayer is that the church will wake up and be obedient to God and not to just to church culture.  I understand these are hard and difficult words for some and might even be dangerous and misunderstood. I hope they aren’t and I hope you as the reader understand that we must serve the King, after all, it is His kingdom.

Originally Posted July 30th, 2009

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014

 © Jonathan Haley Uhrig 2014