Are you looking to strengthen your skills in youth ministry? Would you like to work with the top youth ministry minds in the country? Then check out this video for the SADDLEBACK CHURCH LEADERSHIP ACADEMY and apply today! I am an alumni of this program I can attest to the fact that it is the BEST program in the world if you are interested in getting hands on youth ministry training/equipping/schooling. Click the video to learn more and click this link to apply today!
Today at Saddleback Church we began our annual RADICALIS (radicalis literally means “from the root”) conference for those working in ministry who want to learn about how to build healthy/biblical ministries and churches around the world. RADICALIS is really 15 conferences in one, including Saddleback’s Purpose Driven Youth Ministry conference, which is where I spent the majority of my day today.
This afternoon our student ministries staff hosted our first two sessions on “What is Purpose Driven Youth Ministry?” and “The In’s & Out’s of Weekend Programming”. While the content in the sessions was great, my favorite part of the day was simply connecting with other youth workers from around the world. It was awesome to get the chance to sit down with youth pastors and here their stories, to hear their excitement and concerns, their successes and frustrations. It was great to hear how youth ministries are thriving in places like Miramar, Florida and rainy Washington. I got to chat with youth workers from the netherlands and hear how God has been moving in students lives in that part of the world.
I guess the thought that stuck out to me the most on day #1 of the conference is this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you are a youth worker and you are reading this right now, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you are hurting and burned out, frustrated and confused, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you are looking for new ideas to bring a fresh perspective in your youth ministry, there are other youth workers out there who are ready and willing to share their stories/ideas with you! Other youth workers around the world NEED to hear your stories. We are all in this together! :D
Do you have a youth ministry story you would like to share on iheartyouthministry.com? Leave a comment below or click here to leave a GUEST POST on this blog.
Hey friends! If you are looking for a GREAT youth worker’s conference that will challenge you to create healthy/sustainable youth ministries then you need to come to this years RADICALIS conference here at Saddleback Church! RADICALIS is coming up on February 22-25th (this month) in Lake Forest, CA. If you are in Southern California you won’t want to miss out. The youth ministry track is going to be led by my boss Kurt Johnston and the rest of our youth ministry team.
Here is the schedule for the conference:
7:00 a.m. Registration 8:00 a.m. Plenary Session 10:00 a.m. Break 10:30 a.m. Plenary Session 12:30 p.m. Lunch 2:00 p.m. Conference Session - Track 1 3:30 p.m. Break 4:00 p.m. Conference Session - Track 2 5:30 p.m. Day 1 Concludes
8:00 a.m. Plenary Session 10:00 a.m. Break 10:30 a.m. Plenary Session 12:30 p.m. Lunch 2:00 p.m. Conference Session - Track 3 3:30 p.m. Break 4:00 p.m. Conference Session - Track 4 5:30 p.m. Day 2 Concludes
8:00 a.m. Plenary Session 10:00 a.m. Break 10:30 a.m. Plenary Session 12:30 p.m. Lunch 2:00 p.m. Conference Session - Track 5 3:30 p.m. Break 4:00 p.m. Conference Session - Track 6 5:30 p.m. Day 3 Concludes
8:00 a.m. Plenary Session 10:00 a.m. Break 10:30 a.m. Plenary Session 12:30 p.m. Day 4 Concludes
*Schedule subject to change. Check back for updates.
One of my favorite quotes from my pastor, Rick Warren, has to do with belief. He has said many times, “You only believe something if it causes you to take action.” For example if you say that you believe that you should read the Bible everyday, but you don’t do it, then you really don’t believe it very much. Or if you say that you believe that you should tithe, and you don’t, then you really don’t believe it. After reading chapter three of Bill Hybels “Too Busy Not To Pray”, I’ve come to the conclusion that for most Christians that struggle with having a powerful prayer life, we simply don’t really believe that God is able. We have a hard time really believing in the all-powerful, omnipresent & omnipotent God of the Bible.
In chapter 3 Hybels lays out our dilemma in regards to coming to God in prayer:
“Many of us have pressing personal needs and serious problems that ravage our lives, but we neglect to ask God for help. Somewhere, far beneath our surface layer of faith and trust, we don’t actually believe God has the ability to do anything about them.” (Chapter 3 pg. 36-37 par. 5)
It all comes back to belief. If we really believed that God was all-powerful and able to make real change in our lives, wouldn’t we cash in on that promise? I mean if the God who hand crafted the universe says “Hey if you are my kid then anything you need I will give to you if you trust me and ask me!” then it would be ludicrous to pass up on an offer like that! So what does the Bible say about our prayers? Here are just a few examples:
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 5:16 NLT)
And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for. (1 John 5:14 NLT)
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 NLT)
If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (James 1:5-8 NLT)
Just from these verses alone we see a God who loves and desires to answer the prayers of His people. In fact in the book of Revelation we find that our prayers are one of the few things that will last forever and that bring God joy and pleasure!
Then another angel with a gold incense burner came and stood at the altar. And a great amount of incense was given to him to mix with the prayers of God’s people as an offering on the gold altar before the throne. The smoke of the incense, mixed with the prayers of God’s holy people, ascended up to God from the altar where the angel had poured them out. (Revelation 8:3-4 NLT)
In chapter 3 Hybels lays out three examples from scripture to show that God is able and willing to answer our prayers because He alone has the power over NATURE, our CIRCUMSTANCES and the HUMAN HEART.
To give an example of God’s power over nature Hybels points to the event of Exodus 17:1-7 which reads:
“At the Lord’s command, the whole community of Israel left the wilderness of Sint and moved from place to place. Eventually they camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there for the people to drink. So once more the people complained against Moses. “Give us water to drink!” they demanded. “Quiet!” Moses replied. “Why are you complaining against me? And why are you testing the Lord?” But tormented by thirst, they continued to argue with Moses. “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst?” Then Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me!” The Lord said to Moses, “Walk out in front of the people. Take your staff, the one you used when you struck the water of the Nile, and call some of the elders of Israel to join you. 6 I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai.t Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” (Exodus 17:1-7 NLT)
To give an example of God’s power over our circumstances Hybels refers to the event of Acts 12:7-10 where God frees Peter from imprisonment:
”Suddenly there was an angel at his side and light flooding the room. The angel shook Peter and got him up: “Hurry!” The handcuffs fell off his wrists. The angel said, “Get dressed. Put on your shoes.” Peter did it. Then, “Grab your coat and let’s get out of here.” Peter followed him, but didn’t believe it was really an angel—he thought he was dreaming. Past the first guard and then the second, they came to the iron gate that led into the city. It swung open before them on its own, and they were out on the street, free as the breeze. At the first intersection the angel left him, going his own way.”(Acts 12:7-10 MSG)
Finally Hybels gives many examples of God’s power to change the human heart:
“God has the power to make shy Moses a leader (Exodus 3-4), to soften cruel Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 11:1-8), to keep discouraged Elijah from quitting (1 Kings 19:15) and to turn the fanatical persecutor Saul into a globe-trotting apostle (Acts 9:1-31).” (Chapter 3 pg. 41, par. 2)
So God is able, He is all-powerful, all-knowing, unchanging. The same God that worked in the lives of Saul, Elijah, Moses and Peter is the same God at work in your life and my life today. The sooner you and I can wrap our minds around that and really start to believe it, the sooner we will become men and women of prayer. Because we will REALLY BELIEVE that GOD IS ABLE!
Stay tuned for my reflections on Chapter 4 next week! :D