Summer is a rough time for me to blog. As a youth minister, I am out of the office a bunch. This week, I was gone four weeks, plus one week of personal vacation. So, I haven’t been home much, or at a computer much either. This week, I am back in the office, and well I have a lot I want to say.
I want to begin with talking about last week in Houston. Seeral months ago, I signed up our youth group to help put on Impact’s VBS. We went down as the lead group, and we were partnered with two other congregations. The Quaker Ave. congregation from Lubbock Texas, and the Weatheford church from Weatherford, OK. Well, this trip with our teens and adults was the best trip I’ve taken with a group of kids anywhere. I will be honest, there was a time even as late as the night before that I had thought about canceling the trip. Long story really, but basically there have been lots of things going on in my life, as well as the general unknown associated with a new trip to a new place, etc. But, we went and we loved the experience, the kids, and each other.
As I mentioned above about possibly not going through with this trip, I went to bed the Friday night before we left asking God for help with my attitude, and for a sign that the week would go well. I don’t how weak it sounds to ya’ll, but at moments in my life I have asked God for reassurance, and well in my faith wavering right before we left, I asked for a rainbow. It was Wednesday of the following week, before I saw one, or should say noticed one. Wednesday comes along, we were in our reading groups, and the man teaching the class I was in, handed our kids a book on Noah and the ark. I got chills. I knew what was coming. At the very end of the book, displayed in all its glory was a rainbow. I about collapsed. It get’s better. In the room I was sitting in, which I had been in all week, but didn’t know it till Wednesday, there was a poster hanging on the wall, which read “Jesus loves you,” underneath a rainbow. I had been in that room all, but didn’t notice the decor. I was floored again.
Very early Thursday morning, on my of incoming 9th graders, Spencer, was baptized into Christ. The hands down highlight of the trip! Later that day, after running our bus routes, walking back to get our van for dinner, Spencer and a couple other kids and I were walking to the parking lot where our van was. It was looking rather ominous over i-10, Spencer looks up in the sky, and elbows me and says, “look,.” There beautifully hung over the interstate, was a real rainbow. I lost it. As early as a week prior, I was unsure we would make it to Houston. Now, in he midst of one of the best weeks in ministry, God revealed himself over and over again. I went to Houston to do a VBS. I met Jesus and got to be Jesus, and was reminded that God is present even in the storms of life. See, for the last several months I had been going through some things, things that weren’t to pleasant, things I apparently needed to go through to see God in and through those things. I am learning slowly that God really does love me. I don’t know, but at times in my walk with Christ, it seems I wonder. I do dumb things still. At times, I act like my little ones do. I am a messy disciple, but know that Jesus enters into our mess to clean us up. He doesn’t just enter in, he dives right in to rescue us from ourselves.
I have seen God this summer. I also have been encouraged to carry on by some of the greatest people on the planet. Our youth group here at Chisholm Trail are among some of the finest folks anywhere this side of heaven. I am so proud of the way they worked and interacted in inner city Houston. Thank you for rising to the occasion and helping me see the good in our ministry when I haven’t been able to see it. One of my big struggles has been one of perspective. Sometimes, I can’t see the forest for the trees. It has always benefited me to hear stories from our kids how our youth group has been a blessing to them and how my own feeble attempts to minister to them is making a difference. God does use broken, flawed people to change the world, even if they can’t always see it.