Archive for December, 2005

WOW!

I am always so grateful for our Oasis leaders. I continually stand in awe at how much they bless God, bless me and bless our students with their leadership and time. In a society that pretty much screams “it’s all about me”, they realize “it’s most definitely not about me, it’s all about Him”. Each and every week, without fail, they breathe life, love and Jesus into our students. I wouldn’t want to do Oasis without them. Along with Jesus, they alone are why Oasis is successful. It’s not the flashy lights or great giveaways or awesome medias (although they’re cool), it’s them. They, along with Jesus of course, are the change agents in our students lives. I love them! I mean it when I say they’re my heroes.

So tonight, when they gave Johnny, Chris and I each a cake and a gift card to the mall, they pretty much blew us away. Johnny said it best after Oasis when all three of us were upstairs having a late night talk, his word…”WOW!”

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Music to my ears

Tonight was Schmucker’s Christmas (Winter?) concert. It was music to my ears. They did an excellent job, but you definitely could tell which songs they like more than others…especially the guys. I know I’m not supposed to, but I liked it when you could hear them giggle.

I also loved looking at the stage and seeing so many faces I recognized. The original plan was to stay for all three grades. However, I only made it through the 6th grade…thanks to my friend Bob who gave me whatever bug he was carrying around on Sunday. Let’s just say I hung out in the bathroom a lot today.

Ben and Kristen Stuckey

For those Oasis veterans who have been around for awhile, I just got the new photo of our beloved friends down in Alabama – Ben and Kristen Stuckey. I love and miss these guys like crazy. I always try to stop by their house when I head down south, but this month was a whirlwind kind of trip.

Props to the McFarlands, H.S. & M.S. Leadership Teams

Last Saturday they bought them and tonight before Oasis they wrapped them…over $500 of gifts and stocking stuffers. The 8th grade and high school leadership teams came together to adopt a family of eight kids this Christmas. In this particular family, grandma and grandpa are raising a boatload of their grandchildren. As you can imagine they really didn’t expect to be doing this, nor can they afford to. However, their incredible love for their grandchildren surpassess all the inconveniences. This Christmas will be extra special because of you my friends! I am so proud of each and every one of you! Thanks to the McFarland family for organizing this event. Your heart for Jesus and hurting people is a beautiful sight to behold!

You are not the average bear Oasis!

You rock! Becasue of the nasty weather on Wednesday, I expected about a dozen students to show up for Oasis! Boy did you prove me wrong. Nearly 90% of you guys showed up. I love your heart for Oasis and your heart for Jesus. While you always need to use wisdom when it comes to driving in bad weather (give your parents grace), never lose that heart and hunger Oasis. You are loved by me, your leaders and, most of all, Him!

Jeanne Mayo

Jeanne Mayo has been one of my youth pastor heroes from afar for a long, long time. First, because she is an awesome youth pastor (Ministries Today gave her the title America’s Number One Youth Pastor). Secondly because she is a female. Being a female pastor in a leadership position, it is really difficult to get that one-on-one significant face time with those who have gone before you that you have mad respect for. I’m not going to whine about it, but sometimes it pretty much makes me want to scream and other times it makes me want to give up. Anyway, Jeanne is doing this year long mentoring program known as the Cadre. To give you an indication how much she is sought after for her wisdom, you have to apply for it. I gave it a shot and got in, along with 19 others. We do a once a month conference call and meet with her personally twice a year. Last week (Monday and Tuesday) was our first time together. I was utterly blown away. First, she definitely knows how to throw a party. Second, her one liners were awesome. I’ve found that’s the way I learn best, throw me a powerful one-liner and let me meditate on it. So, here are my two favorite from last week. They aren’t hugely profound at first glance, but meditate on them for a while and I’m sure they will blow you away. Here you go.

“Sometimes it’s not so much what is spoken, but what is sensed that matters.”

Do people feel the grace, mercy, love and concern that I speak of? They’ve heard that they really matter to me and to Jesus, but do they feel it? When people are around me, do what they sense match my spoken words? The answer is, for various reasons, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Then, on ocassion, I think people sense the right stuff, but they need it spoken to them as well. Do I tell people I love them enough, even though my actions may scream it? I need to do better at both.

The other quote is what I’m glad to say that my senior pastor has mastered. I just don’t think I’ve ever heard it put into words quite like this…
Create attitudes (and culture), don’t wait for them.”

If you want an encouraging atmosphere, then be encouraging. If you want positive attitudes, then be positive. If you don’t want gossip to run rampid in your ministry, then don’t gossip. If you hate when people slice and dice each other in the name of leadership, then don’t do it yourself.

Anyway, my time with Jeanne was off-the-chart. She’s the real deal. In fact, the last night we had a Q&A time that started at 10 p.m. (yes, p.m.). She said she would stay up as long as there were four of us. She hung in there until 6:30 a.m. Needless to say, she is passionate about raising up and speaking life into youth pastors.

The moment of “sensing” that I will never forget is when we were talking one-on-one and I was giving some general background on my life and ministry. It was part of the bigger story, but in the midst of it I told her that my dad lives with me and struggles with being bi-polar. It was just part of the story, but at that moment she stopped me and looked into my eyes and asked me “How bad is it?” I was so taken back that I was like “How bad is what?” “His bi-polar?” I then went on to talk about how rough it’s been since May. Friend, when she stopped me mid-sentence I was floored. What she said with those four words “How bad is it?”, spoke volumes about who she is. She breathed into my life, “I heard you and I care”.

I’m thankful to be a part of a church that encourages, allows time for and pays for us to receive the training to be the best that we can be. Thanks SMT.

G.L. and Q

I can’t tell you how great it was to see Garrett and Quincey down in Atlanta this week! I knew I missed these guys a ton, but being down there reminded me why. First of all, they are just plain great guys. Second, they make me laugh a lot… a lot, a lot! After checking out some of the hilarious new videos Garrett has made, we all went out to dinner with their mom and step-dad to this incredible Italian restaurant their family owns. Great eats with great friends. It was an off-the-chart beginning to a couple of incredible days with one of my youth pastor hero’s, Jeanne Mayo.