Lessons from the mission trip #2: Do you remember what real Christian community feels like?

Did you notice this year that you have been isolated from your faith community? How connected are you to faith in Jesus? Do you even remember what real community feels like?

Isolation was a real challenge this past year. For many of our young people, and even some of the adults, it has been months since they had been in a church or were part of a faith community. This past year has been hard on students and families. Between masks, quarantine, vaccines and questions about what it all means, many of us fell into isolation. Our faith walk was always meant to be done in community. For many of the students on this trip they had fallen away from faith and didn’t even notice

As I walked with students on this trip I was amazed at how many talked about how they had just gone through the motions of faith this past year. They watched worship, they maybe showed up once, but they were too focused on everything else going on. Life got in the way of their faith and its growth. It became so little a part of their life with others they didn’t realize they were missing that faith connection with others.

For many students on this trip realized they were missing real Christian community. For some it meant letting out emotions, pain and broken parts of their lives with others. For others is was sharing Christian community with others. This year really was a time for students to recognize what they were missing.

So how about you? How is your faith going? Are you just watching worship, or are you with other believers. Are you just sitting in the pew or are you actively trying to grow you faith. I believe that if we don’t maintain these relationships they die. I believe that in this time we can get so lost in the news, our world, and everything else, we know we are missing something but we aren’t even sure what we are missing until we happen to stumble upon it again. Today lets actively try to get back to it. Lets go to worship, get involved in a Bible study, find a Christian community to be involved in. This faith thing was not meant to be done in isolation but actively perusing our faith in Jesus together.

23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:23-25 ESV

Tell your daughter she is beautiful, show your son it is manly to love Jesus! Lessons from the Mission trip.

22086_514760352023887_970493562160296772_nLast week I spent time with 20 high school youth on our annual mission trip.  It was my last week really working with them because God has called me to a new place in ministry.  It was a week of much joy, crying, and laughter. It was truly a great week of ministry.  As the week progressed I spent a lot of time with guys and girls in one on one in conversations. I  got many opportunities to talk with my youth group and with other students on my crew.  Here is what I learned.

All girls need someone to tell them they are beautiful.  They need it desperately.  We live in a world that tells them they aren’t good enough, pretty enough, or special enough.  Girls who are paper thin and the girls who are not don’t ever need encouragement to loose weight. They feel they are ugly.  They feel no one thinks they are pretty.  I spent the better part of two nights telling girls they were beautiful. That Jesus finds them beautiful inside and out.  God looks upon them through the eyes of Jesus and sees beautiful women of God.  Please if you are reading this go and find your daughter and tell her she is the most beautiful person in the world. If you have a friend who is a girl remind her she is beautiful in the eyes of Jesus. I know I just did.

Second lesson for the week is for all the men out there.  Show your sons  and other men that loving Jesus is manly.  I talked to a lot of boys who struggled with this.  I am so glad I had a number of male leaders this week who are some of the most manly men I know share with these boys how manly it can be to love Jesus.  We as men can be manly and love Jesus.  It is manly to worship Jesus. It is manly to be undignified to love Jesus.  Jesus isn’t just for women.

So parents, adults, and youth, remember to care for each other, remember Jesus finds you beautiful, and remember to share Jesus’ love with everyone it is the beautiful and manly thing to do.