Filter Through Life

Taming the Tongue

When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.  
Proverbs 10:19  


A fool shows his annoyance at once,
but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
 Proverbs 12:16  


A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue. 
Proverbs 17:27-28  


I am convicted by these words today.  God has been dealing with me for the last several weeks about my mouth.  I boast too much.  I gripe too much.  I gossip too much.  I just flat out talk too much.  I have a hard time controlling my tongue and I want to change that starting today. 


I want to be a godly man, husband and leader in my community and church.  I have to start with the small things.  I must love God and my wife.  I have to be faithful with my prayer.  I have to read my bible.  I have to go to church and I have to tithe.  But that isn’t enough.  If I do all these things yet cannot control my tongue then I am not godly at all.  James asks us in James 3:12, “can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?”  Certainly not.  Neither can a man leave his tongue unbridled and expect to have influence. 


I know I can’t do it on my own; I’ve tried.  I am glad I don’t have to. 


      But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,

      for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

                       2 Corinthians 12:9


Thank God for grace.


Parent’s Meeting
April 21, 2008, 10:25 am
Filed under: Leadership, Learning my trade, Ministry, Religion, Youth Ministry | Tags:

I conducted Filter’s first parent’s meeting yesterday after church.  I tried to keep it short and sweet because I know folks are ready to leave, get some food and they really don’t want to listen to be bump my gums for too long.  After all, I had given announcements earlier so they had already heard me talk once that day. 


I wanted the parents to have an idea of our mission/vision for the youth ministry.  I also wanted them to know a few of the things Cheri and I have planned for the ministry in the coming months.  I think the parents were at least content with what we shared with them and were encouraged that we aren’t just on autopilot.


It is almost as hard talking to parents as it is to teenagers.  Teenagers stare at you (if you are lucky) with blank, disinterested faces while parents stare at you with inquisitive and almost doubtful faces.  I may just be a bit paranoid; it was my first meeting with parents after all.  I was encouraged that none of the parents got after me though.  After enduring the first two years of my leadership part of me expected some backlash.  That was totally God’s grace that kept that from happening.


Over all the meeting went well.  At least it wasn’t the train wreck that I was expecting.  Next meeting is going to be that much better.

Late for Men’s Prayer
April 18, 2008, 8:23 am
Filed under: Faith, Leadership, Legacy Fellowship, men's prayer, Ministry, Religion

This morning was brutal!  There was a crazy thunderstorm last night that knocked out the power for a while so my alarm clock was flashing when I woke up.  Thankfully, or not, depending how you look at it, I have an organizer on my Treo that is set to remind me every Friday morning that I have to be at men’s prayer.  The loudest, most obnoxious blast of screeching lunacy comes from my phone at 5:25am every Friday.  Arrrrgggggghhhhhh!


Let me tell you, if ever there where something that didn’t fit my lifestyle it is waking at 5:25am to go prayer.  This week I didn’t.  I was going to just lay there until it was time to go to work but I couldn’t.  I know how important it is for me and Tony to pray together. 


I’m staff; my burden is different because I am not just a member of the church.    I have a burden in my heart that tells me I HAVE to be there.  In my opinion, I don’t have the option to play hooky (though I have once or twice).  I am partially responsible for the health and well-being of the church and everyone that walks through the door.  The staff needs to pray together more often than just Sundays before service.


So, I got my butt out of bed.  I was late but I was there.  I didn’t even fall asleep during prayer.  It’s the least I can do, right?


We had our monthly staff meeting last night and it was pretty good.  I normally hate meetings and tend to drift off after a while (kind of like our leader…cough).  However, last night was a little different.  Tony talked about what we can look forward to in the coming months at Legacy, and it is pretty exciting and scary all at the same time.


The upcoming series is going to be about commitment; our commitment to the church, the churches commitment to the community, Tony’s commitment to us, etc.  He is fully committed to God’s purpose and his people and he is going to encourage us to be committed as well.  It is going to get really warm and uncomfortable in that building for some.  I love it.


Anne wrote earlier this week about church the church and the difference between making people feel welcome and making them feel comfortable.  We want to love people and we want them to know it.  Love isn’t always comfortable.  Jesus certainly didn’t always tell people what they wanted to hear but what they needed to hear.  That is our responsibility as well. 


Our pastors (and the rest of the body of Christ for that matter) can’t be afraid to call people to commit, even if it scares off a few people in the process.

Dynamic Youth Ministry
April 8, 2008, 8:43 am
Filed under: God, Jesus, Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Relationships, Youth Ministry

My wife and I are having a meeting tonight to discuss the state of the youth ministry we run.  We have a lot of things to talk about and probably even more to change.  I have said it before that the ministry has been just so-so from the beginning.  It all starts with me and I take complete responsibility for it. 



Over the last couple of months God has really been dealing with me about this and I think I know what we have to do, almost.  I don’t know exactly what the change looks like but I have been praying and praying about this and just last week I felt like God kicked me in the pants and said to get busy.  I have been doing research and praying and praying and researching. 



I have never wanted an “events/activities-based” ministry; rather I prefer a “relationship-based” ministry.  The way I see it, if kids are coming for the sole purpose of having fun or just to do something then they will stop once something more fun starts happening on Wednesday night or Sunday.  If kids are coming because there are people there that want to see them, people that love them and show genuine concern for them, people that pray for and with them, they have more of a reason to show up. 



Building relationships is difficult, especially with teenagers.  Almost all of them have an outer shell that protects them.  Their guard is almost always up and it takes a long time to build trust with them.  I think we have come to that point.  We don’t have it completely wired but we can build relationships with teens.  I think they know we love them.  I think they know we pray for them and that we have their best interest at heart.



Now, for the sake of the ministry, it’s time for us to build a relationship between “relationship-based” and “events/activities-based” ministries.  I want this ministry to be great.  I want it to be dynamic.  I want teenagers to come and have fun.  I want them build a relationship with Christ.  I want teenagers to become a functional part of the church today.  I want this not for my own pride or ambition but because God wants it.  He is dynamic and He is fun.  He wants relationships with teenagers.  He is going to have to show me how to do this.

I am not good enough
March 31, 2008, 8:46 am
Filed under: Faith, God, Leadership, Ministry, Religion, Youth Ministry | Tags:

I read a short article in Leadership Magazine this morning that was quite encouraging.  The author, who also happened to be a pastor, recalled an uncomfortable meeting with a congregate.  The congregate wanted to let the pastor know just how poor of a performance she thought he was doing.  He said he was kind of dumb-struck but he also felt she was right in a way. 

I can’t imagine that happening to me.  I am my own worst critic but I wouldn’t want one of my students or a student’s parent telling was a bad job I am doing.  I already know but the truth still hurts.   

The pastor responded to the woman with something like this, (I don’t have the quote in front of my so I’ll paraphrase) “I am not very good and God still wants to use me”.   

That’s beautiful.  He emphasized grace because we are not good enough to be in leadership.  We are not good enough to be pastors or counselors.  We are not good at all but He is.  His strength and grace is made perfect in our weakness.  I know that I am not fully equipped to do the job he wants me to do but I also know that His grace is enough to help me do it.

There are some things I just don’t want to know
March 19, 2008, 9:06 am
Filed under: Daily Living, Friends, God, Leadership, Ministry, Prayer, Relationships, Religion

For some reason people seemed to want to tell me things yesterday that I felt I had no business knowing.  A dude at work went into exhausting detail about his weekend.  There were some crazy and terribly sad things that happened to him this weekend and I guess he just wanted to talk to someone.  The thing is I can’t remember a time that we have said more than four words to each other in the two-plus years I have been working with him.  Needless to say, I was a bit surprised by his frankness and I am saddened by what happened to him. 

Last night was a little different.  My wife and I had an appointment at a place that was near the place of work of someone we kind of know.  We were a little early so we stopped in and said hi.  Now this is a man that I know is going through some junk but I didn’t know how bad it really is.  He told us the things he is going through without going into a lot of detail.  My heart hurt so badly for him because I know he has tried to open up to me before.  I don’t know if I was closed to the opportunity or responsibility of knowing what I know now but I just never gave him the opportunity to talk to me.   

As I was writing the previous paragraph another coworker came up and told me about some issues he is having at home.  He went into detail too.  Sheesh!  At least I actually know this guy. 

I don’t know why I am writing about this.  I guess God is training me to be a good listener or something but my flesh doesn’t want the responsibility of knowing things like this.  My flesh doesn’t want the responsibility of having to pray for these people.  I just want to live in my private little “David World”.  However, God wants me to listen and pray for these people.  God wants me to set me selfishness aside and actually listen when people talk instead of faking it.   

So, does this kind of thing happen to you?  If so, what do you do about it?