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There is a common temptation to compartmentalize life, usually related to how we spend our time; school, work, home, church, hobbies/interests/activities, etc. With relationships a core part of living in all of these areas of life, the temptation exists then to act differently in each context, and sometimes inconsistent with how the Scriptures describe a follower of Jesus. What is behind these temptations, especially for young people, and how can we help young people fight these temptations?

We’re trying an experiment this summer, a time when schedules are far less routine due to school changes, vacations, increased family activities, increased opportunities in the culture around us, etc.

I wonder if I limit the pool of students who have potential to lead simply due to the activity of our gatherings and only paying attention to those that are more assertive at raising their hands to jump in?

Bonus points if you can guess what movie the blog title is from? (hint: see the gif at the end of this blog)

I can remember standing in the church lobby one Sunday and after I had just been talking to a lady, she turned to talk to someone else, and right in front of me they made plans for lunch. Here I am longing for an invitation, for someone to notice me, to be included, for someone to see my loneliness, and it didn't happen. So those thoughts of “I'm Not Good Enough” started stirring in my heart.

I’m grateful for the large number of graduating seniors who were committed to our regular youth gatherings, and specifically those who stepped out in faith to be equipped to lead and carried it out faithfully

God used a simple moment to remind me that he is near and that he cares deeply for us. His kindness extends beyond our big needs and situations to the small and seemingly insignificant things as well.

Even though the conversation ended with no great admissions, confessions, revelations or proclamations of faith from Josh, I can trust that the Lord will take my step of obedience to engage with my co-worker and turn it into something fruitful.

There is much activity going on this time of year for graduating seniors. Well, actually their full senior year! From final decisions about their post high school next steps, to senior pictures, to all that comes with the final days until graduation such as the ceremony and graduation party

How might we be intentional and prevent these summer transitions from sidelining aspects of stewarding our whole life as parents/leaders and in the lives of young people that we influence for Christ?

Over the past weeks, parents/guardians of High School Seniors, as well as our staff, have prepared for and taken part in our annual “Senior Blessing”. What does blessing others look like in this annual event as well as daily living?

This week I was reminded of how much of life is really out of our control. Yet, we plan, as we should. In planning, we often just think of the big things; vacations, large family gatherings or events, all that is required for larger purchases, etc. I wonder how aware we are of the “mini” plans we make every day?

What first comes to mind when you hear the word fear? You are likely bringing to mind things you had watched/heard in some form of media, maybe a personal experience yourself, or the experience of being around young people when they’re afraid. And you could in turn spend hours sharing such stories. I wonder how you would describe that fear in specific detail?

For the past six months, women from various seasons and circumstances of life have gathered in a home, around a table, rushing in from work, from dinner clean up, or having just putting little ones down, to fellowship with one another around the Word of God. In this, I have seen the fruit of discipleship, and what it looks like to follow a nudge from the Lord and see Him do all the work. 

…and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Paul’s words from Ephesians 4:26-27. What is this anger? How are we to follow this command when our most common experience is not overcome by sin in thought or deed? Following this last question, how in the world do we help young people do the same?!

John Piper coined the term Christian Hedonism in his 1986 book Desiring God. Out of that term came his most famous quote (at least for me), “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” When I counsel, this is a quote I share and have the counselee memorize. Abundant joy and total commitment to the glory of God has to go together in some way.

Souls and how they change: I've found that rudimentary concepts of Christian life are essential in counseling. A biblical understanding of what our souls are is one of these. Our souls are not so much a thing, but who we are as a person. Just who will be the person who sees Jesus' face to face in heaven? Volumes have been written on the subject, but here is a primer. I use this essay to help my counselees understand a clearer picture of why God made them. What is their purpose for their lives ... their day.

My path to becoming a biblical counselor began with God giving me an urging when I was an Elder to start a lay counseling ministry. I started my research by talking with various local churches. I concluded that the magnitude of a church counseling ministry would require a Pastor, so I started praying to that end. Thank you, Lord, for answering my prayer in an awesome way!