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3 Points on Youth Involvement in the Church

People have asked me, as a young person active in my church and pumped about Jesus, for my view on getting youth involved in the church. Here's, finally, a collection of points that I hope may prove helpful to someone.
  I have little experience working with youth and getting them "pumped" about "the Jesus-thing" (having six younger siblings doesn't count). So take my view with a grain of salt. This is solely my experience, from listening to others in my generation, and watching from a distance things that have worked and things that have failed. 
  I wish there were a cookie-cutter answer for inspiring youth involvement in the church (and, more importantly, a youth's passion for Christ), but it's a sensitive business you've got yourself into that involves getting to each person's heart.
  POINT ONE: You can't make them love church, Jesus, you, or anything.
  If your efforts to get a young person involved, interested -- nonetheless pas…
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This is me. Trying to write.

This is me. Trying to write.
  Because if I don't try to write every day, I feel like I've failed.
  Which means I've failed all but like 5 days so far this year. (Journaling doesn't quite cut it for me). Admitting the failure to myself didn't improve my motivation. Investing in writing curricula hasn't helped. Even having an "in" with an agent hasn't helped because I can't figure out what needs to change about my book and I'm exhausted with it. What else should I try? Beta readers with deadlines? (Any takers? Anyone?)
  My creativity store has run dry. The last novel I completed was in December 2015. I tried another that I've since abandoned. There comes a point where a writer has to accept the story isn't going anywhere and needs to move on, and I'm not ashamed of that.
  But now there's nothing.
  Ok, there are a few things. There are smatterings of scenes -- none of which could possibly relate. There are one-liners. …

Two Questions (and my attempt to answer them.)

1) Someone asked today if I feel like I made a difference in Ecuador.

  I feel like a "difference" was made, absolutely. Anytime a life is touched and the Gospel is spoken, seeds are planted and lives are changed. But it wasn't me.

  The only reason we were there is because of Jesus.
  He was the only One who could have brought it together.
  He can take our work and do what He'd like.
  He's the one who saves lives. We're just the messengers.
  What credit, then, can we take for ourselves?

  The truth is, that's something I should say about ANY aspect of my life. It's never by me. I have nothing to brag about. I should give God the glory more often.

  2) Why did He choose me? For this specific trip, at this time, at this place?

  I have no idea!

  There's, naturally, the humbling idea that it was only to bring Emily. The little person worked way more than I did, not to mention she had most members of the group in stitches any time of the day an…

The Numbers:

Over 600 medical patients.

About 350 reading glasses given.

Over 200 people heard the gospel.

About 150 professed faith.


First time I've presented the simple gospel story to a total stranger.

First time travelling below the equator (if only barely).

On Returning: Initial Reaction.

First, just to reassure ya'll who haven't heard: We're home safe.

  I'm sitting here in my quiet little apartment, wondering what happened and where the time went and what I'm supposed to do and -- with a slight feeling of panic -- how I'm supposed to re-immerse myself in my normal life.

  While riding our little yellow bus up and down the mountainsides of the Loja region, we all sang (among others) the well-known worship song, Oceans:
Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders   Let me walk upon the waters    Wherever you would call me   Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander   And my faith will be made stronger   In the presence of my Savior.
This song is a prayer. It's a prayer we don't even think about while we're singing, and rarely ever pray: God, please put us in scary, uncontrollable, over-our-head situations so that we have nothing but You to rely on and we can grow strong in our faith that way.

  It's a really frightening pray…

On Evangelism

I leave in a week to do something I'm terrible at in a foreign country. People, conversations, books and sermons are challenging me with it daily, and the "coincidental" repetitive nature poking at my conscience is usually God's way of communicating with me. And today, with the passing of Billy Graham -- among the most influential evangelists who has ever lived and a personal hero -- this topic weighs heavily on my mind.

  This is something I want to do, but it's something I'm terrible at. So it's gonna be all God's doing if it succeeds.

  I asked once in a previous post how often let my fear of insufficiency steal another's right to Jesus. The question is convicting me all over again.

  I've often failed to share the hope I have in Jesus simply because it's awkward, because I'm scared of speaking up. I use the excuse "I don't have the gift of evangelism." Or, "I'll simply shine my little light here and hope p…

Facing Down Expectations about Being a Writer

The One Year Adventure Novel official blog was so gracious as to publish an article of mine recently.
Take a look at my article here!