It has almost been eight months since I graduated from Harding University and dove into full-time youth ministry. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed so quickly. But looking back, I feel this is truly my calling. However, though I have greatly enjoyed what I do, that doesn’t mean it’s been an easy ride. . . . I mean, I’ve been to three funerals since I’ve started . . .
A lot has happened during my time serving. I can easily write a book about all these experiences, such as a mission trip to Texas, the time spent at Little Prarie Bible Camp, fasting for thirty hours, and cheering at numerous sports events. . . . But one thing that does stick out which I can write a blog about, is that I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked, “So, what do you do all day?” I even have a teen in the youth group, let’s call him Michelangelo, who teases that he works harder than me since he goes to school five days a week, while I only work two [Sunday and Wednesday]. I know Michelangelo says this out of good fun, but there are people who believe this–that youth ministry is one of the easiest jobs in the world. That youth ministers don’t need to work too hard, that they’re just big kids who get to hang with the teens. Or that youth ministry is just a stepping stone into pulpit ministry–that’s where the real work begins.
There’s a lot of crazy ideas out there, but hopefully I can shed some light on what it’s like being a youth minister, by sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences. (Though I won’t share all of them; I can’t give away all of my trade secrets.)
Does Hell exist?
Yes, I believe it does, because that is what the Bible teaches. Though I don’t believe it’ll be what a lot of people imagaine when they think of Hell, such as no red devils with horns or pitchforks. Yet strangely, the Scriptures are very vague when it comes to describing what this place is like, leaving room for much speculation. (It’s actually Jesus who gives us the most insight about this topic, just as he does about Heaven). But perhaps this is for our own good, so that we won’t spend too much time studying this dark topic, or elevating ourselves as judges who can determine who belongs in this place and who doesn’t. The Lord merely providing us a warning of its existence, and letting us know just what we need to know of the topic, nothing more.
Hell is described as a place of fire and a second death for those who do not repent of their sins (Revelation 21:8), a place of eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46), a place of destruction and absence of God’s presence for those after the Day of Judgement, those who do not know God and who did not obey His Word (2 Thessalonians 1:5-12), a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50), a place where the worm never dies and the fire never ceases (Mark 9:42-49), a place that his been prepared for Satan and his followers (Matthew 25:41), and a place where Satan will not rule, but be punished like all who will dwell in this place– for he too will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur and be tormented both day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).
I believe Hell is a place that exists, but I want to ask you–do you believe that Hell is real? If you said, “Yes,” then why? Do you believe that Hell is a place because you have read and studied the Bible for yourself? Or just because someone else told you that there is such a place? Continue reading
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).
The cross was a cruel method of torture and execution utilized by the Romans. It was designed to cause a victim excruciating pain for hours, even days, before he eventually died from asphyxiation. Yet, though this once was a sign of death and humiliation in the ancient world, it is not thought of as such in our modern time, being instead more associated with Jesus and the Church. However, there are some Christians who argue why the cross should not be displayed within their homes or even within our church buildings. Though I understand their viewpoints, I would like to respectfully disagree with them, by addressing them, and arguing why we as the Church should embrace the cross. Continue reading
This morning, I was sweating on the treadmill in my basement before work–still laboring to keep one of my New Year’s resolutions in the second week of 2018. Besides the sound of the belt rotating, there was the invisible narrator speaking to me from out my phone, reciting to me the myth of the Völsungs. The narrator helping me to stay focused upon my task.
I had about only five minutes left of my routine, when I recall hearing such amazing words from the Norse myth, which penetrated straight through my chest to my heart: “Fear not death, for the hour of your doom is set and none may escape it.” The Norse were a pretty pessimistic people, as can be seen by their myths and legends, such as how only two persons (a man and a woman) will survive the day of Ragnarök (the end of the world). A cataclysm that even most of their gods will meet their doom in, such as Thor and Odin. Nevertheless, they still have a saying that understands a moral which is greatly needed in the United States, that death is not something that should be feared. Continue reading
Many have grown up with the story of “Moses and the Ten Plagues of Egypt.” The tale of how God had used Moses to free His people from slavery in the land of Egypt, by displaying His power through ten plagues, before parting the Red Sea and leading His people to Mount Sinai. However, today I would like to focus on one particular character within this account–Pharoah.
Pharoah was the king of Egpyt, the embodiment of the god Horus, the supreme ruler of the land. A man who had the power for announcing your execution for blinking wrong. And a man who had become so twisted inside, that he saw what was evil as good. This was the man who God had sent Moses too, to ask for the release of His people. But when Pharoah refused, and did not head the sign of Aaron’s staff that he was opposing the God of gods, then did the Lord send His wrath upon Egypt.
The ten plagues are many things. They are signs of God’s strength and power–for each shows that all things are at His command. They also show that He is God. That Ra is not the god of the sun–Yahweh is. That Hapi is not the god of the Nile–Yahweh is. That Pharoah is not the god of Egypt–Yahweh is. Each plague proved God’s strength, as He demonstrated that He is more powerful than any other ‘god’ that man creates.
Yet, the plagues are also a sign of God’s grace. If He wanted to, He could have smitten Pharoah and erased Egypt from the map. Yet, after each plague, Pharoah is given a chance to repent. Continue reading