Back from the Youth Conference

     Well, we’re back from the youth conference and, hopefully, rested.  It went very well this year.  We took a smaller than usual group of only 19 kids which was actually kind of nice.  The group was, mostly, comprised of 7th-8th graders as well…also kind of nice.  The only drawback to this age group is that they behave as if they’ve never been to a nice hotel and that they’ve never seen a phone in a hotel room.  After about 20 prank calls for Chinese takeout between the boys and girls rooms, they finally seemed to get adjusted.
     The preaching was top notch.  Hopefully all the kids (and adults) walked out with something to work on in their lives.  I know I did.  He had a whole message on loving the Word of God.  Can you believe it?  The very thing I’ve been trying so hard to work on in my own life.  So much for just the youth getting anything out of these conferences. 
            2nd man did a fantastic job in his session to the Youth Pastors.  I know I’m biased, but he was looking pretty tired that morning before the session.  I was wondering if he was going to have it in him.  But the Holy Spirit seemed to take over and energize him.  The timing was perfect and the delivery superb.  Here’s a little synopsis on what he said to encourage the others in youth ministry:
Title: Finding Grace to Stay in the Race!”
Hebrews 12:1-2
I.                    We will need the right Purpose.
a.      John 4:34  our purpose is to serve God, not ourselves,or the teens.  This should be our purpose for any ministry…not just youth ministry.
II.                 We will need the proper Perspective
III.               We will need the correct Plan
IV.              We must have the right Pursuit
a.      Don’t compare with other ministries: “if only we had a gym or a better building, or a bigger town etc.”
     Ok, so my notes aren’t the greatest.  However, he shared testimony of how he had a hard time in those first few years of ministry.  However, when he was just about at his end and taking it to the Lord it was as if God said, “look at how Jesus did with the disciples.” They were 12 grown men who were in the very presence of the savior and they still had lumps and bumps.  We (in youth) are dealing with immature teens who aren’t in the direct physical presence of God.  Why do we think we’re going to have it easier?   
     Even as I write this I know I’m doing 2nd man a bit of a disservice by trying to relay his message.  But I hope you can get the gist of his message.  I think it was received well and encouraged some out in the crowd.  It was really neat to have the Harris’s there who were in our youth department at that beginning time.  They are now married and serving in youth ministry.  It’s was nice to be able to point them out as an example of how we don’t always know how God is working through our ministries. 
On a funny note, 2nd man gave three girls permission to join us for one day of the conference, because they weren’t able to come to the entire event.  They were going to just hang out with us for the day instead of getting a hotel room etc.  One of them was my greatest critic who I’ve mentioned in previous posts.  She seems to really hate me.  I’m not guessing or assuming, no, she’s made it clear.  Anyway, that morning my girls had gone down to breakfast and I was finishing up getting ready in the hotel room.  I went over to open the curtains and there they were just pulling up into the parking lot.  I thanked God for the heads up and said a quick prayer asking for grace and patience to show her love.  Awkward as it was, the day went pretty well.  Though we didn’t exactly carry on a one on one conversation, we were able to be in the same room and converse as a group.  They made my room (of all rooms!) their home base for the day because of one of the girls with whom I was rooming.  It was all going well, though they overtook the room and spent forever getting ready for the evening service.  I needed to get into the bathroom and get myself ready, but I chose to try and be patient for their sakes.  That’s when the toothbrush conversation occurred.  Yes, a silly time filler of a conversation in which she shared some meaningless info. About some of her toothbrush habits.  I simply responded with a “Huh.” When it came out…yes, my least favorite comment of all time, “Don’t judge me I don’t like to be judged.”  Really?  I know God was trying to grow me in the area of patience and who knows what else, but I reached my limit, asked if they were done with the bathroom and shooed them all downstairs.  I didn’t rush to get ready.  Though I was late to service, I just had to take the time to chuckle with the Lord.  Sometimes I think he has such a sense of humor, just wanting to see how I’m going to respond.  Or maybe it’s not humorous at all to him, and if that’s the case, I should be ashamed.  I gave myself high points for putting up with her, but I wonder if he gave me any at all.     
     Anyway, it’s all over now, and time to get back to the grind.  2nd man is playing video games at the church with all of the boys while I try to recover my house from all the events of the last week and a half.  I love these days when you can accomplish so much without even getting dressed.  I’ll enjoy it today and be on with the ministry move on tomorrow.  Have a great day everyone!
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