Friday, February 27, 2009

Overcoming Past Failures

This week we continued our "Sweet Relationships" and talked about "Overcoming Past Failures".  I talked about how the character Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite was obsessed with 1982 and thought that if one thing had changed then his entire life would be different.

When looking at someone who messed up in the Bible, David usually stands out.  I told the students that God continues to lead us to the same passage about David and Bathsheba for a reason.  But when we mess up we have to "Learn from the past and not live in the past".  It took time but David eventually learned from the past after God used Nathan to confront him.  We read about David's regret in Psalm 51.  The thing is Satan doesn't want us to learn from the past and wants to continue to put guilt on us to drag us down.  We can rejoice though because we read in Psalm 32:1-5 that God not only forgives our sin, but He also forgives the guilt of our sin.

Along with learning from the past and not living in it, we must also "Make the most of today and the future".  We can't change the past but we can resolve to do better in the future.  Uncle Rico thought that time travel was the answer.  He thought that if he could go back in time and change things then everything would be different.  We all know time travel isn't possible but if we go back in our mind 2000 years and picture Jesus, hanging on a cross.  Arms open wide and blood flowing down.  We need to realize that with every drop of blood that Jesus was purchasing your forgiveness so you wouldn't have to be held hostage anymore.  So rejoice in knowing that you can move on.  We all make mistakes but praise God that we can be forgiven by the blood!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

God Wants What's Best

I've never claimed to be a great writer/blogger in any way and it's very obvious if you read my posts.  So with this means that other people may sometimes be better at saying the things that I may be thinking.  Lately as I and the youth leaders think and pray about what activities, we are really focusing on what is best and what God is leading us to do right now.  I said in the beginning before the church even voted on me that we would never do anything without purpose and would only do what we believe God is leading us to do.  I say all of that to get to this post by Steven Furtick.  He tells us how what is best for us from God may not always be what we want.  Check out his post here because He makes a great point that I try to make numerous times.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What Really Matters- Part 2

I last blogged about how one of my focuses lately has been "what really matters".  I mentioned that sometimes we confuse busyness with spiritual life and the fact is that they do not equal.  I could write for a long time about this subject because it seems to be such a focus of mine the past while.  But busyness is just one part of it.  Idols too take the place of what really matters in our lives.

One of the many things that breaks my heart about teenagers today is the fact that they are obsessed about almost anything but what they should.  When I observe the life of teenagers I see some of the following things as top priorities in the lives:  friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, sports, popularity, school, etc.  The thing we have to realize is that whatever we spend the highest percentage of our time and energy on becomes an idol and becomes our God.  I even see people today who want to tie in these obsessions in Bible study.  We want to focus on finding God in these subjects instead of first seeking God.  This breaks my heart because I regret how I have made idols in my life in the past.  When I look back on the times I have made idols in the past it makes me wonder what blessings I missed out on.  It also makes me wonder what ways that God could have used me but instead I got in the way.  My challenge to anyone who reads this as well as myself is this:  Don't let anything whether it be busyness or obsession over something get in the way of your relationship with God.  Know and understand "What Really Matters", and that is our relationship with a savior that loves us more than anything we can understand.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

What Really Matters- Part 1

It seems that in my life God reminds me of the same themes over and over.  One of those themes that has been brought to my attention lately is "what really matters".  Not only has God brought this to my attention but it seems that He has me speak these thoughts to the youth whenever applicable.  

What do I mean by "what really matters".  Well its pretty simple- are our priorities the way that they should be?  Are we keeping our relationship with God first in our lives?  Am I keeping my relationship with God first in my life?  About 3 years ago Belinda shared with me a bit of an interview she heard on the radio with one of the members of Mercy Me.  He stated that priorities must be like this: "First your relationship with God, then family, then ministry/job."  He said that many times we confuse our ministry with our relationship with God.  We believe that when we are busy doing things for God that it means we are spiritually healthy.  This can be the furthest thing from the truth.  We can be busy serving God in activities, but totally missing Him.

For a while now God has been saying to me the phrase "less is more".  I've been trying to really seek what God would have me to do in this youth ministry (both sermons and activities).  I believe that God is leading us to a time to discover what really matters.  Busyness does NOT equal spiritual life.  We must understand this.  I must understand that I have to seek God's will in everything I do because that is what really matters.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finding Your Soul Mate

We started a new series this week titled "Sweet Relationships" and the first installment last night was about "Finding Your Soul Mate".  I've been dreaming of a way to incorporate Napoleon Dynamite in a sermon and I'm going to be able to with this series.  I talked with the students about some famous couples, you know like Fred & Wilma Flinstone, Superman & Lois Lane, and of course Kip & Lafawnduh from Napoleon Dynamite.  In one scene of the movie, Kip tells Napoleon that he is "almost 100% positive that she's his soul mate", then of course does the ever so wonderful "Peace Out".  Since the DVD didn't stay paused long enough for me to show the clip I had to do the "Peace Out" myself which was probably one of the highlights of the night.

We talked about the world's definition of a soul mate, and then looked at some examples in the Bible such as Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 24 and then Jacob and Rachel in Genesis 29:18-20.  We then talked a little about how one should go about dating and then qualification for a soul mate.

When talking about dating, I shared one of my famous quotes (well maybe not famous, but it seems that I say it a lot) "Don't date someone you wouldn't marry", or as my youth pastor would say "Pick a date who would make a good mate".  I told the students that if they have no intention of marrying the person then they should not date them.  Also if they are dating and realize that it isn't who they are going to marry, then they need to end it.  I also talked about how dating and breaking up is like practicing marriage and divorce.  If you date and break up a lot then you're more likely to become that statistic of divorce when you get mad and decide you want out.

We also talked about qualifications for a soul mate and the first thing I mentioned is that you should be picky.  Doesn't mean you need to be unreasonable, but being picky in this case isn't a bad thing.  Then Belinda and I shared with the students the things that drew us together, such as our relationship with Christ.  I then shared that you can't be soul mates with a person who hasn't given their soul to Jesus and that there is no such thing as a soul mate until Jesus is your soul mate b/c he is the only one who can complete.  I told the students that I love Belinda with all my heart, but she's not my savior.  I don't say that to degrade her in any way, but to respect her and respect God.  God is the only person who can save me.

I closed with these thoughts.  I told the students that I know it may seem impossible to find someone and that they might worry about feeling lonely.  The thing is there is a huge difference in being alone and feeling lonely.  There are married people who feel lonely, but no one is ever alone b/c God is right there beside us.  You may say you just want to tell someone about your day, someone to cry with, and laugh with.  The thing is God wants you to tell Him about your day.  He wants to you to share what you're dealing with.  He cries when you cry, He laughs when you laugh, He celebrates when you celebrate.  He is right there when you wake up in the morning, when you go to bed, and all other times of the day and night.  God genuinely wants to be a part of your life.  So instead of looking for the perfect person to fulfill your life, seek God because He is the only person who can complete you!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Revival

The word "revival" may stir up many thoughts in our minds.  One for me is the never ending preaching that would go on when I was a child for several days.  Too many times I think that we hear the word revival and think that it is an unattainable thing for our churches, communities, and homes.  I looked up some definitions of the word and found the following:  an improvement in the condition or strength of something; a reawakening of religious fervor.  

A lot of times we say or hear people saying how we need to be "praying for revival".  I even have this permanently printed on our student's weekly newsletter.  I've been telling them for nearly a year that if as students they would personally get on fire for Jesus then it would be a contagious matter that would spread to their families, friends, schools, communities, etc.  I stand firm in believing this.  But what hit me when I was driving in to work today is how this should not only be something that we realize we need, we must realize that this is a total necessity.  That statement might not even make sense but I'm going to try to explain what I mean.

As Christians, we must come to the realization that revival is necessary for life.  We must see revival take place or we are on the verge of losing the world for good.  But what I also realized today is that, that I...Nathan Eaton...needs personal revival.  I should not only pray for revival in our youth ministry, church, etc.  But I need to be praying for God to give me personal revival.  I also must believe when I pray for these things.  I can't pray for something and not expect for it to happen, or think that it is an unattainable dream.  When we do that we are putting God in a box, which happens way too much already.  So join with me and let's pray not only for revival in our church, etc., but for personal revival.  That is what must happen before we see the great works that God wants to do through us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Personal Road Trip

This past week as my nephew Noah helped me finish the final video in the "Road Trip" series, we decided to take our own road trip just the 2 of us.  I thought I would post pictures so we could share with your our experience.

First stop we went to an amusement park and rode a roller coaster:

Next we visited an aquarium

Here we are somewhere flying in the sky

Finally we made a stop by the Eiffel Tower



Friday, February 6, 2009

Road Trip Pt. 4- Arriving to Your Destination

This week we wrapped up the Road Trip series.  I recapped the past 3 weeks about the spiritual journey we are on, and the crossroads and roadblocks we will face.  This week I talked about arriving to our destination.  The truth is however on a spiritual journey here on earth, we never really "arrive".  The Christian life is meant to be continuous, we should always be seeking God more and more each day.

I talked about the fact that we can't ever think we have "become" as Christians.  When we do, that is pride and we all know the saying- "Pride comes before the fall".  This is even evident in scripture.  We can read about this in Proverbs 16:18.  I also mentioned the story in Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector and how we can not be comparing ourselves to other Christians.

Paul tells us in Philippians 1:9-11 that we need to continue to grow in love, knowledge, and understanding.  As week seek God more each day, our love for Him will grow more.  And with that we will gain knowledge and understanding of God and His will for our lives.

We concluded the night with some time in prayer, praying for each other, for the youth leaders, and for what God has in store for us this year.

And here is the final video of the series