August

It all began after Operation Everything this past year.

I was exhausted.

Even more so than usual.

Each year after OE, you always end up exhausted, but I had never felt this tired. This exhausted.

I felt like I couldn’t go on. It was a struggle.

I was just about to burn out.

After praying myself and seeking the counsel of those who speak into my life, I decided to do something that I had never done before. Effective August 1, 2014, I would step away from my responsibilities as a youth leader.

It was a hard decision.

There were fears.

There were doubts.

Man, were there ever questions…

Would the youth group survive without me?

Will the students that I’ve spent so much time discipling accept and understand this?

What will the members of the church think?

I took all of those questions, doubts and fears and dealt with them head on. I walked away.

It’s 4:47 p.m. on August 26th and I can say with complete confidence that it has been the best decision that I have ever made.

I learned so much about myself…

Too often, I view myself as the savior of the teens of the church. I’m clearly the one that did the work in bringing the students from where they were to where they are now.

I’ve realized that so much of who I am is tied into the teens. I’m the youth guy. I’m the powerpoint guy. I’m a small group leader. I’m the pop buyer. While these are true, this month has been a painful reminder that first and foremost, I am a child of the King. That and that alone should be enough.

August 10th was probably the hardest day of this whole sabbatical for me. I woke up with such a strong urge to go to the final FUEL. I felt like I had to be there. Youth group couldn’t run if I wasn’t going to be there. Very reluctantly I spent the evening at home, wondering what was going on. Wondering if I missed anything. I felt incomplete. I felt empty. I felt I missed something.

The next night, I stayed up late reading a book that I purchased a few months ago The Wisdom of the Enneagram.  The whole premise of the book is understanding your personality and how you can use the strengths and weaknesses of your personality to best connect to God.  Through the Enneagram, I’ve realized that my involvement in so many activities are tied to feelings that I’m worthless.  If I’m not doing anything with my time, I’m not worthwhile to anyone.  I have to feel needed.

This is why this month has been so hard.  I’ve done nothing this month for anyone at Delaware Grace to fill a need or be wanted.  I need to be needed.  Once I understood that, so much became clear.

I realized…

…I too often view myself as the savior of the teens.  That it is my work alone that has changed the teens from who they were to who they are.

…I suck at setting boundaries for myself.  Because so much of my worth comes from feeling worthwhile, it’s hard for me to take a day a week and rest in who God says that I am.  If I’m not spending time with the teens, or doing something for the church, why would anyone appreciate me?  How wrong this idea is!

…God’s grace and the beauty of the Gospel is something that I need to be reminded of daily.  If I don’t realize that it is the grace of God alone that I am saved and that it was in my train wrecked, sinful life that Jesus stepped into and rescued me from I so easily think that I am the savior of the teens and I need to do things so that God loves me.

I hope you take time today and realize who God says you are and what implications that has on your life.  When you realize that it is finished, you can rest in what God has already done.  You don’t have to keep on striving on making yourself lovely for God.

I cannot wait to get back involved in the lives of the students at Delaware Grace.  I’m so excited to watch what God will do in and through them this year and amazed that He allows me to play a part in His master plan.

 

For His Glory and our joy,

Zach

 

For His love is never, never, never based on our performance, never conditioned by our moods—of elation or depression. The furious love of God knows no shadow of alteration or change. It is reliable. And always tender. – Brennan Manning

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20 Things that happened to Jesus

Here’s a list of 20 things that happened to Jesus that all come from Isaiah 53:

 

  1. Jesus was ordinary in His humanity (verse 2)
  2. He was despised and rejected by men (verse 3)
  3. Jesus lived a life full of sorrow and suffering (verse 3)
  4. Jesus was constantly undervalued (verse 3)
  5. He was touched by our grief (verse 4)
  6. He was humbled by our sickness (verse 4)
  7. He was pierced (verse 5)
  8. He was crushed (verse 5)
  9. He was punished (verse 5)
  10. He was wounded (verse 5)
  11. Jesus became sin (verse 6)
  12. Jesus was oppressed (verse 7)
  13. Jesus was slaughtered (verse 7)
  14. Jesus was judged (verse 8)
  15. He was taken (verse 8)
  16. He was cut-off (verse 8)
  17. He was abandoned (verse 8)
  18. He was killed (verse 9)
  19. He became guilty (verse 10)
  20. He was tormented (verse 10)

That is what happened to Jesus.

 

Do you know who did this to Jesus?

 

YOU DID.

 

I DID.

 

IT WAS OUR SIN THAT HELD HIM TO THAT CROSS.  

 

OUR CHOICES.  

 

HE BORE THE SIN OF MANY AND MAKES INTERCESSION FOR THE TRANSGRESSOR.

 

Jesus’ death on the cross was the payment that God needed to provide my freedom.  Jesus paid the debt to God that I can be free.

 

It is finished!

 

There’s nothing I can do to improve or add to it.

 

It is settled!

 

“Our healing doesn’t come by making other people pay. Our healing begins when we understand that we made Jesus pay.  When we receive that the payment that God put on Him is enough, then we find we receive the power of standing up in the freedom, in the truth of who He is in us, in who we are in Him…It’s only when we come to understand that He forgave us, that we can have the power to walk in that new life, the new freedom.” – Louie Giglio

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Crappy Coffee

Image

 

This is a crappy cup of coffee.

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Your Spiritual guarantee

I want you to do something here.

I’ve put Ephesians 1:1-14 below, but I’ve changed a few things about it (I think I can do that…)

Any place where the word ‘you’ is found, I replaced it with a spot for you to put in your name.

Do it!

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Grace to ____ and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed ____ in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose ____ in him before the foundation of the world, that ____ should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined ____ for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed ____ in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of ____ trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon ____, in all wisdom and insight making known to ____ the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.

In him ____ have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him ____ also, when ____ heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of ____ inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Friends…this is good news!!

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Personal Update

I want to take some time and just do a little mind dump here.

Ever since O.E., I’ve been wrestling through who I am and what the rest of my life is going to be like. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what direction that I was going to. I wasn’t sure about a lot.

In times of uncertainty, I’m so grateful for a God who never leaves.

In times of uncertainty, I’m so grateful for spiritual truths found in scripture.

In times of uncertainty, I’m so grateful for people who speak truth into my life.

In times of uncertainty, I’m so grateful for honest, real, worship music.

Two of the podcasts that I frequently listen to have been going through Ephesians 1. In that chapter, Paul is discussing the fact that we do nothing to earn God’s love, grace and mercy. It all starts in the very first verse:

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, (Eph. 1:1)

Paul, is only an apostle because it is the will of God.  Paul did nothing.  As a matter of fact, Paul should have been the last person chosen by God.

I should be the last person chose by God.

But I Paul wasn’t.

I wasn’t.

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons (Eph. 1:4-5)

He chose Paul before the foundation of the world.

He chose me.

That is Good News!

He chose us before the world was created that we should be holy and blameless.

Why?

…to show off how great we are?

…to show how we have it all together?

No!

He chose us to bring Him glory! (Eph. 1:6)

Thank God for that!!

I’m not that great.

I don’t have it all together.

I am a mess.

But God still chose me!

I am loved!

God’s grace has never been about you.  It’s never been about me.  God’s grace is all about Him.

Friends -

This world we live in will tell us all types of lies and half-truths.

Know this:

In Christ, you are loved.

Ephesians 1 are promises for you, brother and sister.

Rest in them.

Find joy in them.

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FUEL recap 1/13/13

This past Sunday, we discussed guilt at FUEL.  What an awesome night.

Here are some quotes from the message:

Secrets lose their power when they are exposed to the light.

Too often our confession is a painkiller. It numbs the pain, but it doesn’t heal the wound.

All too often, we offer the “I’m sorry” confession to God because we don’t want to get out of the sin.

Worship

Greatly To Be Praised by Steve Fee

You Are by ALM:UK

Arms Open Wide by Brett Younker
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Not Guilty Anymore by Aaron Keyes

 

Remember, you’re not guilty anymore!  Let the guilt go!

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