College Transitions

The new FYS program is shifting here at college and it doesn't seem like it is shifting for the better...

Rather than mingling incoming students with current students and even to other majors, we will be dividing the freshmen class by major and interest. We already have the cliques happening, now the university will be supporting this model. Great.

This wouldn't bother me so much if we didn't already have the cliques formed. We are now encouraging and even supporting college students to be more exclusive in their peer groups.

Cliques naturally occur over time; however, the big difference now is that the university is supporting them. Now peer groups or cliques can have their benefits. It is right that it will help the college transition for incoming freshmen. However, how well are we sticking to the mission of the university that states " prepare students for thoughtful and informed living..."

The best way, in my opinion to prepare students for thoughtful and informed living would be to integrate them amongst different peer groups. Otherwise you will have church workers who graduate and go into the real world and are shocked into remission because of all the partying and drugs there are in the world. If the university wants students to be informed about living after graduation, let's not try to create this utopia of people who think just like us while in college.

Granted this whole thing isn't at the fault of the new FYS direction, it has been something that has happened at this university since my second year here. And granted this isn't something that can be fixed overnight or even potentially fixed at all, I am merely voicing my opinion.


Hey! Are you Lutheran? What's a Lutheran?


We are entering a generation in which denominations are not predominately known by young adults. People no longer find denominations significant for belief in Jesus Christ; in fact, some find denominations restricting to their faith.

It isn't even that strong to say that this generation is post-church. I've been talking to Pastor Weber and he was saying that people who are considered "regular attenders" are now only attending church once a month! What has happened to cause this extreme?

When churches see that word they are scared. They are afraid that the more and more people don't attend church the less people they will be able to reach. Well, there are two things flawed, 1. You mostly reach people outside the church walls and 2. There are more people today that consider themselves spiritual and even believe in God than there will ever be in the pews on Sunday morning.

Why is it so difficult to get people who believe in God and who are spiritual into the church doors? I think we are asking the wrong question. Maybe we should be asking how can we as Church (capital "C") reach to those who are spiritual and believe in God but don't have a firm community of believers?

This is what stems from the Acts 2 Church post I made earlier, we have people who believe in God and want more, but they don't have that sense of community. We are called to be a fellowship of believers. Let's not close our doors to those who may not think like us.

I have grown very fond of the idea of post-denominational-ism and post-church because it means that people are finally finding true deep meaning in their faith rather than spouting what everyone else is saying. The one difference however is the support network that we have in the church buildings. This extends outside the church building as well. I have a hard time believing that if Jesus came back tomorrow, that He would be happy at how exclusive some of our church bodies are. We may not claim to be exclusive, in fact, I know that we don't claim to be exclusive; but it is through our actions that people will come to know Christ.

Jesus put it best in saying that "you are the light of the world, a city on a hill" let us let God's light shine through to those people who are at the point of abandoning church and show them what true community is.

Acts 2 Church

This has become a great passion of mine throughout the past few months. I have felt a call to start a movement along the lines of the Acts 2 Church. This demonstration of Church is something that has grown into this post-modern world. In today's world we need to have a greater sense of community and sharing, the dog-eat-dog world doesn't work anymore and people are starting to understand that.

I have seen more and more people who are willing to give up what they have to help those who need. This is the exact community that is happening in the second chapter of Acts.

"All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity--all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved." Acts 2:42-47

This form of utopia can only happen in Scripture, or so we think. I'd like to point out that before any of this came about, the Holy Spirit was present in a very real way. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit only that the believers were able to have this sense of community.

I know and can tell you with full confidence that the Holy Spirit still works in people today. This gets rid of our excuse of being "sinful" people and unable to even attempt this sort of community. God worked a miracle within that community and He hasn't stop performing miracles to this day.

Here is my grand vision to start this movement. I will attempt to implement a communal offering at Redeemer in Marquette, MI. The premise of this communal offering would be for youth to give in what they do not need for the week and then on Wednesday youth night, it will be divided amongst youth that do need it. This will be a process led by me and discerned by myself as well as a youth board.

I will try this for a few weeks maybe even a month, if it doesn't work too well, or if I see that the youth don't need the money that they share; then I will see about having the youth share with the college kids that are in need. This would be a good way for inter-generational ministry.

Speaking of inter-generational ministry, another big part of the ministry that I hope to implement is involving the college kids with the Sr High Youth. A way to give them sort of a hope for faith life when they graduate. This would also be sort of a mentor program so that the college kids have a chance to give back to the support that the Sr High Youth had given to them.

That is the very tip of the iceberg for me, many years to go and many ways to transform this ministry of the Acts 2 Church.

Community of Exclusivity

I must be very careful with this next post because it is a very sensitive topic. I want to be crystal clear from the beginning that I am not being accusatory; I am merely expressing the concerns that I have for this campus community. This concern is not only a personal concern but it is a concern that I have heard expressed by other students of the campus community so this is not a personal attack. I hope and pray that God will speak through me with love and gentleness as I continue on.

I have witnessed this community from freshmen year shift from being all-inclusive to very much exclusive. As a new freshmen, I was warmly welcomed just as I was and I didn't feel like a freshmen; but a part of the greater campus community. I didn't have to do anything to be accepted. There were no conditions to the friendships that I was making and it was the greatest thing and the thing that I needed especially coming from my high school experience.

Since then, I have been shut out from most of the campus community. I used to be invited to do all sorts of things, the first week of freshmen year, we played ultimate frisbee every night and things were great. I now have to invite myself to things if I want to go, and when I do invite myself I get this uncomfortable awkward feeling from everyone there. Not only that, but I don't feel safe being myself because I get shot down by a number of the people who claim to be my friends.

I am not saying that I am this perfect person, high and mighty, I have moments in which I am mean to others, condescending, etc. I admit that I am a sinner and I recognize that. I make a conscious effort to be nice to everyone that I meet, without prejudice. It seems like that concept is lost on the part of the campus community.

I am all for being comfortable around the people you are close friends with, but if someone new comes along and really tries to be a part of your friendship group; don't reject them because they aren't like you.

We are no better than a public high school with the amount of cliques that we have and the sad thing is, we tell others that we don't even like cliques! We have church worker cliques, drama cliques, athletics cliques, cliques who don't believe in cliques, the list can go on forever.

The limited grasp of community that we have is with our own exclusive group of people. I am guilty of this as well, granted, I am not part of the church worker clique; I am still kind of my own clique. I don't spend much time reaching out to other people.

The problem doesn't lie with any particular group of people or person, it is a community, a group effort. God calls us into community to prevent against this separation. I hope that as I continue to work on branching out and making new friends who might not put me down as much; I pray that my readers do as well.

I want to share my congratulations and blessings on our new Campus Ministry Associate Shelly Schwalm. I pray for guidance given unto her as we as a community work towards being all-inclusive rather than exclusive.

I really want to stress that we are not an exclusive club, God doesn't work with exclusive members. God is all-inclusive so I wish that we could demonstrate that to people, especially the new incoming class of 2015.

Conversion or Presence?

Acts 9 talks about the conversion of Saul. This is a very powerful moment in the witness of God's power through the Holy Spirit. The big thing that most churches focus on in this section is the conversion of Saul. I want to look at the disciple Ananias.

Here is this follower of The Way who was in Damascus and he gets this call from the Lord. Ananias had this call to approach Saul on Straight Street in Damascus and was told to basically baptize the man. This wouldn't be too big of a deal except for the fact that Saul was arresting and persecuting followers of The Way. Ananias' devotion, despite his reluctance, to the Lord made it possible for the majority of the New Testament to be written.

When I reflect upon the text, I wonder what would have happened if Ananias never went to see Saul? Would we still be recognized as Christians today?

The beautiful thing and the point of this post is the fact that Saul had already been converted by the time Ananias met him. Ananias was not called to convert Saul, but he was called to be present with Paul. The ministry of presence. The discipleship practice of presence.

The simple act of being present and caring for people is more effective than any agenda we could offer. It is a turn off for most people when they find out that you are only friends with them because you want to convert them.

Why do youth ministry?

Reflecting on my experience with my field work congregation of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Plymouth, MN; I have realized why I want to do youth ministry. There is a sense of vulnerability with youth that you don't necessarily find in adults. There are exceptions to some adults as well as to some youth; however, for the most part youth are striving to learn and challenge what they have been taught.

It is so easy to teach somebody who is willing to learn. The reality is that I will not be teaching just youth. I will teach lifespan learning and that intimidates me because there are several adults who are very set in their beliefs. This should not be an excuse for me to not minister to them however.

I guess I am preparing myself for a long journey in the ministry and mission of God.

Mission Trip or Ministry Trip?

If readers remember back a few posts ago, I commented on the distinction between ministry and mission. Ministry being taking care of the needs of fellow believers and preparing them for mission which is taking care of the needs of the greater community. Well, today I want to talk about mission trips or ministry trips.

I have yet to be on a mission trip. I have been told that I have been on mission trips in the past, the trip has been a recurring one to Shoshone Base Camp in Prichard, ID. However, when I look back at that trip and those experiences, it felt more like ministry to me.

Yes, we were sent on the mission trip to take care of the needs of the camp as well as the needs of the community via chopping down trees to make lumber, painting houses to sustain winter, etc. etc. However, the key thing that I saw missing from the missional aspect of these trips was that it was only temporary. Missional living should be a way of life that never ends.

The "mission trips" that we went on were more like "ministry trips" because they tailored significantly more to the spiritual growth of current believers than they did live in mission. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of mission that goes on with those trips; however, the mission shouldn't stop there.

We have gotten into this funk that makes us think that we can go to church once a week to fulfill God's needs. Where we can go on a mission trip once a year and then God will be happy with us. This way of thinking is so closely related to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Let's not go on mission trips that are one-time things, but let's do ministry trips that teach us to LIVE the mission.


Last night was my first ever chance to lead a youth night entitled Antioch. Antioch is in reference to Acts 11:26 in which the first believers were called Christians. I thought that was kind of neat being the youth are learning what it means to be Christian and live a Christian life.

The big significance that I learned last night was that Christian life cannot be a standard amongst all people and age-groups. High school youth are mature young individuals; however, they still love being active and acting goofy. We as adults tend to expect very deep insight from the youth that we serve. As I look back at my high school experience, there were some things that I never understood as a high school youth and I don't think that should be expected of our youth.

Don't get me wrong, we shouldn't "dumb down" our teachings for high school youth. Instead, how about we allow our high school youth drive our teachings? Rather than stealing the youth from our youth, let's try and feed that side of their life and perhaps they will be further receptive to God who allows youth to just be. Youth.

Full Extend of His Love

Just a little reflection on Jesus washing His disciples' feet and inviting them to rest their head on His chest.

Come, lay your head on My chest
And listen closely to God's heartbeat
What do you hear?

The war gongs of battle
As men's shouts prolong?
The low grazing cattle
As their Savior long...

Come, lay your head on My chest
And listen closely to God's heartbeat
What do you hear?

The burning torches
They chase after me
With pitch forks
But I refuse to flee...

Come, lay your head on My chest
And listen closely to God's heartbeat
What do you hear?

The chains that bind
Whips that crack
The blaspheming kind
Nailed on my back

Come, lay your head on My chest
And listen closely to God's heartbeat
What do you hear?

I encourage to listen not only hear
of the love that I demonstrated do not fear
as men may hate may make you shed a tear
but nothing is greater nothing comes near
to the blood that I shed on that cross so dear


In attempt to understand the compatibility of man and woman I have turned to scripture as my guide. Here is what I have found:

When looking at the creation of man, God knows that it isn’t good for man to be alone. While man is running around in the garden naming off all these creatures as he communes with God; God has the realization that man needs someone to keep him tied down. (haha). But seriously, why are men and women different but so uniquely compatible?

The source of the compatibility can be found in Genesis. God said “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” (Genesis 2:18). There is one word in this verse that gets the most controversy today and that is the word “helper”; this word does not mean servant. God didn’t want to make someone who would be there to serve man.

Anyways, God began to bring animals to the man asking him to name them. This began the compatibility process. God knew exactly what man needed, but God wanted to give man the free will to decide. Man found no connection with any of the beasts of the land, livestock of the field, birds of the air or fish of the sea; man was still alone. God stepped in.

God took that time to execute the first of His many plans. God caused man to go into deep sleep (this was the first recorded use of anesthesia), and then God pulled one of man’s ribs from him and closed the opening back up. From man’s rib, he formed woman and brought her to the man to be named. “Finally!” the man exclaimed, “this one is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh and she shall be called woman because she was taken from man. This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” Genesis 2:23-24

What was so different about this creature than any other creature? That’s exactly it, this creature was not different from man. Both man and woman share the breath of life, they are spiritual beings. Rob Bell in his movie entitled Everything is Spiritual states that God’s creation was a progression. It progressed from less complicated land, sea, sky; to trees and seed; and then to animals; and finally it culminated with mankind. Mankind is the only creation that the breath of the Holy Spirit was breathed into. Man and woman have more in common than we see today.
There is a reason that the author says that man will be joined to his wife as one after leaving his father and mother. I wonder how this happens, when I see the amount of divorce and failed relationships of men and women in the world. It is a great mystery that this bond can even be made in a sin-rid world.

Paul writes about this line in Ephesians. He writes: “This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Ephesians 5:32. So when the writer talks about man leaving his father and mother he is talking about Jesus? Who would have ever thought that Jesus would be present that early on in creation?

All of a sudden everything seems to make much more sense. Christ is the man; Christ is the husband being joined to his wife, the Church as one. This glorious day will prove to be at the culmination of the ages, so how can we live this out today?
Relationships. Man and woman working together remaining compatible despite obvious distinctions. Men and women think differently, talk differently, act differently, and even live differently. The one thing that I have come to learn is that the one glue that holds men and women together is Christ. Just as Christ will be joined to His wife, the Church; may Christ be joined within you as you form relationships with the man who can never understand you, or the woman who is always so emotional. For Christ is the center of our lives and the center of our relationships. He will join your relationships as one.

Shout Out!

Hey readers!

This is a shout out to the blog that my friend made for his newborn baby boy! Daily pictures and story recordings of life as a newborn father. Check it out!

That is all.

Happy surfing!

New Domain!

Dear Readers,

In a recent paradigm shift, I have decided to purchase an official domain for this blog. Look forward to your continue reading and yes, this is the official blog post for today!

Happy reading!

Confession of the Church

After reading Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller. Things were put into perspective for me as a future professional church worker. I have realized that I am not the high and mighty rule in the Church, the Church doesn't have the authority to force people to believe.

I'm not saying that churches and church workers are currently going out and persecuting for Christ; however, there is always room for improvement. Witnessing and Evangelism for instance. I am not opposed to witnessing, but evangelism seems very wrong to me. We are not back in the days of crusades and physically beating people into believing, but how often do we mentally beat people into believing?

The big difference, in my opinion between witnessing and evangelizing is motive. When a person is a witness, they are passive and objective. A witness is someone that simply reflects the Glory of God to those around him/her in order to allow the Spirit to make a difference in the heart of the unbeliever. An evangelist uses words to, in effect, convince an unbeliever into believing. Both have their purpose, however, what are the motives?

As a witness, I will bring and show all Glory to God and trust that He will shape the faith of those that see me. This doesn't mean that I am lazy, or ashamed of sharing the Gospel. I am merely saying that I will not form a relationship with someone with the strict goal of conversion.

As an evangelist, I will speak of the wonderful Love and Forgiveness found in Jesus Christ to those that I know and those whom I have built a strong foundation of trust. To those that I care deeply about and for that reason will allow them to hear about my faith in my God. I will not go into the dark alley and stand on a pedestal and rant upon the sinners of the world and how the world is doomed and how everyone needs to repent, etc. etc.

This is where the confession of the Church comes in. I, as a believer, confess that I have for too long been on top of my pedestal charging and judging unbelievers; people who are dearly loved by God; with sin and in need of repentance. I realize that I am just like the unbeliever and repent of my sins towards fellow people loved by God. I pray that God gives me the eyes of Jesus to look upon everyone with Love and Mercy.

I am no Super Hero

I have been reading over the internship documents from Redeemer and the more I read them the more I become afraid that I cannot do what it takes to help the youth of that area come to know Christ. I am horribly inadequate. I am very talkative, but only after I warm up to people. Sure I play guitar, sure I am young and "hip" and can relate, but the more I look at those qualities, the more I think to myself. "Does it really matter?"

Does the Church, the body of believers, need a youth minister who can save the youth of this next generation? No. Does the Church need someone who can save the youth of this next generation? Absolutely. I just got done reading probably the most helpful thing about my future ministry, it is from the book Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli. Mark is talking about what churches in Southern California were looking for in a youth minister. Here is what he finds out: "A 20 something, attractive, guitar-playing, charismatic, youth-savvy, hip, hard-working, van-driving, free-spirited, denominationally-loyal, Jesus-loving, Bible-carrying, old-people-friendly, faith-filled, fiscally responsible, youth leader (preferably male with decorative facial hair and a mountain bike strapped to his car roof - or, if he's unavailable, a spunky, to-die-for, fashion-conscious female who will cry once on youth Sundays and twice on summer mission trips)." (Page 141).

Here is where I say, uh-oh... Looks like I won't be able to take a call to Southern Cali... :( Then, after thinking about how ridiculous this is, I begin to wonder what these churches actually need. The answer of course is a Savior. I look at this quote and I fear that ministry has become some sort of marketable trait. Ministry, true ministry, is the work of the Holy Spirit and cannot be judged.

I cannot be that youth minister to the people at Redeemer, I'm not a super hero, part of me feels inadequate, but a huge part of me knows that the folks at Redeemer are going to receive something so much greater than me. I am going to give them Jesus.


Thoughts of today are surrounded on ministry. I have found my calling and that is ministry. There is a distinction between ministry and mission. Ministry is serving and building up current followers of Christ and mission is finding those to provide ministry to through non-threatening environments and activities.

I am not opposed to mission, and I am not saying that mission shouldn't be a part of every Christian life. I am merely saying that there is a time for ministry and a time for mission, and I've got the ministry time covered :)

I have gotten the entire annual report for Redeemer Lutheran Church read through and found out what ministry things that the current intern, Phil Morris, has been doing. I am truly excited and scared at the same time for this coming year. Phil has taken the harder part of the time with the church being as he basically reformed the youth ministry that had been semi-dormant. It will be my responsibility to continue ministry where Phil left off.

My biggest fear would be planning events and then having them fall through due to lack of attendance. I am not afraid of meeting new people, planning ministry, or leading bible study discussions; I'm actually really excited for that.

Ministry has been something that I have been waiting to do full time ever since I graduated high school, now I will get the opportunity to form quality ministry for a full year. I will take the learnings and experiences from the coming year into my professional career in ministry.

There is a book called Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. I highly recommend reading it for any of you looking at forming ministry in the future. Shane talks about how he had a house that he bought and lived in. This wasn't an ordinary house, it was an open house. Shane left this house open for anybody to come in and have fellowship and free food and drink. Shane would often have school kids coming to the house after school to work on homework and get free tutoring and food.

This type of ministry is something that has been on my heart for a long time. I will have the opportunity to provide this house to the college students of Northern Michigan University and I am so anxious to allow God to work miracles through that!

In essence, ministry is what I'm called to do and I am fully prepared to answer that call. May God use me to further His Kingdom.

A New Day

After reflecting on this year's Easter season, I have come to the conclusion that every day should be a mini-Easter in my life. Beginning every morning with the resurrected Christ will revolutionize every thing that happens throughout the day. Every decision that I make, every thought I have, and every thing I do, will be the resurrected Christ within me.

I have been reading a book called Contemplative Youth Ministry by Mark Yaconelli. This is a great book that can be used for Youth Ministry in the Church. Mark talks about The Inner Voice. The Inner Voice is basically having this connection with God throughout the day. It usually takes place during inbetween times, taking the random times that we are walking to class, or to our car and speaking to God and listening to His Voice in your day. I have been doing this for the past week and it has been amazing.

Often times, we are so swarmed with busyness that we don't leave enough room to hear God's Voice. God still speaks to His people to this day, we just haven't been able to hear. A key word in the Christian faith is availability. We must be available to God.

It is a new day. Every night I die and my sin dies with Jesus on the Cross, and every day I rise with the resurrected Christ.

I pray that the resurrected Christ be with you all and give you peace.

Name Change

One of my two followers may have noticed that I have changed the name of my blog. This is in honor of my one year DCE internship in Marquette, MI (as mentioned below). A good friend once told me that it snows 400 days a year in Marquette, MI; so here's to you Redeemer Lutheran Church and get ready for some snow!

Land of Snow!

Marquette, Michigan. That is where I will be spending my one year DCE internship. I am closing up my fourth year of school at Concordia University - St Paul and opening the book to my next year with an internship experience. As a Director of Christian Education, I will be serving ministry for the year at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Marquette, Michigan. I am exceptionally prepared for God to work through me and within me during this time of growth and change.

Some of you may be asking, where in the world is Marquette, Michigan? Well, here is a map to help you out. I show you a map because I cannot use my hand via the internet.

That's right, it is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A friend gladly also pointed out to me that it is the 3rd most snowiest city in the nation. If that's not enough, I talked with Pastor Weber, the senior pastor there; and he said that they had a mild winter this past season in which they had only 141" of snow.
Another friend of mine said when he was there serving a church, the houses have a second story door without a porch. Upon inquiring what the door is there for, a resident said that was where they parked their snowmobiles! This is unfathomable to me, all I can hope for is a two story house. I may have an easy "call in" option for work if I am caved into my house!
I am right off of the Northern Michigan University campus, which serves as a great young adult ministry opportunity and look forward to being a refuge home for those attending the university. This is a dream come true because I have always had the concept of opening my home up as a safe home for anyone who needs anything.

Overall, this is a very exciting time for me, the love of my life is being more supportive than I could ever need and I hear nothing but good things about the congregation I will be serving. I look forward to allowing God to work in and through me this coming year to better form me for full time ministry.