Here's an article I wrote for this month's edition of our church newsletter - enjoy!

Last week Trisha, Grayson, and myself had the awesome opportunity to spend a week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Being on vacation with a six-month-old is an interesting experience.  In the past one of my favorite parts of vacation was being able to go to bed without setting an alarm clock and having the chance to sleep in till 10 or 11 if I wanted to.  Well, I have a feeling that those days are long gone!

My wonderful son "provided" me the opportunity to get up several mornings to see the sunrise.  As we sat on the beach together watching the sun break over the surface of the water, it was a great chance to pray, reflect, and seek God's heart for my own life and also for our ministry here at FBCCS.  In those morning hours I really felt God impress upon me two things.

First, He reminded me that there is much work to be done here.  There are so many things He wants to accomplish in our midst!  I have a renewed heart and passion to see young people give their lives to Jesus, to see families restored and renewed with a passion to grow in their faith together, and to see our youth make a difference in their schools, their community, and their world!

I was also reminded that to achieve God's will both in life and in ministry, we've got to remember the simple truths that we are so often distracted from.  The most important things an individual, a church, or a ministry can focus on is to:

KNOW God.
GROW together.
GO serve.

These are biblical values (see Matt. 20:27-28; Mark 12:30, 15:16; Acts 1:8; Hebrews 10:25; and many, many others) that we have been working on imparting to students for the last five years.  My hope is that over the next several months we can recapture a passion and a heart to live out these values in our everyday lives and in our efforts as a youth ministry.

It's back to the basics, and I'm excited for what God wants to do in Youth Ministry here at FBCCS!  Will you join me in praying for, and possibly serving, the youth of our church and community?

Renewed, rededicated, refreshed,

- Tim Blake
Youth Minister, FBCCS 
 
 
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I love Easter Sunday.  What a joy it is to celebrate and center ourselves on the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This morning I taught middle and high school students on the evidence for and significance of the resurrection.  I opened with this question and statement:

Is Jesus dead?  All of Christianity depends upon this question.  If Jesus is dead, Christianity is dead along with Him.  But if He is alive, then those who follow Him are made alive with Him!

Everything we believe as Christians hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.  As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:17, if Christ is still dead then our faith is futile and we are still dead in our sins.

Here are some questions to consider when it comes to the resurrection of Jesus (thanks to Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill in Seattle):

If Jesus is dead, why did his followers no longer fear death & suffer martyrdom boldly trusting they would rise one day?

If Jesus is dead, why do we not know where he is buried as dozens of “holy men” had enshrined tombs in that day?

If Jesus is dead, how can we explain why the first Christians starting practicing baptism to show death, burial, & resurrection?

If Jesus is dead, how can we explain why early Christians stopped worshiping on the Saturday Sabbath & instead changed to Sunday, the day Jesus rose?

He's alive!

- Tim
 
 
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This is an article I wrote for youthministry.com earlier this year.

One of my biggest struggles lately has been coming to terms with my inability to birth passion within the lives of students.  Hard as I try, I just can’t seem to force passion on them.

Don't get me wrong.  I believe that in youth ministry part of our calling is to foster passion within the lives of young people - passion for God's fame, His glory, His kingdom coming, and their story within that Kingdom.  I think you could look at it as tending soil, if you're into agricultural metaphors.

The thing is though, you can water the ground all day long but if there's not a seed below the surface, nothing is going to grow there.  In the same way, if there are no seeds of Godly passion within a young man or woman's soul, our efforts to inspire them for the sake of the Gospel are, ultimately, in vain.

Even though I know this in my head, I still get heart-frustrated when faced with the spiritual apathy of so many young people, especially the ones who have been in church their whole lives and think that the whole thing is one giant cliché.

At the core of this struggle, there’s a fundamental truth I have to grasp:

I am not God.

Shocking, right?

In John 6:44 Jesus says "…no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him..."  I just have to keep reminding myself that God is the One doing the real work in the lives of the students in our ministry.  I am, in a very real way, just there to work the soil of their lives.  And in the same way that gardening or farming takes time, patience, hard work, and a willingness to wait for the right season to see the harvest, God will, in His perfect timing, plant the seed and cause it to grow.

So here’s my encouragement to you.  Let’s keep working.  Let’s keep watering.  Let’s keep tilling the soil and getting down deep into the lives of young people and praying for the opportunity to witness God-planted seeds of passion take root and break through to the surface of their lives
.  And let's remember that when we are frustrated with the blank stares, the apathetic attitudes, and the compromising behavior, this simple truth: we are not God.
 
But He is.  And He can do anything.