So I haven't posted here in a few weeks.  Been CRAZY busy with youth ministry as we head in to the school year and with worship stuff as our church transitions from separated worship services to one combined blended service.  I'll write about that soon enough, but here's a quick glimpse in to some big things going on in my head/heart/life lately:

- Relationships still beat programming/planning/production any day.  This summer we didn't have a trip/camp/getaway like we usually do in YM, so the overwhelming majority of my focus this summer was on building and strengthening relationships with the students in our ministry.  Whether it was eating lunch or dinner, hanging at church, bummin' around WalMart, shooting videos, or whatever, I re-learned this summer that the most effective youth ministry strategy is still relationships!

- Just because God is quiet doesn't mean that He's not working.  I'm still waiting for the big AHA revelation from God I've sensed looming under the surface for over a year now - a new leading in a fresh direction for Trisha and I and our ministry.  While a big spiritual breakthrough has yet to come, I've definitely been feeling the rumblings in the ground around me - so to speak - which let's me know that God is laying a foundation, cultivating seeds, and preparing some sort of a harvest.  If this all sounds very vague, spiritual, or metaphorical to you, it's because it's hard to put in to words some of these feelings.  But after all is said and done, I know I'll look back on this last year or so and realize what God was doing all along!

- Change is hard, but oh so necessary.  As we make a lot of transitions all over the place at FBCCS, I'm reminded how hard change really is.  But I'm also reminded that it's so necessary if we want to continue to grow and keep up with the movement of God in our community.  God never says "enough" and is happy to stand still, but instead His Spirit is always moving in fresh and new directions, bringing the life-changing power of the Gospel to people in ways that only He could!  While there are certain aspects of faith tradition and daily Christian life that should always be treasured and honored, there is also a need for us to be ready to change when God leads us to!

That's just a bit.  So much more is going on right now, but I'll have to write about that later!

For now,

- Tim B.
Last Friday was the "Day of Silence" - a day set aside to recognize the bullying/oppression/persecution of anyone who identifies themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual.  I had wanted to write some thoughts on the day since we work with many students who are gay or lesbian or struggling with their sexuality in some way or another, but couldn't find the words to do an entire blog post on it.

Luckily our friends at Dare2Share posted a great article on the Soul Fuel section of their website, and I'd love to pass on the link to you.  You can click right here to check out their thoughts, and I'd love to hear any of your thoughts in a comment on this post!

- Tim
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

This morning I talked with our students about problems.  Every teenager goes through different types of problems - the most common ones, in their opinions, were loneliness, peer pressure, relationships with the opposite sex, temptation to use drugs or alcohol, and difficulties at home and/or with their parents.

I brought up that there are two types of problems every human being faces:

- Problems that we CAN do something about.  By changing a habit, behavior, or taking some kind of an action, making a difference is within our ability, albeit with the grace and strength of God to guide us.

- Problems that we can NOT do anything about.  These are problems that, for whatever reason, are out of our control.  Perhaps we are victims of circumstance or environment or maybe we're just stuck in the situation we're in with no "out".

Whatever type of problems we are facing - ones that are inside or outside of our control - the Bible says that God will comfort us in the midst of our storms.  I encouraged our students (and would love to encourage you) to remember that God comforts us in the midst of problems for two reasons:

- To prove Himself as "the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort".  To get the glory He deserves as a never-ending source of strength and peace.

- To shape and prepare us for future ministry.  If we are aware of this - that God comforts us in our struggles so that we can comfort others - it makes getting through the valleys much more bearable and even gives us a sense of purpose as we walk through them.

Are there problems in your life you are asking God to help you sort through?  Maybe some of this will help you.  Leave a comment on this post sharing your story or how I could pray for you!