He’s A Good, Good Father

this past june, due to the generosity of others, shanna and i had the opportunity to head to puerto rico for a week to celebrate our 10th anniversary. for those of us who live in the polar vortex that is the northeastern US, this was a significant upgrade!

for months prior to the trip shanna had been praying we’d get a specific room at the resort we stayed at. we had booked the cheapest room/package, and it was all set… so i honestly couldn’t understand why she was praying for this at all.

but she prayed nonetheless. and she prayed for the room next to the ocean, with the jacuzzi tub, and all the extras.

might as well go for it.

when we landed in PR and checked into the resort, i could see her nervously fidgeting as the receptionist rang us up. then, sure enough, the person helping us told us they had space and had decided to upgrade our room to an ocean-side suite, with the jacuzzi tub, and all the extras.

shanna just smiled and walked towards our room.

this may sound like a small thing, but for a pastor often jaded because i’m sometimes too close to the work of God in the lives of others… this was a profound and very special moment i won’t forget.

i believe the God of heaven intervened to give us a message i had long lost sight of:

he’s a good, good father who loves to give good, good gifts to his children.

“which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (matthew 7:9-11)

here’s why this kind of a truth is hard for me to sometimes accept:

we live in an extraordinarily, unbelievably, broken world.

we all are well-aware of our own brokenness. and we can just turn on the news to see the rest of humanity’s brokenness. however, on top of that, i often get to see the brokenness that doesn’t make the news. i have wrestling matches with God where i peg him with questions wondering why the h*** he didn’t step in and keep something horrible from happening? or why a newborn baby had to pass away at 2 weeks old to that family? or why so many dear and close to me struggle with relentless hurts, pain, and temptations with no promise of relief this side of heaven. i interact and engage with a level of brokenness every week that most of the world tries to ignore or sweep under the rug.

many times i wonder why God doesn’t just end it all, if in fact he truly is a good, good father.

it’s like a friend of mine recently stated after describing a situation illustrating an acute example of our brokenness:

“all i could do was lament that christ has not come back to heal all this already.”

fast-forward to this week.

this song has been playing in our home all week in the background.

there was nobody in the house wednesday morning when it first came on, and this song turned my busy morning into an impromptu worship session for me. tears flooded my eyes and i couldn’t get them to stop.

to my friends reading: you may not be there yet, and i want you to know that that is ok. though i’m here right now, i may not be here next week either.

today i believe he’s a good, good father. there is a coming a day when he will make all things right. and we hope for that day. we expect it to occur. and we groan for it.

“i consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. for the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. we know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:18-23)

so right now, we groan. but we groan with hope.

he’s a good, good father.

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Sincerely Freedom: Spoken Word Video By Nick Vitellaro

people sometimes wonder why i’m always talking about porn and it’s grip on young people these days.  i’ve been accused of teaching on sex too much.
frankly, i don’t think i have taught on it enough.
this video being launched RIGHT NOW by xxxchurch explains it in a better way and with more passion than i’ve yet seen.

it’s totally worth the 7 minutes to watch.

if you’re struggling and want freedom, you can find it!

Video: Hotel Hotel 2

for the last few years, several team members and i have really enjoyed the hotel hotel video.  one of them actually has it as his ring tone when i call him!  last night at the simply youth ministry conference, they released a second version. so fun!

be sure to head over to morethandodgeball.com for more videos they showed at the conference!

Bigger Is Better Video Clip

was doing some final message prep last night for my talk this morning on contentment and not chasing after “stuff” – and i saw this TV commercial come on in the background.  i ended up using it as a fun lead-in to a discussion on the world’s values.  might be something worth showing the next time you speak on something similar.

The Youth Worker’s Need For Sabbath

will be leaving soon for a week of vacation with the family to a cabin in virginia where there just so happens to be no internet, tv, or cell phone signal. we are beyond excited and in need of this time.

saw this new video by YS and was reminded of the value of unplugging and getting away to work on your own soul. i know that summer is crazy for us in student ministry, but if your next break isn’t scheduled yet, stop waiting!

I Love My Job

just got an email from youth specialties with this video. if you work with students, it’s totally worth the 3 minutes. we’re gonna show it at our next team meeting in a few weeks.

some of the most significant ministry to students really does happen between youth services.

thanks YS!

First World Problems Video

tipped off by some creative students, i used this video recently in a talk. turned out to be a big hit. feel free to grab it and use it the next time you touch on the topics of entitlement, complaining, or the needs of others around the world.

Someone Worth Dying For

i’m not sure why certain songs mean more to me some days than others. but this one resonates with a lot of what’s been on my mind and heart these days. maybe it’ll encourage you.

Each Of US Can Do Something

just saw this powerful video over on morethandodgeball.com.  i love the creativity and some of the thought-provoking, powerful lines in it. it’s totally worth the 3 1/2 minutes. thanks luke st. hilaire for putting it out there!

Footprints In The Sand Parody

i grew up with the “footprints in the sand” poem on the walls of our home and on coffee mugs everywhere. this video parody i found over at morethandodgeball.com made me laugh out loud really really hard. definitely gotta use this sometime soon…

enjoy!