Spiritual Disciplines

Spiritual Disciplines

CraigBarrackBlogPhoto

Craig Barrack trusted Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was a senior in high school.  Less than a year later, God called him to the ministry.  He has been serving as faithfully as he knows how through good and bad times since 1995.  He finished his Master’s Degree in Youth Ministry under one of the best mentors.  He is married to his college sweetheart, Tammy, and they serve together in Crandall Texas at Central Baptist Church.  Their son, Stephen reaps the benefits of being their youth group mascot, serving Christ alongside of them as well.

 

Ministry is one of life’s 24/7/365 jobs. No other calling is so rewarding yet so draining. In the end, though Jesus is our reward, and He graces us with His Spirit to move in and through us. From day to day, how does someone access the gifts and wisdom that God promises?

Five S’s of the Spiritual Disciplines
Security in your call is necessary. Without a solid and secure foundation that is your call to the ministry, your footing at times will seem unsure and unstable. Go back to the time when God spoke into your heart and your life through His voice, circumstances and those around you. How did you feel? What was going on? How did God speak into your life? Those memories will spark in you the security that God did it. He made the impact and presented the call. No pastor, board, teen, parent, or bad day will ever take that away.

Self discipline is essential (1Timothy 1:7). Your commitment to grow and develop your craft will carry you far. So, manage your time. Eliminate and deal appropriately with each distraction. Self-discipline will help you grow in your walk and have a real impact on your ability to resist temptation. This will help you grow significantly. For without growth there will be no fruit. For without fruit, there is no evidence of abiding in Christ (John 15).

Self Examination is critical. You must be keenly aware of your weakness and strengths. What are the things that God could use for the Kingdom? On the contrary, what are the things that if you did not watch closely, could cause you to lose your testimony or disqualify you? Be keenly aware of who you are and of what you are capable? Louie Giglio once said, “Anyone at anytime, given the right circumstances is capable of anything.”

Solitude is a must. Find times to refresh and remain in His presence without the distractions and other commitments weighing on your mind (Mark 1:35, Psalm 46:10). The whole bottom line of Psalm 46:10 is that we are refreshed and renewed so that He may be exalted in all the earth. We have that much impact. We must worship personally. When we lead, often we are thinking of logistics, timeline, details, maybe even praying for others. This makes continuing to grow and serve well difficult. Even Jesus had personal times of solitude often before times of great crisis.

Soak up every ounce of nourishment you can from reliable resources. Find a mentor. Stay grounded in His Word. Stay committed to knowing and abiding in the Word. If you do not continue to go to the well (the Word) for nourishment, you will run dry and so will those whom you serve. Make sure you are soaking up from wise mentors and others who are in your peer group. It is essential to have people that you can go to and bounce ideas off or even be someone who corrects you and disciplines you in love.

#MySummerStory

#MySummerStory

ScottHuffBlogPhoto

Scott Huff serves as the Student Pastor at Coastal Community Church in Charleston, SC. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Hannibal LaGrange University and a Master’s of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Scott and his wife, Lori, had their first child, Carly, in August of 2014. Scott is also the owner of www.stuminsidekick.com – a resource community for student pastors. Scott has a calling on his life to impact the lives of teenagers with the Gospel and to lead them to strengthen their faith for use in an ever-changing world. He has been a FUGE camp pastor since 2011 and is aggressive in the area of campus ministry as a mission field for teenagers. You can follow him on Twitter: @scotthuff

FUGE this past summer was extremely encouraging. I love seeing students as they worship with everything they have. They are intent on listening to the messages and serving in the community in which they have adopted for the week. I was even more encouraged by a young man at FUGE at Charleston Southern University this summer when he approached me after my message on one particular night.

Nick was an 18 year old young man who had grown up in a Christian home as the son of a pastor. He attended Christian school and was in the church building every time the doors were opened. He knew all of the Bible stories one might hear while being in church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. He even knew all of the lessons taught in vacation Bible school, children’s church, and AWANA’s. But what he never knew was Jesus Christ personally through his own, sincere and authentic faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior of his life. Most of us would ask: how does this happen to a young man who is entrenched in the very family dynamic, program filled life, and Biblically saturated teachings we all would say is an ideal situation?

I learned from talking to Nick that he had head knowledge but never heart knowledge. He knew what he was supposed to do and think but he never really knew why it was so important. He knew that Jesus loved him and wanted him in church, to read his Bible, to pray and worship, and to be nice to everyone by being a good kid. The ideas of what it means to be a Christ-follower never transferred over into his own heart where he was doing these things because he had a relationship with Christ. He actually thought these “disciplines” made him a believer; therefore he was good to go! But God moved in this young man’s heart that night and he realized he was doing these things out of discipline, not out of love for his Savior. He turned his life over to Christ because he was convicted about the sin in his life and because he was separated from God due to that sin.

Where did things go wrong for this young man while growing up? Was his Christian school to blame? What about his Christian family including his dad, the pastor? Maybe the programs at his church were not organized well or were taught by inferior teachers? I don’t believe it was any of these things. I believe God moved at a particular time in his life for a reason. I believe God was writing Nick’s story a little different than we would. I believe God wanted Nick to grow up in these surroundings before realizing his sin separated him from God and the “churchy things” he was doing were not closing the gap. God moved at FUGE that week and Nick is now a child of God for all eternity.

SLA:  Authentic Community

SLA: Authentic Community

payton

Payton Moree has served the past two summers as an SLA in Nashville. She is originally from Metro Atlanta and is currently pursuing a degree in Global Studies from Boyce College at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Payton loves to laugh, drink coffee, get new stamps on her passport, and attend Fuge Camps! 

 

 

I fell in love with this group of people; these eight people who I lived life with, seven who were my age and one who was a tad older, our fearless leader. This woman led us with her whole heart and she led us oh so well. I often get asked why these people whom I just met matter so much. Well, it’s because you learn every part of them, you know what they like and what they don’t. You learn their fears and their dreams. You know what makes them laugh and at times see them cry. You live together (same gender of course, keep it FUGE people), eat almost every meal together, worship together, do laundry together, have Bible study together, serve together, and see life change happen together. I say all this to say you literally do every aspect of life together.

I’m talking about SLA, Student Leader Apprentice, the program where I had the ability to serve for two summers, a total of four weeks. During the course of my four weeks at SLA, I was challenged to live in an authentic, give-all-you-can community. Every aspect of life was shared and this brought about radical life change!

One night during my second year, I remember sitting in a circle with my group and the things God had been teaching became real to me. That night I just laid down everything that was going on and did God move in power that night! I found myself broken as I admitted the things God was showing me. I began to cry in front of these people for the first time. I allowed them to see my broken struggling self. As I poured out my heart, I took a moment to glance at those in my group— not a dry eye. I realized then that they were crying because they shared this burden with me, they were feeling this pain and brokenness with me. Just like an authentic community.

However, I couldn’t just sit on this. This authentic community gave me an opportunity to serve, because it had given me a small glimpse of what Heaven is like and I wanted others to have that as well! I wanted everyone to see this glimpse with me, so when I went into the surrounding community of Nashville, I shared what I could and I offered those I encountered the most important thing I had, Jesus Christ. When you experience authentic community in Christ, it leads to better service and this is exactly what SLA is if you make it.

payton2          payton4

SLA is a two-week program offered by FUGE Camps for students who have completed their junior and senior years of high school. This is a two-week program available at Belmont University in Nashville and Glorieta in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Students learn leadership skills and shadow a FUGE staffer. Applications are available online at www.fuge.com. Deadline to apply is February 9, 2015.

 

 

#MySummerStory

#MySummerStory

Tim BertramArtist, Preacher, Substitute Teacher. Tim uses his talents as an artist to encourage and challenge listeners to follow an incredible God to anywhere He will take them. Tim has an art ministry called “God’s Graffiti” where he travels everywhere proclaiming Jesus through word and art and encouraging the Body to use their gift. He has worked in student ministry for over 20 years, pastors camps, speaks at schools and in his free time substitute teaches. Tim and his wife Sherry, just became empty nesters! Their two children, Victoria and Tanner attend Murray State University. Victoria has served as a CentriKid staffer and will serve with MFuge this coming summer. The Bertram’s are a FUGE family. They live and serve in Paducah, Kentucky. You can find out more about Tim and God’s Graffiti Ministry at www.godsgraffiti.org

 

I remember the first year I stopped taking students to Centrifuge and started taking them to MFuge. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Centrifuge, but I was looking for something that would push my students to the next level in their spiritual growth and MFuge was just the place! Many of the students shared their displeasure with me changing their camp experience. Several thought that I had lost my mind!
Summer came. We arrived on campus at Belmont University and camp began. The students were excited, but a few were still unsure of the change in venue. After the first full day of being on site, three of my freshmen boys found me and said, “We need to talk to you”. My heart sank and my thoughts immediately ran to something going terribly wrong. I just knew they were going to tell me that we should have never changed camps.
We sat down together in the dorm room and they began to share with me about their day. All three boys were in the same track. They went to a Metro Nashville Parks facility where they were playing basketball with the children who hang out at the center. While playing basketball, they noticed a young boy named Cheico. Cheico was around nine years old and wore glasses. They told me that the lenses from his glasses kept falling out of the frames when he played. The glasses were taped together and fragile. Because the lenses kept falling out, Cheico had to quit playing basketball for the day because that was his only pair and his mother could not afford to buy him a new pair. This broke my student’s hearts. They thought no one should have to quit playing basketball because of broken glasses. What they shared with me next brought me to tears. “Bro. Tim, we want to buy him a new pair!” I have to admit, I have never been more proud of my students than at that time.
We managed to get the prescription from Cheico’s mother by working with our MFuge staff and a Metro Parks Coordinator. When we returned home from camp, the boys brought me money they had collected…what a humbling experience! With their money and the help from a church member (who was more than happy to help after he heard the story), we hooked Cheico up with a brand new pair of really cool “X-Games” glasses. We packed them. Prayed over them. Then mailed them out.
That day these students saw a need. Their hearts were moved with compassion and, they acted to meet the need. James chapter 2 in action!
I will never forget that story. It is one of my favorite camp stories to date. I have been involved in student ministry for many years. I have often wondered, “do they get it?” That summer, I got to witness first hand God working through three teenage boys to meet the need of a young boy. They definitely got it! [Read more…]

Genesis 3 – Sin and Redemption

Genesis 3 – Sin and Redemption

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Chuck is the worship pastor at Shoreline Church in Knoxville Tennessee. While his heartbeat is for the local church, he also loves traveling all over the country to lead the people of God in the worship God. Chuck is a  FUGE Worship Leader and will be at Glorieta this summer.  You can learn more about him, listen to some music, and read his thoughts on life and the gospel at www.chuckhooten.org.

My grandfather died September 15th at 5:20 in the afternoon. The joy I have experienced of watching a newborn baby inhale and exhale for the first time stands in stark contrast to watching someone’s chest rise and fall for the last. Both tell a story. Both are God’s language to speak to us truth about the gospel.

We are born questioning. Why do bad things happen? Why do people suffer and die? It is difficult to see the beauty of the sunrise or hear the pounding of the surf, and then reconcile that beauty, creativity, and love with the fact that we live in a world where everyone suffers and everyone dies. But, it is ironic that our questioning of God is at the very core of why this suffering and death exist. We assert ourselves as the authority and demand that God answer us, and in doing so we recreate the very scene in Eden where we first unlocked the floodgates of His wrath. Sin is realized in the actions of the fallen, but its essence is found in the heart that has set itself as the authority on what is to be and how it is to be accomplished.

As Eve stands in the perfection of God’s created world, the serpent comes to her…questioning. It has been by the word of God that everything exists. God has spoken, and the nothing has obeyed His voice and has become something. Where there was emptiness now stands plants, animals, oceans, and human beings. Light and darkness have found their place. The sun and the moon have arranged themselves, along with the stars, in a perfect dance of beauty, power, and spectacle. All of this owes its existence in the speech of God. The serpent will not come and assault the creation, for to any eye the creation is unquestionably good and perfect. The serpent will instead attack the very core of why the creation is good in the first place. The serpent asks the question, “Did God really say?” It is the word of God that the serpent will place on the witness stand and accuse of dishonesty and corruption.

We know the result of this conversation well. Our hearts are now programmed, above all things, to repeat like robots the question of the serpent, “Did God really say?” In the poem, Invictus, William Ernest Henley famously penned the words, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Here is a true anthem of the human heart. We are at the center. We are in control. We will be asking the questions and we will supply the reason that will validate the answers. We are gods.

God’s reaction is strange. He allows humanity to live. He does not kill us for our mutiny, but in mercy He places constraints on how far our mutinous hearts can travel. We are now born into the hard reality of how unqualified we are to be gods. We create things that kill. We decide on things that are selfish and ugly. We lord over others and demand they bow to our ways, and our ways do not end with the statement, “it was good.” We are unqualified masters, unqualified gods.

Yet in the center of the pain and the night of judgment comes the reality that God is still speaking, and that His words are full of hope and redemption. Genesis 3:15 is the gospel. The serpent will bruise the heel of the woman’s offspring, but the offspring of the woman will crush the serpent’s head. Jesus will come, Jesus will provide, and Jesus will end the struggle.

The road will be long and the price incomprehensible, yet God will provide and persevere with us until Eden is our reality again. If I question anything now, I pray that it is only a questioning of my heart and my intentions. I want God to be God and I want to die. I want my life to be a living sacrifice. I want to someday know that, just like my Papa, my chest will rise and fall one last time to reveal the reality that is God’s provision for my rebellion, and awake to a face to face meeting with the answer to all of my questions…Jesus.