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I have a beautiful wife, an infant son & a schnauzer. viva la tex-mex. Words that describe or excite: Missional, Glocal, Lead, Innovate, Initiate, Create, Risk, Community

Friday, May 05, 2006

Living on the Outside of the Underground

I work with students! I get to work with students! As a youth pastor I work with teenagers and my life revolves around seeming them connect with God through knowing Jesus. And it is the most rewarding thing I can think of. It is such an honor and a blessing to live among teenagers and occassionally be invited into their world. They live underground and while most adults think we know them or have them "figured out." Really we only see what they allow us to see. Sometimes this concerns me, sometimes it breaks my heart, sometimes it frustrates me. Really all I try to do is sit at the steps that lead into their world and try to get to know them as much and as best as they will let me.

As an "adult" I am an outsider to their world and the only key to unlock that world and receive and invitation in is love and acceptence. I do love students. They keep my young and I used to think they helped me stay "cool" too. But I have realized that I am not "cool" nor do I really aspire to be. In their world cool is a facade and used to create a class structure more brutal and harsh than the caste system of India.

It sucks to realize to them, even those that I am closest too, in some ways I will always be an outsider. I don't know what that magic age is (I think it is different for everyone), nor do I even know if I am aware of when I became an adult in their eyes but at 32 I definately know I am there. But here is the kicker. That is what they want from me and that is what I can give them. They would never "let me in" and accept me if I tried to "fit in" and pose as one of them. Have you seen these adults? They are a joke to the kids and they are the ones that laugh with the kids not knowing they are the ones being laughed at. Teenagers are tough. They are brutally honest. They are willing to get real with you when they see that your motives are pure, your love is deep, and your patience and acceptance real.

I love students and am so glad God has put me on this path to get to be there for their joys and tragedies of life. I love to see those moments when they "get it." When they realize God is real; when they understand grace and mercy and forgiveness and unconditional love truly exists and God offers to them freely; when they have an "a-ha" moment; when they reach their full potential, or even just come to the understanding and belief that they have potential; when they realize God has a purpose and a plan for their lives, and that their lives are full of meaning; when I get to be there and see that--that is a reward far greater than any downside.

I have been yelled at, cussed out, hit, mocked, betrayed, let down, egged, wrapped, lied about, lied to, stolen from and ignored. None of that compares to a single instance of joy derived from students live being changed by the love and forgiveness found in Jesus Christ. One moment of seeing a student forgive a parent that has hurt them deeply, step up to leadership, memorize a passage of scripture and apply it, step outside themselves to love and serve others, realize their are others less fortunate then they are, repeat back to me something I taught them when I thought they never listened, anyone of these moments can overshadow a monthes worth of set-backs, heart-breaks, and beat-downs.

God is the reason I get up in the morning. Students are the reason I can go to bed at night, tired but with the knowledge and satisfaction of knowing that I am making a difference even when the acknowledgment is often short lived or seldom seldom expressed beyond a quick head nod or smile.

Thanks Jesus and thanks to all my students past and present that "let me in," "got it," and "live it."

Current mood: moxie-ish
Category: Automotive
Currently listening: A Burn Or a ShiverBy Edison Glass
Release date: By 04 April, 2006

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