As I sit here typing this, I have...oh...6 tabs open on my computer. I have my phone laying next to me, and there's music playing loud enough that you can hear it throughout the church. By the time I've decided on my next sentence, I will have probably checked my phone.
Yup, just did.
My life is full of distractions. I think I almost search them out. I don't like to sit and be still; something inside of me whispers "this is wrong...you have to keep moving!" Not moving in the physical sense (I spend most of my day at a desk), but mentally. It's hard to focus my attention on one thing for any lengthy period of time. I am constantly flitting from screen to screen, picture to picture...but what am I looking for? I never reach my quota. I never lay in bed at the end of the day, satisfied that I've consumed enough media for the day. I've fallen asleep while scrolling through Instagram.
Have you ever tried to tell a friend something when they were clearly distracted? They might nod, smile, glance up at you every so often, but you can tell that their mind is somewhere else. We're that friend when it comes to Jesus. He could be showing you this big, open door, with neon signs flashing, arrows pointing, shouting "Come this way!" but we just nod. And then complain that God never answers us, or tells us where to go. It's easy to place blame. It's harder to listen.
Someone who inspires me to slow down and take time with God is my friend, Levi. Have you met Levi? He's one of the Sr. Youth leaders here at LSCF. He plays the bass? Glasses, cool shoes...oh. You probably know him as Lenny. Or Levy. Or LenDogg...
He is a very intentional person, both with the people he cares about, and God. He sets aside time with God like someone would make a plan with a friend. Because that's what God asks of us; He wants to be our everything! He wants us to take time out of our daily lives to get to know Him as a friend, and as the Father.
This can seem daunting. How do you hang out with God?! Don't worry, there's no right or wrong way to do it. For me, I need a quiet place, preferably outside. I like to be able to see God's creation, and living on the prairies, you can see everything for miles. If you're looking for a place to start, you should read Ephesians 1:15-23. Paul is writing a letter to the Ephesian church, encouraging them in their faith. Paul's prayer is applied to you today, not just past followers. The entire book of Ephesians challenges us to live a life that is God-centered, not self-centered. Below I've included a break down of Ephesians, with some key verses and ideas pointed out.
I hope you're able to take some time to get to know God this summer. Like any strong relationship, it takes time and consistency. And don't worry, God is opening and doors and windows miles ahead of where our noisy feet drown Him out. We never run out of chances. Our Father has all sorts of plans for us, we need only to listen.
This is my cousin Lanea. And while I can never spell her name correctly on the first try, this beautiful name matches her beautiful nature. She is only 11 (a running joke. It's her excuse for everything), but this girl is filled to the brim with the spirit of God! She is one of my biggest encouragers; the wisdom she has is unreal. There is over ten years between us, but she's the one I hang out with at family gatherings. My partner-in-crime, she reminds me that climbing trees is fun, that trampolines should always be jumped on, and every cat deserves a cuddle.
So why am I introducing you to this great little lady in my life? Because she is fearless in the name of our Father.
Isaiah 6:8 says, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am. Send me!"
This is such a simple statement, one that I've spoken to God with complete honesty and truthfulness. But the minute I feel that God is sending me somewhere I don't want to go, I cower. My willing heart goes and hides in a corner. I wish I could be more specific, like "God, please send me somewhere with a solid political system, a mild (but not too cold) climate, where the population can speak English, and everything is air conditioned." Maybe I wasn't so willing after all.
When I told Lanea that I was going to Brazil with Action, she emailed me to let me know that, while she would miss me at gatherings and fish-fry's, I was doing something way more important! She immediately put aside her own feelings to support me. I think that's where I falter. I think of my own discomfort, my own fears. When God calls, when He asks who will go, I think we can all learn from my cousin; while we have insecurities, what we're doing is more important!
This applies to all of us, no matter what we're doing. If you're working at a camp this summer, a fishing lodge, a berry patch, or a gas station, there are going to be moments where you're unsure; your confidence might waiver. It's easy to give in to the pressures of the world around us. But God doesn't call us to an easy life; in fact, He says the opposite. John 16:33 says:
"I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
So I want to encourage you to be a light in your world this summer. God doesn't just send people to far away places; He may be calling you to make friends with a co-worker, or mow your grandparents lawn for them. There are so many ways to serve, so many ways for us to show God's light in everything we do. It may not always be comfortable, and it may not always be easy, but it is always worth it. God's love isn't complicated.
Take some time, maybe 10, 20 minutes, to listen to God. If you are willing, ask God what He wants from your summer. He will send you. Are you ready?
"The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone."
- John 1:4
Well, this is new and exciting, isn't it? I thought I should make some introductions, as I am new in this particular position. Although, you've hopefully seen my face around a bit. My name is Brooklyn Friesen. I am normally a senior youth leader here at LSCF, but for the next two months I will be wearing the hat of Youth Pastor! (Is it a hat? Overalls. It's definitely youth pastor overalls.)
Now, please don't panic. Steve isn't gone. Well, he is, but he'll be back! He's taken some much deserved vacation time to spend with his family. He and his wife, Karen, have three beautiful boys, and their youngest, Josh, just turned...6 months, I believe? So some family time is definitely necessary. If you want to keep up with him and his family over the summer, I suggest you check out their vlog! Yeah, that's right. Steve has a vlog. It's awesome. Here's the link:
I don't have a whole lot to add right now, but keep your eyes open for some events coming your way in July! I might post some devotions on here, maybe just write about my day...which at the moment is an empty office, so that might get old quickly.
Don't worry, I am keeping busy. I've got a lot of great ideas to share with Steve for the fall, I get to be creative, and so many lovely people from the church have invited me over for lunch! That's probably my favourite part of this job so far; getting to know the different people that make up this church family. Now if only I knew everyone's names...
So come follow along as I figure out who gets what mail, how to plan a youth event, and where to get a good cup of coffee in this town. (It's Darren Willems. In case you were wondering. #ChemexLife)
That's it for now, but I'll check in soon!