Thursday, May 24, 2007


Hey All,

Thought I'd make a few observations about my last night "in an official capacity" as One Student Ministries full time youth pastor.

Well, the students were slow getting there but that is normal :) I was in the prayer room where we try to pray for at least 30 minutes before the message. There was no strange glow but there was a great anticipation in my heart. I know I had heard from the Lord concerning what I was to speak.

Some old friends and students showed up to cheer me on. One of those faces was a student who I had a tense/tight relationship. She was one of my student leaders and a great person. I was a bit nervous at first but she came in and greeted me. It warmed my heart. It was like God's kiss on my soul. How beautiful it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity. I felt like our group was living up to it's name:ONE. We had always strived for ONEness.

As the evening wrapped up I took a moment and looked around at laughing faces, deep discussions, and people stuffing themselves with cake. We never know or understand our impact as youth pastors let alone as people. I must say I felt a great peace. A great assurance that the Lord was in it. Not that the road was not going to be rough for the both of us but that even that was ok.

I gave up a title not a calling. To be honest sometimes I felt dirty even being paid to be a youth pastor. A full time worker paid to build relationships and build a program feels dirty some how. I know in my head that it is just, fair, and biblical to be paid. I wanted to love students without pitching another program. I wanted to give to them with out expecting their attendance, participation or allegiance. I didn't want it to be a trade off. I did not want to have hidden motives. I know this may sound silly and idealistic but I guess I am a purist in some ways.

Sin has certainly taken it's toll on the "perfect" Teacher/Disciple relationships. Jesus did it though. He knew full well the the lack of commitment he'd encounter and the shallowness of humanities spirituality. He called, He led, he died, he lived again. Then, these shallow, misbegotten, often childish followers stepped up. A passion gripped their hearts and power came upon them to do the impossible. I don't know how many of the students I have led to Christ and discipled over the years went on to disciple others but I prayer there were at least a few. We can't be sure of much but we can be sure that heaven shall reveal and test the work we have done. As the title Lenny Kravitz song pleads "God Save Us All".

Let The Sparks Fly

Paul Turner

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Resentment is a Killer

God has been reminding me lately of the the same thing He told Cain in Genesis : "Sin crouches at the door of your heart but you must master it." What is this sin? Resentment. I seem to be overwhelmed by it as a boy is overwhelmed by breakers at the beach. It just rises up. I have had some time to think about it and I still have no answer save a few sources of why we all may feel that way at some point.

* Like the football player who sits on the sideline watching his team get crushed, he thinks "if they had only put me in, I'da caught that ball." Resentment can set in when we don't feel like we're being used to the best of our ability and must suffer the consequences at the choices or actions of others.

* I think of Judas and possibly the other discipes who wished Jesus had done something about the Roman occupation or those bothersome Pharisees. They knew Jesus had the power and did not use it. One theory about Judas' betrayal was that he was forcing the hand of God. His thinking, "Jesus must act if I put him in this position". We can become resentful when we don't trust our leadership.

* Unachieved goals seem to dovetail into the above point. We resent the fact that we as "visionaries" can see great things but others cannot. When we as an orgainzaton do not reach our full potential because of the laziness, ignorance, or incompetance we begin to sour. Resentment finds a place in the heart of unfulfilled dreams and lost potential.

These are just a few thoughts that help me work out my own junk. Your comments are always welcome. Wait, someone's knocking on my door. Hope it's the cable guy.

Let the sparks fly.

Paul Turner

Monday, May 14, 2007

No Regrets?

Ya know, we like to say we have no regrets about things. If things turn out ok we don't regret as much or we just say God's will was done and move on. Do I have any regrets? Yes and no. I don't regret moving on to a new adventure but will I change my mind if it does not go according to plan? I remember when I left my first church. I left out of pride and arrogance. I wanted to see if I was good enough as a youth worker to duplicate the success in that church. If I had not been so rash and immature I would still be there today. But would that have been a good thing? You can hurt your brain going through scenerio's like that and regret can creep in and take up residence in your heart. I guess we could consider Joseph. Did he regret sharing his dream? Did he regret helping the butler in prison? Does the phrase "all's well that ends well" become the mantra for those concerned that the time/space continuum has been altered? All good questions and probably will never be answered but at the end of the day Joseph saved a nation. Not bad work for a kid with a dream.