• What is this BURNING I feel in my chest?
  • Why are my teeth clinched and my fingers balled into a fist? Is this a brutal, but necessary, surgery? Or is it a brutal, but avoidable, violation?
  • Is this a bullet being removed to save my life or is someone looking for an internal organ to sell on the black market?
  • Is this the what it feels like to give up my pride? Or is this the sinister, sinking feeling that follows the surrendering of my passion?

Of course, Pride and Passion are so very different. Passion leads to serving others and Pride leads to serving self. Giving up either feels the same, even if the results are different. Loosing Pride creates dependence on God, losing Passion creates an apathetic life.

The world is filled with fuel for the fire of pride: “Look at what I have done! This is what I deserve! Here is where I am great!”

The world is also filled with leeches that drain passion’s power: “You are no good! You have no value! Know your place, don’t step out of line! Be afraid and be little!”

I have seen the passion fade, and there are few things more terrible than apathy. I have seen the sprinters stop running. Giving up their joy in order to take a seat on the sideline. It is not long before they roll over, and play dead or even just simply be dead.

Giving up pride is painful. Of course, it’s the only path to spiritual growth, to intimacy with God. Humility frees us up to stop managing our sin, accept grace, and move forward with trust and surrender.

These feelings and thoughts are the same, (at least they are for me): surrendering pride and giving up passion. Am I enduring hardship or caving in? Am I giving my heart to God or selling out my soul?

I have seen the zombies shuffle. The thing I fear most is becoming one. Zombies create more zombies. Administrators create more administration. Zombies can’t create life, and neither can micro-Administrators create leadership.

  • When I’ve lost my pride, I feel like lashing out in attack.
  • When I’ve lost my passion, I feel like laying down forever.

And perhaps here is where the knot is thickest: maybe loosing pride and passion often happen at the same time. The difference is not in the moment that it happens, but in the moments and days ahead. Which is it that we choose to add back into our hearts, pride or passion?

Perhaps there are times when we loose pride and passion at the same time, and our goal is to restore the passion without puffing back up with pride.

Pride is about receiving glory, being admired, understood, and respected. You can loose these things and still operate out of passion.

When the grinding moments come, step into the pain.

Suffer the indignity if you can stuff serve with the same fire that got you serving in the same place.

Matt McGill blogs a ton about youth ministry over on Love God, Love Students and was gracious enough to let me post these words here on MTDB. Check out his site and be sure to subscribe!

Weekend Teaching Series:  Brainwashed (series premiere, week 1 of 3)
Sermon in a Sentence: Christians are brainwashed into thinking that living in the gray are (between walking in light and walking in darkness) is OK.

Service Length: 67 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we kicked off a new series that I am really excited about! I always like a strong series right out of the gate post-Easter and post-You Own the Weekend annual series – Brainwashed is it! This weekend I wanted to introduce the concept of brainwashed in our culture and begin to explain several of the ways that we live brainwashed as Christians. This weekend I choose to talk about walking in the light and walking in darkness – these concepts are familiar to our students since we often teach on God’s Way vs. World’s Way. This was fun though since that felt predicable, I was able to turn a corner and surprise them by challenging them to not live in the gray with one foot into church/Jesus/faith and the rest of their bodies out. I stole an illustration from Doug Fields’ blog last week that was really strong, too – and also opened with a video of a guy who wasn’t brainwashed but certainly lost his mind over Cheesedoodles.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we rolled out a ton of new stuff! We expanded our volunteers on the weekend and assigned each of them “zones” to work before, during and after services. We had free bagels and cream cheese on Sunday morning between services to “slow down” students into conversation and connections rather than just in and out of church. Over Spring Break we added a few IKEA couches to the hall entering the youth room that got a solid workout. The grow booth now has a gift for 1st time students who let us know they were there. Tons of students involved in every area of the weekend. Summer camp registration opened. Hilarious videos – a Hunger Games promo video for camp, a Spring Break Serve Week highlight video and a parody of spoken word to promote Killball.

Music Playlist: Yours Forever, Freedom is Here, Grace/The Stand, Your Love is Enough

Favorite Moment: There were too many great things to have a favorite this weekend – but the Hunger Game promo video had to probably be in the top spot. I loved SO many things about this weekend, I could go on and on! Oh, and one more thing: I think it is possible to have a GREAT program and a huge emphasis on RELATIONSHIPS. This weekend was another big step to doing both really well for us!

Up next: Brainwashed (week 2 of 3)