It’s a Canadian Youth Ministry Podcast! Episodes begin January 11th! New episode every two weeks. Also available on iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher.
A Canadian youth ministry podcast? How did that get started???
This past October, on the deck of a camp building in the middle of nowhere in Grey County, Ontario, on a cold and rainy morning for which I was not dressed for the weather, something dawned on me. I was deep in discussion with a friend from college; it was one of those impromptu chats that are so engaging that I forgot the cold wind blowing through my t-shirt, reminding me of the coat which I had just on the other side of the lodge’s heavy double doors. My friend, Mike, is a youth pastor in Barrie, and I was speaking at his youth retreat. That morning, we found ourselves on the porch, deep in discussion about youth ministry, the Church, discipleship, and the challenge of ‘competing’ with bigger churches with more money and flashier programs.
GUEST AUTHOR: Ashley Stromenberg
IMAGE: Me, second from left, “not liking” my new friends very much.
One of my favourite things to do is to sit alone, watching TV, with a glass of wine. I could very happily live alone (especially if I had a dog) and don’t feel the need to keep the conversation going on a long car ride.
Many times in my life, I’ve been at a crossroads, a meeting of ways, and had no idea which direction to take. How do I know what the right choice is? If I’m a Christian, how do I know what God wants me to choose?
What if God doesn’t want to give me a big sign? What if faith isn’t always asking God for a miraculous answer? What if we’re getting it all wrong?
Guest Author: Ashley Stromenberg
If you haven’t already heard, earlier this week I announced that I will be leaving my comfortable and enjoyable office job to become (it’s not a dirty word) a missionary. Yes, I have officially lost my mind.
Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, who recently celebrated 70 years of marriage, once said, “If a man opens the car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.” There’s a nugget of truth in this joke: novelty fades in marriage as much as anything else.
On Saturday, May 14, 2016, a cloudy, blustery, and unseasonably cold day, I married the woman of my dreams. As my wife and I prepare to celebrate our first anniversary, I have found myself reflecting on how we’ve grown and what has changed in our relationship.
I don’t think Jesus was humble. I really don’t. If I met him today, humble is probably not something I would take away as a first impression. Now, before you start quoting Philippians 2:6-8 or Romans 15:3 to me, let me explain. I believe that our understanding of humility is so skewed that, were we to meet Jesus, many of us would come away saying that he was arrogant and presumptuous. Why do I think that? I’m glad you asked!
How do I know if the person I’m with is the one I’m supposed to marry? Or, to Christianize it, how do I know if this person is God’s pick for me? What if I make a mistake? What happens if I miss the person that God is preparing for me? How do I know?
In a recent episode of The Big Bang Theory, Raj struggles with this same question. He has been dating Emily for a while, but another girl walks into his life that he is drawn and attracted to. Should he break up with his girlfriend and pursue a new relationship?
“Anytime the world sees you as just one thing, it’s exhausting, because you aren’t just one thing, and it’s very difficult to have to constantly meet someone’s expectations. Someone’s simplistic, less than complexly-human definition of personhood, is exhausting to have to live inside.”
– John Green
There’s an unavoidable, honest, deep-felt sigh that follows when someone finally says, “You look tired.” It’s as if your soul, delighting in being finally uncovered, joyously betrays the ‘I’m good’ lie you just spoke in obligatory reply to the ‘Hello’ with which you were greeted. Our personal rat-races are built on such deceptions – meant to convey sincerity and care, but mostly just regulated to the realm of polite, social etiquette.
Productivity, my Stockholm lover;
Verily, your name is weariness.
As a kid, I loved getting the Saturday comics. Like most kids, I didn’t read them in order; the Magic Eye (a stereogram) was one of the first I looked at. I was one of those lucky kids who figured out how to see the 3D image or text buried inside. It’s a little tricky and counterintuitive if you’ve never been able to do it. Essentially, you need to look past what’s right in front of you. The image is there; it’s just not visible when we look at in the “normal” way.
So much of truth and life is buried right before us, hidden in plain sight. What if our understanding of spiritual things is hindering us from seeing the truth?