So, my friends, before you read on let me begin by saying thanks. Thanks for taking just a few moments to let your eyes glaze over these letters, words, and sentences that I have somehow shaped into thoughts and insights. I don't quite know why you choose to keep pace with my randomness (it's a like running a marathon or anything difficult), but I am so honored you take a few moments to check in on me in the digital world. I'll have you know I'm doing well, and that God has blessed my life in numerous areas, and I suppose the whole reason for this blog thing is to record my continual awe & wonder at how He's living and active in the world all around us.
So, with that being said, let's move on, my friends.
I am ready to commit to a new TV show--call it boredom @ the Writer's Strike, call it giving a bizarre over-rated movie franchise a chance, whatever...but the Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox seems kind of intriguing. Like, it looks like it's trying for the edge of the early 24 Seasons, and that's saying something. And so I got to thinking about this whole idea of The Terminator & what God is doing in my life right now.
Carly and I have been called by God to serve Him in Children's Ministry. There, I just came right out and said it, for those of you reading this who haven't heard yet. And understand that it's got nothing to do with being "done" with teens, or giving up on teens, or evening feeling like we're not effective in ministry with them anymore. No, it's more of God re-aligning us, re-positioning us where He wants us to be in this spiritual effort for the Kingdom.
Some people were praying for us today @ church, and I love some of the words/phrases that were used during their prayers to describe the situation and all our hearts at this time: "(Bartees)...are opening up their hearts & arms to even more people..." & "(youth group)...simply sharing the Bartees with others who need them right now..." Man, I'm digging all that. I'm loving the perspective, the honesty, and the sincere well-wishing right there from those prayers. It's always something to marvel at when people communicate love and appreciation and you feel it's not really as deserving or you simply don't see it coming. God must delight in blessing His children in those unique ways.
Back to Sarah & Jon Connor. (For those of you who've heard these words/analogy come from my lips in the last 24 hours, I apologize--although I do sense I can articulate even better what I wanted to say then.)
The whole concept of The Terminator movie franchise is this: in the future, there is war between machines and humans--and this pre-dates The Matrix Trilogy--and the humans are ultimately victorious because of their incredible leader, one Jon Connor. The machines are super clever, though, and devise a plan to alter time/history/the future by killing Jon Connor before he ever assumes the mantel of leadership. Thus they send a Terminator back in time to destroy Jon Connor's very existence by killing his mother (the original), then Jon as a teen (T2), and then as an up-and-coming leader (rise of the machines).
However, the humans are just as clever, if not more brilliant. They, too, send someone back in time to defend Jon Connor and protect his life from the shiny-steel assassins. And I guess that's the cool part about the whole plot. We never get to see what Jon Connor ultimately does in the future in the war with the machines, but we are drawn into this story of protection, justice, sacrifice, and hope. It's a story that parallels with my own.
You see, the Enemy is stepping up his game with every passing day. The things that were once considered to be adult, college, or even teenage struggles are now being presented to little children on a silver platter. And let me tell you, it's disturbing that some kiddos out there are gobbling it up. You know, the classic temptations we hate such as alcohol, sex, violence, the Internet, drugs, and addicting behaviors are beginning to plague our children @ church and school. And so I see Satan changing up his strategy--he's going back to the early stages of a person's life, where they can first begin to make choices, and he's trying to eliminate what is sacred. He's to destroy what is beautiful and precious...he's trying to crush hope.
And here is where I find God's call. I am convinced at my core that He desires my best efforts in ministry to meet Satan at the very spot of his attack--at the kid world. I believe God would have me defend combat the Enemy, defend His sacred, precious, and beautiful children, all the while showing them how incredibly HUGE His love for each of them is. Even though I don't understand all of what that will look like right now, I am ready for the sacrifices that God may want to ask of me.
So, I'd like to ask for your prayers. Prayers because we need them as we launch into a new ministry adventure. Prayers because it's very sad & bittersweet to really fully leave youth ministry--I mean, it's all we've ever known...it's what we do...we absolutely have loved the relationships, experiences, and memories that the teens & their families have provided us. We feel incredibly blessed for the time we've served with students, and are excited about what the future holds for our ministry, and the Kingdom in general. And, as far as this blogging thing goes, well...to quote the man himself,
"I'll be back."