The NOW generation.

13482899_10153766493678763_1255173324188864355_oLast week Vicki and I had the opportunity to help lead a group of students, from Watermark, to the Ignite Camp. The theme of the camp was “Legacy.” The week was fun, deeply meaningful and full of “God moments.” The students were responsive to God, encouraging to one another, and were a riot to be with.

I really enjoyed directly investing in students again. I was a youth pastor for nine years before starting Watermark and taking on a new role. I always enjoyed being with students and seeing them embrace their faith and one another.

Spending a week with the students reminded me of some foundational beliefs I have about young people:

  • I believe that young people are the church of today and not tomorrow.  They aren’t “junior members” of the Body of Jesus waiting for their turn to contribute in the future. They are essential participants in the faith family right now. I used to say it this way: “the NEXT generation is the NOW generation.”

 

  • I believe that we need young people to fully participate in the faith family.  I value middle and high school ministry that builds a community of students pursuing Jesus.  However, I also believe that students are needed alongside the rest of the faith family for the church to become all that God desires it to be. Early in the life of Watermark we shared this belief in the form of a vision statement. It read, “students are the catalyst of the movement and examples to all the believers.”

 

  • I believe that students have real faith. I have seen incredible maturity in the faith of students. Young people aren’t waiting to one day have a real faith. This past week at camp I heard students share what they sensed God saying to them and how they believed they should respond. I heard students share their burden and concern for family and friends. I watched as students worshipped God with abandon. I admired the students honesty. I listened as students mourned the sin in their lives and reached out for the transforming grace and forgiveness of God.

So I dream of the day in which young people, in our faith family, are fully participating and engaged. This requires a change in thinking for all ages as we recognize the importance of every member of the Body of Jesus. I am excited about some next steps we are seeking to take as a faith family to see this increasingly become a reality.

I’ll wrap up with this passage in 1 Timothy 4:12. It is a letter from Paul, to his spiritual son, Timothy. I’m not sure how old Timothy was, but apparently his youth was a barrier for him or others he sought to lead. I think it is a good passage for our young people.

“Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”

What would it look like it we fully embraced these beliefs about young people?  What would the impact be?

David P. Deur Daddy

Well it is Father’s Day.

Time to read on Facebook and other social media platforms that someone’s dad is the greatest dad in the world.

I better get a card that says that. Even if it is definitely not true.

But, I would be a better father if I could be more like the dad God gifted me.

So, here is a list of things that make my dad a father worth celebrating and emulating.

1) He loves God and seeks to grow in His relationship with Jesus.

This may seem like the correct “Christian answer”, but this is foundational to many of the other qualities that make my dad the man he is. I have seen my dad grow more and more into the image of Jesus as he has gotten older. I have witnessed more love, patience, wisdom, gentleness, and compassion from my dad as he has aged. Jesus changes people and I’m thankful for the way my dad has leaned into Him.

2) He asks questions and listens. 

My dad is genuinely interested in what is going on in the lives of others. He is a gifted listener and he seeks to understand. This has been an area of growth for him over the years and it has developed into a remarkable strength. This is what makes him an outstanding coach and an even better dad. As a dad, I recognize that I make statements more than I ask questions. I try to fix and tell more than understand. I get impatient and assume I know the answer instead of listening. I thank God for the way my dad has modeled these important skills for me.

3) He apologizes.

One of my vivid memories of my dad is when I was in elementary school My dad got angry and harsh with me and I was sent to my room. My dad came in the room and sat next to me on my bed and apologized for how he acted and wept. I respected him and felt safe with him because he was strong enough to admit when he was wrong. He still seeks to make things right when he fears he has messed up. I appreciate his ability to apologize because ha understands his need for grace and therefore, humbly offers it to others.

4) He supports and encourages. 

My dad is a gift to me. He asked me if he could come and volunteer his time to come alongside me on our Watermark team. He explained that he wasn’t wanting money, or position or anything – except to support and encourage me and our faith family. He has been a tremendous help in critical areas that he may not naturally enjoy, but it has made a significant impact. I hope that I will be able to follow in his footsteps someday and support and encourage my kids and younger leads when my hairline is a lot lower.

5) He shows and makes a point to say, “I love you.”

One of the decisions my dad made when we were young kids was to always verbalize his feelings. My dad hugs me. My dad kisses me. My dad tells me he loves me. My dad has blessed me and told me he is proud of me. I am especially thankful that he has written a letter of memories and blessings to each of my kids every Christmas. These letters make it clear that they are loved and beloved gifts. I am thankful for his commitment to show and verbalize his love.

There are more than these five reasons why I could celebrate my dad today. I could describe his sense of humor, I could speak of his ability to affirm and encourage others and I could remark on my appreciation for teaching me to love the Detroit Tigers and hate the Yankees.

So, on this Father’s Day, I am thankful and I celebrate David P. Deur.

A dad worth following.

Because he follows Christ.

Happy Father’s Day!

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Will’s Lexicon

My six year old son Willem has a fairly expansive vocabulary.

And he is the one expanding it.

Recently he inserted a few new words, he made up, into our family’s vocab.

Here are the new words and rough definitions:

Fully – “Fully” is a condition when you feel like you consumed too much and now your tummy feels a bit sick. Example of usage, “Mom, I feel fully, I need to lay down” (after sneaking handfulls of cookies and treats).

 

Knife-Sick – “Knife-Sick” is a descriptive phrase used when you have a sore throat with sharp cutting pain. Example of usage, “Dad, my throat hurts, I think I am knife-sick.”

 

Gross Mixture – “Gross Mixture” is an affliction in which ‘boogers and mucus’ combine together, in your throat, and create a “gross mixture.” Typically, “It feels hard, but it really is soft.” Example of usage: “I had a hard time sleeping because I had a gross mixture.”

 

Right now I feel fully. After all, it is the holidays.

Compare to Share

My twelve year old daughter and I had a meaningful discussion about stuff.  She relayed some of what she sees other people in her life getting and how it makes her feel.  She was transparent and showed great maturity in her assessment of the situation.  I could relate to some of the feelings she mentioned – especially the lack of contentment that comes from comparing to people who have more.

We made an elementary discovery together.

If we must compare, we should not compare to those with more – only those with less.

We figured that there is someone who always has more and when we compare to people with more we are left feeling discontentment and focused on ourselves.

But, if we must compare, then we should only compare to those with less.

This way to compare should compel us to share.

I’ve mentioned before about folks I met in Ethiopia who lived on less than a dollar a day.  When I get uptight about what I don’t have or can not obtain… I just put myself back in that dirt floored hut and thank God for what I have been entrusted.  But then I also am moved to share and not to hoard, because everything is God’s anyways.

So, in this season we are trying to compare only if it compels us to share.