Youth Ministry Team Meeting

Hey y’all-

  I want to thank you (again) for your service to the youth ministry at Living Hope. I hope we can use this blog/forum to communicate and work through some pressing issues….and just to talk to one another from a bit of a distance.

  Yesterday’s meeting was initially focused on three spiritual disciplines – prayer, fasting, and Bible study.

  Prayer – Paul writes to the Thessalonians, “For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
    Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:9-13).

  I am asking all of us to pray earnestly for the youth that the Lord has entrusted to us. And, to “increase and abound in love for one another and for all” as we seek to minister to these kids and their families. Prayer is the foundation of this ministry….

  Fasting – I have been challenged and convicted by my lack of fasting. So, I confess that lack of spiritual discipline to you and ask you to keep me accountable. Ask me about fasting. Ask me if I am fasting and praying for the youth ministry. And, I want you to join me….I’m not setting up any fasts (yet), but I am asking you to consider the command of Jesus to fast.

  Jesus said, “When you fast…” (Matthew 6:17). He didn’t say “if.” And, if you are a faster, please teach me….I want to learn!

Bible Study – As Christians, we should always be in God’s Word. As leaders in the Youth Ministry, it is imperative that we get in God’s Word. Why?

  So we can accurately represent God’s heart and teach God’s Word to the kids. So, please, get in the Word. If you need help, reach out to me or someone who you know is seeking God daily in His Word….we can help you. And, by helping someone else, we are held accountable and we learn more…

  So, please consider these spiritual disciplines and ask me if you need any help. Also, if you would like more information on spiritual disciplines, I would recommend Donald Whitney’s book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

  This book would make an excellent addition to your personal library. It is an excellent primer on spiritual discipline. If you would like to borrow a copy, Rachel and I have one…

  So, this post is a warm-up….thanks for your service.

  Pray for a brother.




Christmas Eve Reflections…

Hello everyone and Merry Christmas!

  This has been a wonderful year for Uncle Jeff. Why? Many reasons…but the most obvious one is Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Second? I am now a married man! On August 15th, I married the love of my life, Rachel.  God has blessed me richly with this lovely woman. Hallelujah!

  Okay…now to some reflections:

  I have been thinking about salvation, the Gospel, assurance of salvation, perseverance of the those who are saved, and all kinds of other things these days. Here are some Scripture meditations and links to Gospel-related content that I think might be helpful.

  1. A few years ago I wrote a blog about my belief in Jesus. These statements are simply written to be clear for those who might speak English as a second-language. I did not back them with Scripture, but I can if anyone needs clarification. Click here for that blog post.

  2. Lately, for my morning devotionals I have been pondering the “faith chapter” in Hebrews – Hebrews 11. In that chapter, the writer of Hebrews (I think the Apostle Paul wrote Hebrews) Works through an amazing list of men and women who had faith in God and were counted righteous because of their faith. Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

   The amazing thing about this chapter is the people Paul references are deeply flawed, sinful humans. If you take some time and read the life histories of these people in the Old Testament, you would see that they have serious issues. Adultery, murder, deceit, pride, anger, etc. Now, does God just overlook those issues in these people? No…not at all.

  Rather, God forgives them of their sins just like He will forgive us….through belief in Jesus Christ. This is the Gospel. In Romans 10:17, Paul writes, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Jesus said, “I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

  You must be born again through belief in Jesus Christ. You believe that Jesus is God. You know that you are a sinner. You repent (turn from) of your sin and ask God to forgive you through the blood of Jesus. His sacrifice on the cross paid your penalty. This turning from your own righteousness to trusting in Jesus for salvation is hard on your pride. Turn. Trust. Repent. Believe. Live!

  Here are some links to resources for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These men can explain it in ways that I cannot. Take some time and watch and listen. Really try to hear the Gospel. Do you believe?

   – John Piper: John is a pastor in Minnesota. He loves Jesus. He explains the Gospel in 6 minutes. Click here.

  – Propaganda: Prop is a spoken-word artist who loves the Lord and proclaims the Gospel in a unique and powerful way. The message is true, but the delivery is anointed. Click here.

  – Tim Keller: Tim is a pastor in NYC. New York City?!?!?! Yep, New York. He is a clear speaker. This clip is from a Q&A session at a university. He clarifies the difference between religion and true faith in Jesus. Click here.

  I hope and pray these resources give you something to think about and to place your hope and trust – Jesus!

  Merry Christmas,

  Uncle Jeff

Playing Bluegrass in Europe

Hey y’all-

I’m heading to Europe with The Long Run Players. We’ve posted a blog about our needs for the trip.

Read it here.

Take a look and let me know what you think.

Livin’ the dream,

Uncle Jeff

Paul Martin Dance Party

Hey y’all-

Wanna see what it looks like for a Southern Baptist missionary to try to dance at a Christmas party? It’s fun. Click here.

Uncle Jeff

This is good for a laugh…

This made me smile. Speedos and pastors just go together….click here.

Snow Day Devo 2

Hey y’all-

            I’m sitting at my table (where I should eat, but it’s piled with papers, books, a Bible, my laptop, pens, highlighters, and other necessary stuff) watching the falling snow (again) and thinking a bit. Here’s what I’m thinking….

It's a mess

It's a mess

            The snow is beautiful. It covers everything. It gives an appearance of beauty. Even my nasty, ten-year-old Jeep looks better with a coat of snow. I love to watch it fall. Heavy flakes swirling and drifting and coming to rest…very peaceful. Kinda like watching a fire burn or a creek run….God’s creative beauty given to us to enjoy.

            I was recently re-counting to a friend my snow day rituals when I was a kid growing up—and acting up—in Pleasant Hill. We had a lot of woods around and I would walk down Yonside Drive and explore the woods. The snow dampened all sound and there were few people out early in the morning. The early residents of Pleasant Hill had built some cool things in the woods for celebrations, weddings, picnics, etc.

There was a stone bench by a lake (perfect for weddings), a stone shelter (picnics), and an old amphitheater (where my sisters and I decided to put on a show one summer…it was a hit…at least, to us). All of these structures were beautiful in their own right, but they seemed to be a bit more mysterious, beautiful, and elegant in the snow.

All of that brings me to this—Isaiah 1:18:

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; they are red like crimson, they shall be come like wool.

God is speaking to us through the prophet Isaiah that He will remove the redness of our sin, the nastiness, the filth, and the death associated with our sin and turn it all “white as snow.” That is amazing. God’s mercy shines through when He speaks to us like this.

David writes in Psalm 51:7,

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

How is one washed to become whiter than snow? There is only one way—by the blood of Jesus Christ.

Paul writes to the Corinthian church,

But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor 6:11).

And he writes to the church in Rome,

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God (Rom 5:9).

So, how does one become “washed in the blood”? By repentance of sin, faith in Christ, and following Christ until God calls you home. It’s taking God at His Word and trusting in Him—not yourself, your religion, your pastor, your ability, or your goodness. You can only come to Christ after abandoning yourself (Luke 9:23) and trusting in Him alone. See Ephesians 2:1-9, trust in the Lord, follow Him.

God bless,

Uncle Jeff

Winter Wonderland


Hey y’all-

  Here’s casa del Jeffro this winter season….frigid!




  Later…Uncle Jeff