i'm wishing my life away

Today started off slow but ended well. I met with a student about some youth ministry stuff. The conversation could have gone very badly, but thankfully I think it was a big success. I had to talk to him about some stuff that was going on that was causing division and disunity in the group. He was very receptive and it was clear God had been working on him in regards to the situation too. Sometimes things like this help me to see God in everyday life; clearly God prepared the student to hear what I was going to say, and we ended up having a good long conversation.

On another note...I disagree with a lot of what this kid is being taught as far as doctrine is concerned. Things like the "baptism of the Holy Spirit," speaking in tongues, healings, and whatnot. We spent a lot of time talking about these things and I believe I got across a couple of very important points. The first being that it is possible for us to be deceived, even if we're honestly seeking God. When we think that it's impossible for us to be fooled, I think it ironically opens us up to be fooled by anything that makes a little sense to us or sounds good. Another was that it's important to look at the Bible and develop our doctrine from it, not the other way around. We shouldn't come to the Bible with preconceived notions of what it says and do our best to get it to fit and support our ideas. We should read it and decide what it says, then form our doctrine. I pointed out where the student was doing that - funny enough, he pointed out when I was doing it a bit later in our discussion. It's somewhat disappointing how easily any of us can try to bend what we see or read or hear to fit our own perceptions and ideas of The Way Things Should Be. How many of us are really interested in the truth, or intellectual honesty?

One thing I noticed is that it was very tempting for me to try to appear like I knew everything when talking to the student. As someone in a position of spiritual leadership I feel sometimes like I'm supposed to know everything and I'm supposed to be able to argue with every bit of doctrine I believe to be unbiblical. It's a sort of prideful thing that can sneak in and at first it doesn't sound that bad.

I'll just tell him the Bible says this, because even though we're reading it now and it appears he's right, I just know he's wrong.

I mean, my motivations are good. I want him to learn truthfully about God. But I don't need to pretend I know stuff I don't, nor do I need to be too prideful to admit when I don't know, or when I have to concede a point I'd been arguing for. This kind of spiritual pride is hard to notice and I think it's bad for the people involved, even if my motivations are good. Perhaps especially if my motivations are good. Sacrificing intellectual honesty and integrity for what you to believe to be someone else's good is ridiculous. Then you're not interested in their good anymore, you're interested in being right.

So, a good discussion with the student. I believe God's put him in my life to challenge me and inspire me to study a bit more. Hopefully he's put me in the kid's life to help him start to be discerning with the doctrines he believes. But I'm not viewing the relationship in those terms. We're both people just trying to follow Christ and want to build the other up. Good stuff.

I got to watch the final episode of Joe Millionaire with Jeannette and her fam. We sort of made a tradition of it, me heading over there on Monday nights, I'll miss it. She has a cool fam. After that I hung with Ang cause it's her birthday and she's leavin' for home in Chi-town tomorrow. Erin and Lauren (whom I just met, seems like a cool girl) were there too, we sat around making fun of just about everything in Ang's room and trying to identify the curious smell emanating from one corner of the room.

Okay kiddies I'm out of here. One last thing before I hit the sack though. I just want to say that my bud Jesse rules. I asked him to bring me something to eat to worship band practice tonight because I didn't get a chance to go home between meeting the student and heading to practice. So here I am thinking he'll bring me a Promax bar but instead he brings me two grilled chicken breasts with some bbq sauce for dippin', some bread, and lemon bars. He rules.

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