This past week has made me think so much more than most other weeks. Tonight was no different; however, tonight I missed out on something great.
It started with youth at Central as usual. Pastor Rob shared a devotional on Romans 1 and Paul’s three “I am” statements. First of all he said, “I am a debtor both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to wise and to unwise.” (v. 14) Basically he was saying that he had a debt that he had to pay back – preaching the gospel. He was indebted to preach it to everyone he came in contact with. Then he said, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.” (v.15) That’s pretty straightforward, but it’s still powerful. He knew without a doubt that he was ready. Finally, he said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” (v. 16) Pastor Rob basically said that we should strive to put those three statements to practice in our lives and make them our own. Are we a debtor? Are we ready? Are we unashamed?
That really stuck in my mind, probably because I couldn’t say those things about myself. I’d like to, but I’m not at that point yet. So, after youth, we went out to Tim Hortons and were just sitting there when Jon came over to our table and asked if anyone wanted to come out with him and talk to a group of people sitting by their truck outside. Meagan said she would, and I wanted to say I would, but I couldn’t. Something was stopping those words from coming out of my mouth. It wasn’t fear, but rather the realization that I’ve never really figured out how to talk to people like that.
I’ve never been a conversation starter. Once I get going, it’s alright, but the start of a conversation is the most crucial. It really sets the tone of the rest of the discussion and helps avoid the awkward pauses. But when I say I’m not a conversation starter, that’s not an excuse, but rather a realization of a problem that I need to work on. Sure, I can go up to someone and start a normal conversation with them, but I’ve never figured out how to start up a serious one and not have it end about ten seconds after it begins. I just don’t know what to say to get it started up. It’s not that I don’t know how to explain the Gospel message or don’t know what I believe. It’s just the very beginning of the conversation that I don’t know how to approach properly. Anyways, I’ve decided that I need to talk about this to someone – likely Angelie or Jon, since Angelie just got back from a missions trip and should be nice and polished with that, and Jon’s just Jon, so he knows this stuff. Once I get this figured out, a lot of this hesitancy should go away, and perhaps I’ll be more ready to say “yes” next time something like that happens.
After Tim Hortons, we went to Meagan’s house and hung out there for a while, talking about many strange topics. Angelie voiced her ideas about North Park’s Impact group thing that she mentioned is really not impacting much of anything. She was mentioning that she needed the help of the people that go to North Park and the youth group to change it around. Well, I’m up for that, since I’m going there in less than a month. I’m not exactly sure what this group does, except that it’s a group of Christians in North Park. I’ll see what it’s like, and then I’ll see what Angelie has in store for it. I’m sure it’ll be good.
Anyways, after a while, we went to Greenbrier Park. We were on the swings for a few minutes, and then someone suggested playing Grounders at the gym equipment on the other side of the park. Some of the others sat down and talked. I considered it for a moment, but when I heard Angelie say something about talking about “feelings,” I went for Grounders. Jeff, Jayson, and I played that game until we knew the gym equipment so well that we couldn’t get each other. At one point, Jayson was going around for about five or ten minutes not able to catch either of us before his mom came to pick him up. Then we went back to the group. As we got closer, we realized that they were praying. That’s when I said to myself, “Shoot! I missed out on a cool discussion!” I talked with Kristin on the way back to Meagan’s house and she said it was really good. I was disappointed by then, because I love talks like that, and I missed out on it to play Grounders. Ugh.
We got back to Meagan’s house, and since I can’t drive, I looked for a ride home from someone. I was trying to figure out who was closest to my house, and I found out that Kristy’s really the only person that lives in my area, and she can’t drive – nor was she there last night anyways. I mean, I guess the Staats are in my area as well, but I think the girls were sleeping over at Michelle’s, so she wasn’t going home. They were going there to pick up stuff from her house, but I think they had a full car anyway, so they couldn’t have dropped me off. Grr, I need my car back. Anyways, Jeff volunteered to drive me home, so I hopped in the car with him and the two Jeffs drove off.
On the way back home, we talked for a little bit about inviting non-Christians to youth and stuff. This was brought up because of Pastor Rob’s announcement that youth would be on Sunday nights this fall. For one thing, that means I can only come every other week at most, because my youth is on the same night as well, alternating between service and Life Groups. Since I don’t normally go to Life Groups, those would be the only times I could go to Central. But Jeff brought up another very good point. Youth is a chance to bring your non-Christian friends to a place that’s less imposing than church. I mean, they still expect it to some degree, but not as much as at church, sitting in a pew. But if they change it to Sunday nights, suddenly it sounds a lot more like church and a lot less like something they would want to come to. Jeff was fairly mad about the whole thing, and said he was going to talk to Pastor Rob about it. I mean, he’s got a point, but I also mentioned that perhaps there was a good reason for the decision as well. Jeff told me that he’d sit down with them and discuss it like adults, though, so I was glad to hear that. I didn’t want to hear that it turned into a shouting match or anything.
Soon, we arrived at my house, and he mentioned that we should do something today. I said I didn’t have anything to do, so that would be fine. I’m thinking that when he calls today, I might suggest that we invite a couple more people to come with us. I’m really not sure who to suggest – I would suggest inviting Melissa, but I’m not going to force that on him or anything. That’s basically turning him into a chauffeur for us rather than all three of us hanging out. Most of the guys work during the day, though, so it’d likely have to be a couple girls that we’d hang out with. I’m really not sure what to suggest, so I’ll just bring up the topic and hope he has a bright idea. It’s a shame that Josh and Zeth aren’t here – otherwise, we’d have our extra two right there.
Anyways, that was basically all of last night. I had a fun time, but I know I could have had a better time if I had just decided to sit down with the rest of the group instead of playing Grounders. Oh well. It’s over now, and I’m sure there will be many other occasions to have that happen. I’ll just make sure not to miss out on it next time. But with that said, I’m going to finish this off. I’ve run out of things to say, and I’d like to keep it that way for a little while. Not that it’ll happen, but there’s always hope, right?