I was introduced to the concept of evaluation early on as a youth director. Through conferences, seminars and a youth ministry trade school, I learned the importance of gaining feedback from participants. During my decade of teaching high school, I incorporated this into my curriculum, encouraging students to be critical, honest and fair. After years of fine tuning, the last day of each class I asked five questions. What did you like? What did you dislike? What topic(s) did I not spent enough time addressing? What topic(s) did I spent too much time covering? What changes would you make to improve this class? After giving students five minutes in silence to write down their opinions, I gave individuals an open forum to express their feelings verbally if so inclined. While some discussion were brief, others carried on for several minutes. These papers were collected, stored in notes books and became the foundation for improving my curriculum each summer.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths, Proverbs 3:5-6.
Unfortunately, outside of the classroom it’s easy to become so consumed with life that you forget what you’re really doing and where your going? Thus, I must confess that as I write blog after blog, I often forget the purpose for Express Yourself 4Him. Initially, I wanted to create a modern day diary using the Confessions of Augustine as my inspiration. The autobiography of this 4th century theologian from Hippo details Augustine’s conversion to Christ and the evolution of his understanding of the Bible. As Augustine reflected on life while sitting on his back porch, the Holy Spirit began to unveil pieces to the puzzle called life. Over the weekend, God convicted me of my haphazard nature, sensing a need to become more focused. Thus, in the coming days, weeks and year, I plan on focusing on two main areas. First, continue to use the Bible to help explain and understand current events. Second, become more interactive by using the comments I receive as a source for future blogs. If I don’t help my readers address their concerns, issues and problems of others, I’m missing an opportunity to use my God given gift.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you, Psalm 32:8.
If you have ever played a team sport team, sometimes the play called by a coach is flawed. If you are quick or shrewd enough, you might be able to freelance enough to turn a loss into a gain. This same concept applies to life. There will be circumstances, days and scenarios where what normally works is ineffective. Therefore, you have to improvise, change while on the fly. This is where individuals must learn to place their sole trust in the Lord. Yes, like anything else, this can be scary, requiring blind faith. Like the Psalmist suggests above, this leap of faith involves counsel, instruction and teaching. If you really want to make sure you are on the right track, Bible Study, prayer and worship is available to most everyone. As I start my sixth as a blogger in February, I pray that the Lord enables me to keep in step with the Holy Spirit so I can minister to those in need.
by Jay Mankus