Thursday, November 3, 2011



Have you ever set and thought about what Christ has done for you? Now, I'm not just talking about on the Cross. I'm talking about today, yesterday, or last week.

So often we think about the Cross and how he gave his live. But how often do we embrace His love this very day. At most it's on Sunday's during our "worship" times.

As I was having my quite time this morning I was just reminded of a friend and how much I value his friendship. And I really began to pray for him. And as I was praying I wanted him to know and understand God's love for him today.

Why is it that we go through our day and not recognize the biggest blessing in our lives: God's love?

One thing that hit me this morning is that I believe in my own life that if I truly comprehended Christ love for me; that I would forever worship and honor Him. Not just during those times of church or quite times. But forever throughout my day. Forever worship Him! That I wouldn't wait for Heaven, but I would truly make my life about worshipping him forever. We seek to honor the God who is worthy of the highest glory.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

I do.

December 17, 2005. It was a day that I will remember forever.

It was the day that I got all dressed up, invited all my family and friends, and married my beautiful bride.

I'll never forget the way Meredith looked. She took my breath away as she walked down the aisle on her dad's arm with the most beautiful dress I had ever seen. In that moment, nothing else mattered but me and her. It was like a dream.

The pastor proceeded with the wedding vows and Meredith and I took that moment to announce to each other, those in attendance, and to the entire world that we would love unconditionally, honor the name Ramsey, cherish each other's hearts, and protect at all costs. We finished our vows with the words, "I do."

While that moment in my life was a pivotal, life changing moment for me, and while I did utter the words, "I do" to my beautiful bride on December 17, it wasn't until months later that I truly said "I do" to Meredith.

Flash forward to July, we had been married for five months, and barely had two dimes to rub together. We were scarcely making ends meet, our car was in need of repair, and we were hit hard with the reality of student loans. On top of it all, we had just found out we were expecting. We sat in that bathroom, both dumbfounded at the reality of marriage and the actuality of life. We could have let this time and this moment of crisis break us.

I took Meredith's trembling hands in my own, wiped the tears from her eyes, and reminded her of the goodness God had been in our life. I reminded her of His sovereignty in bringing us together, and I reminded her of His great love for us. I told her we would make it through this, just like we would make it through every trial in our future. I told her that I meant what I said on that alter that day, and no matter how hard things got, we were in this together.

It was at this very moment that I said "I do" to Meredith. Anyone can promise to uphold their vows, anyone can guarantee a lifetime of love and devotion, and anyone can simply say "I do" but it is in the moment of crisis, that you really get to uphold those infamous words. It was in THIS moment of OUR crisis that I got to uphold those words.

In my life today, I find myself amidst a similar situation. Today, I find myself within a crisis with the church. When I was 14 years old, I told Jesus "I do" as I surrendered my life and my occupation to full-time ministry and service to Him. I promised to spend the rest of my life reaching others for Christ and changing the lives of young people. I vowed to devote myself to occupational ministry.

But just now, as I am amidst this crisis, am I able to practice my "I do."

It seems sometimes as if the world will stop at nothing to watch this vow crumble. Satan in working his hardest to keep my family from doing what God had called us to do. And sometimes the weight of it all feels more than I can even bear.

People constantly ask me, "Why stay in it? Haven't you been hurt enough?" And I am so glad that I can tell them that He is still God, He is still on His throne, and through every trial, I have a reason to praise. Even through the desert, even through the darkness, and even through the trial - God is my victory and to Him I will always say, "I do."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Blessed am I.

After watching this, I am again reminded of just how blessed my family is. In fact, I had to get another box of tissue. How often we take life for granted.

Lord, thank you for my wife, thank you for my children, and thank you for another Christmas to enjoy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Deep Question

Today, I'd like to pose a question.

Not just any questions. It is a deep question, I pose not only to, but for myself as well.

Begin to imagine with me that one day the US government comes on T.V., much like they do, and say "Word from the White House." Imagine that we were to see our president step behind that podium and tell the American people that we are forbidden pray for the next three days.

Reactions might vary from "No big deal right? I mean, it's just three days?" to "What, what is he talking about? Our government can't control us like that. They can't tell us what to do. The president shouldn't be able to take away our rights to religion" and everything in between.

So that brings me to a couple questions. If that scenario were indeed true, would I be more concerned that the government was trying to control me or would I be more upset with my legal inability to communicate with Jesus Christ? Now you take a second to think about that. What would your response be? If we are upset that our legal rights are being infringed more than we are heartbroken over the loss of freely communicating with our Savior - who gave everything for us - then the question should be - who are you worshipping?

Next question. If our government were to take it a step further, and say that if anyone is caught praying, he/she would receive a 2yr prison sentence, how would you then react? Would you react in the way I wrote earlier - no big deal right? I mean, it's just three days? Or would you take the risk and go ahead and pray? 2 years is a long time to be away from your kids, parents, spouse, your bed, your stuff, your freedom.

Lest you think this is just some silly analogy, this scenario has not only been a reality, it was strongly enforced.

Let's take a look into a part of Daniel's life.

Daniel 6:1 -3 Darius reorganized his kingdom. He appointed one hundred twenty governors to administer all the parts of his realm. Over them were three vice-regents, one of whom was Daniel. The governors reported to the vice-regents, who made sure that everything was in order for the king.

6 -7 The vice-regents and governors conspired together and then went to the king and said, "King Darius, live forever! We've convened your vice-regents, governors, and all your leading officials, and have agreed that the king should issue the following decree:
For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions' den.

8 "Issue this decree, O king, and make it unconditional, as if written in stone like all the laws of the Medes and the Persians."

9 King Darius signed the decree.

10 When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.

11 -12 The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. "Did you not," they said, "sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions' den?"
"Absolutely," said the king. "Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians."

13 Then they said, "Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays."

14 At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he'd put him in. He worked at it the whole day long.

15 But then the conspirators were back: "Remember, O king, it's the law of the Medes and Persians that the king's decree can never be changed."

19 -20 At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions' den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?"

21 -22 "O king, live forever!" said Daniel. "My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I've been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I've done nothing to harm you."

Oh to have a heart like Daniel. A heart that quickly obeys without question or concern.

So here's yet another question: Would American Christian be upset if our government took away our freedom of religion and open prayer? Or is it even something we deem worthy of standing for?

Its easy to say we'd stand for our right to pray, but I would venture to guess that most of our stand would be based on our feeling of political infringement. Research shows that 4 out of 5 adults claim to have prayed ONCE in the past week. Alarming statistics that should make us all tremble. That statistic alone shoes an attitude of lukewarmness, and not a desire to be with Christ or the very least, a desire to connect with our Savior. We lack a desire to be like Daniel.

I leave you with the deepest question of them all - How's your prayer life?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Philosophy of Ministry

Just last week, a prospective church asked me to BRIEFLY write my philosophy of ministry.

This posed quite the challenge for Meredith and I.

Not because we don't have ideas and methods that we believe allows ministry to be most effective, but because we had to do it BRIEFLY!

But here it is. We tried our hardest to give the church an idea of who we were while emphasizing our strong love, desire, and heart to see families working together to fulfill the Great Commission.

At the age of 15, God placed a call on my life to surrender wholly to full-time ministry. Since that fateful day, as a young teenager, my passion and surrender to ministry has never wavered. My ideas and philosophy of ministry, however, has altered, grown, and deepened with each opportunity, as I strive to minister more and more as Jesus would have. While I do not have all the answers, and while I continue to learn more and more about how to reach the unreachable, I am encouraged as I strive to do ministry as simply as possible, and with one main target in mind – the family.

Typically, in most American churches, ministry venues are segregated - Children, youth, singles, seniors, etc. But in recent years, I have studied Reggie Joiner’s Think Orange concept and have come to agree with it. No longer should ministries function as separate entities, but rather, we should be placing our focus on putting all ministry areas under one banner – the family. I believe it is the responsibility of every minister to use his/her ministry focus as a portal to reaching the entire family. God has established the family as the first institution. Therefore it is our responsibility and privilege to equip the family in biblical truth and discipleship methods in order to change the world for Jesus Christ.

The children’s minister has the opportunity to use his/her influence with young children as an avenue to reaching that child’s entire family. A recreation pastor has the chance to show the love of Christ to mom, dad, sister, and brother, through youth summer soccer programs, adult basketball leagues, or running the church gymnasium. No matter the calling, each minister should use his specific focus of ministry to help reach an entire family.

In my personal calling to students, I have tried to focus every intent, activity, and event with the purpose in mind of reaching the entire family. During summer camps, I encourage parents to come to early morning prayer meetings at the church to specifically pray over their student. I give parents curriculum parallel to what students are learning, in hopes that continued study will go on within the home. I have sought counsel from a youth parent advisory board, set in place to keep me accountable and be the voice of parents. These activities, and others, are just examples of ways I have had the opportunity to see my philosophy of ministry put to work.

It has been said that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. It is my desire to not only set in place a direct purpose for ministry, but to aim at hitting it with excellence. As I strive to use my God-given opportunities to reach families for Jesus Christ, I am setting in place opportunities for God to change an entire generation.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Toys & Heaven

Last night, my wife had planned a Girls Night Out at our house.

Now, if you are like me, when you hear the words "Girls Night Out," images come flying to mind of women chatting a hundred miles an hour, watching cry-your-eyes-out-movies, discussing the latest good read, and eating piles of chocolate. Well, this girls night out was no different.

Of course, that is no safe plae for a husband - of his three kiddos.

So I did what any good dad would do - I took them to parooze the aisle of Target.

Now, I hope you aren't like my wife and are distracted by the children standing in the cart that you miss the cuteness of this photo.

I love this photo for so many reasons.

First of all, I love that it provides me with a visual memory of a great evening. I love when I get to spend time with my family. Besides my relationship with Jesus, they are the most important things on the list. Hanging out with my three children is one of the most rewaring responsibilities I have ever been given. I am thankful everyday for God giving me the divine priviledge of being their daddy.

Secondly, I love the awe-struck looks upon all of their faces. They stand in wonder and amazement as their eyes take in all the colors and beauty of the new toys just within an arm's reach.

I couldn't help but imagine what my face might look like someday, as I embrace Heaven and an eternity with my heavenly Father. I imagine it might look much like my kids faces tonight. Standing, quietly, soaking it all in. Wanting to scream and yell at the top of my lungs and shout for joy at the beauty of it all.

My kids had seen commercials for these very toys. They have flipped through Toys'R'Us catalogs, and made their Christmas wishlists. But there is nothing like seeing them, upclose, to truly appreciate how wonderful those toys really are.

I have read descriptions of Heaven in the Bible, and imagined what it might look like. I have seen paintings from world-renowned artists depicting their prognosis of Heaven. And yet, until we reach it, we will never full know. Never fully comprehend. Never fully understand what God has so perfectly prepared for us.

All I do know, is my heart aches for the day when I will meet my Maker face to face and truly understand His great love for me. In the meantime, though, I will keep enjoying nights like tonight and doing my best to raise three children that will change this world for Christ.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Q & A

Because one of the reasons for starting this blog was to give prospective churches a better understanding of who I am and my heart for ministry, I, from time to time, like to post applicable questions and my answers to those questions, to help achieve that goal.

So here are a few. Feel free to leave feedback on your own ideas and answers.

(*Disclaimer - all these questions have been asked of me in the interview process, I can't take credit for the questions!)

How would you “in a nutshell” describe what a “successful” student ministry looks like?

Youth groups are often measured by the number of people in attendance; however, I feel it should be measured by the number and depth of changed lives. Youth ministry is an on-going process where the goals and tasks are constantly changing and there isn’t a finish line on this side of Heaven. However, there are key things, as a student minister, that I am always striving to see amidst my students and amidst my ministry.

First and foremost, I long to reach students and bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. I pray that the student ministry is equipping disciples to further the Gospel and reach their schools and communities for Christ. A God-centered student ministry should be reproducing itself, not by my works, but by the passion of excited and energized students, on fire for Christ. A thriving ministry has students who pray, speak truth, ask tough questions, show love, desire life-change, and are reaching and making a true impact on a community.

I personally believe a successful student ministry should be reaching not only the student, but the entire family as well. It is my job, as well as the other adult volunteers, to walk alongside the family amidst this daunting task of raising teenagers. I want to see life changes in students, but also see families being strengthened in Christ.

How are you growing personally as a leader?

Of course, within my ministry, I am always striving to grow and mature as a leader. I meet with fellow student ministers, gather new ideas, attend enrichment conferences, and submit myself to the accountability of a mentor. I am always striving to better myself in every area of ministry from administration to sermon writing.

In my personal life, I am listening to pod casts (Matt Chandler, Francis Chan, David Platt, etc) keeping a journal, reading books, and getting involved in ministries away from my own church ministry. I strive to be a godly husband and father as I lead my home to be one that is centered upon Jesus Christ. It is my goal to never be satisfied with performance, and I long to constantly better myself in every area of leadership – both personally and professionally.

What is your process for recruiting/developing adult volunteer leaders?

Proverbs 11:14 says, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.” I cannot imagine a student ministry without adult volunteer leaders. Each one plays such a key role in helping make decisions and in making an impact in the lives of students. It is impossible for me to have deep relationships with every student, so I rely heavily on my adult volunteers to help in any and all areas of ministry.

I once heard a wise youth communicator give a model for adult volunteer leadership. The leadership cycle: find them, train them, empower them, challenge them, and find more. It is my desire to perfectly emulate this cycle.

For recruiting volunteers, I begin to look for people who are called to minister to students. I extend a personal invitation, cast a vision for where I see the student ministry going, and invite them to join us. I have developed a checklist of Biblical requirements that each volunteer must adhere to and standards by which they must abide. Examples of requirements are having a personal relationship with Jesus, being able to share with others the plan of salvation, attend church regularly, thoroughly prepare for each lesson, be in good standings with the church, and submitting to volunteer development. Once a covenant, agreeing upon those terms, has been signed, I would immediately begin putting their talents into action.

After an initial group is formed, I begin asking my already-established volunteers for recommendations and suggestions. I want all who are willing, able, and meet the requirements to find a place to serve within the student ministry.

Developing volunteers is most effectively achieved with constant, ongoing communication. I like to hold monthly meetings to make sure we are all on the same page. I like to meet one-on-one (or with my wife when meeting with female leaders), so that I can have a better understanding as to the heart of each volunteer and the progress each one is making. I believe it is also important to hold a biannual evaluation of adult volunteers. It is a time for me to evaluate them, as well as a time for them to cast light onto my weaknesses and to expose areas of growth and potential.

*This an area I am striving to improve on, and I hope with each experience, that I am becoming more efficient in this area.

What is your process for developing student leaders?

Matthew 20:26 says, “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.” This is often a very difficult principle for Christians to understand. Most students want to become leaders because they want to be in the limelight or the center of attention. However, this is not Christ’s example. If you want to be a leader, not just a student leader, but a Christian leader, you must learn to lead like Jesus and serve others.

Therefore, I strive to develop student leaders through discipleship and accountability followed by finding a place to serve. Whether it be outside the walls of the church - through service projects and mission trips - to right in our own ministry by running the sound booth or stacking chairs – finding a place to serve is essential. Those who are doing the work of the ministry by serving others – that is a true leader.

As always, feel free to contact me or leave some feedback! Hope you found this helpful.