1. Who would you consider a mentor like Moses and a friend like Caleb? How have they encouraged you in your faith journey?
I definitely look up to the preachers I have worked with during my time in ministry. Both Lance in Moline and Allen here in Mitchell have been extremely positive influences in my life. They have both taught me valuable lessons about how to do ministry, how to relate to people, how to approach the Word, how to work well with other church leaders, and much more. They are the Moses to my Joshua or the Paul to my Timothy.
And I would not be the man I am today without close Caleb-like friends in my life – like Bryson, Jordan, Michael, and others. These guys in particular have been there for me in tough times to encourage me, to laugh with me, and to help me see things in a new perspective. I thank God for the fellow godly men he has put in my life.
2. Read Galatians 5:22-23. How might fear keep you from experiencing the fruit of the Spirit?
Most of these virtues listed in Galatians are outwardly focused. They have to do mostly with our relationship to others and how we treat our neighbors. I’ve noticed that when I am fearful, anxious, or worried I tend to turn inward – focusing mainly on myself and my needs. Instead of loving, I become apathetic towards others. Joy becomes reservation and suspicion. I cannot find any peace, especially when I am lying in my bed with worst-case scenarios playing through my head. I get incredibly impatient with people, especially my family. I find it harder to be kind, good, or gentle with people and instead react harshly or sarcastically. I begin to doubt God and lose faith in his ability, choosing instead to trust in my own abilities. And self-control goes out the window, especially if there’s food involved.
Fear, worry, and anxiety are really in opposition to everything God is trying to do through his Spirit!
3. Have you chosen to courageously serve the Lord? Why or why not? If so, how does that show in your everyday life? If not, what is holding you back?
I believe that my family and I are all in when it comes to serving the Lord. I could have chosen just about any profession – many of which would be easier and make a lot more money! But I have followed God’s call into youth ministry. I know there are other things I could be doing that we just don’t seem ready for right now. But if God says “Go,” we will go. The harder part is living out the gospel in my everyday life. I think the biggest part of that is to be a light in the darkness. Our world seems really dark right now. There is a lot of fear and anxiety. I believe it’s part of my job (and the job of my fellow Christians) to show that we have nothing to fear. If God is for us, who can be against us?! What a great testimony it would be to the world if followers of Christ stopped living life in fear!