Thursday, May 15, 2008

Insights to the Lesson Learned Series - Introducing Bill Masek

I wanted to let you know that a very good friend of mine named Bill Masek is going to be writing some insights into what I've been writing about in the Lesson Learned Series.

Bill and I served together in ministry during many of the things I've written about, and he's one of those guys that always caused me to pause and ponder what God is doing, and what He is potentially trying to say to me. Bill has his Masters Degree in Counseling, and was used of God then and is still being used of God now in my life and ministry. Here's an excerpt from one of his writings where he puts the relationship that he and I have in ministry into perspective...

"The first time I really connected with Brent wasn't a verbal conversation as much as it was a look that we gave each other from 100 feet away. There we were, having a few years hearing about each other through mutual friends, meeting at a few youth events, but never connecting. I found myself as a leader heading off to do a missions trip with Brent's youth group without much of a conversation between us. Here we are in a major airport with 25 teens and 10 leaders and I figured out what my job should be without even discussing it with Brent. Since I had been on 10 youth missions trips in the past I knew there should always be youth leader bringing up the rear of the back to make sure that none of the teens gets lost in the shuffle. I positioned myself there with out Brent knowing, and as we began to load onto the plane Brent looked back to make sure there was a leader bringing up the rear. He looked back to see if someone was there, I looked back at him with a nod that spoke a million words. Without conversation and even time to know each other we both understood that we were on the same page...."
Bill, is a great resource and a great encourager and I'm so glad to be able to post his insights from a counseling perspective to my articles.

We're looking for a good name for his series of responses so if you have anything catchy let me know.

Here's an example of he will be doing.... I wrote the article called Excuses, Excuses as a Lesson that I learned that will hopefully serve as an example to youth leaders of things to avoid or ways to process similar situations that they will face in the future.

Bill read what I wrote and brought a counselor's perspective to the situation that will help the reader learn some potential reasons behind why I did what I did, so they can also deepen the learning in their lives, as well as in some cases, totally avoid the dumb mistake all together (mistakes like posting this picture to illustrate exactly how Bill served in a leadership role on our team by filling in and serving where needed, even if it was the back of the bus...but I have no idea how to crop out the fact that the student behind me is scratching her nose...I was there it was a scratch not a pick...Lesson Learned)

Here is what Bill wrote about the Excuses, Excuses article...

If only you could go back and let "Junior High Brent" know that most likely most guys his age, in the same circumstances would end up doing the same thing. Even at the age of 37 I think if I ran across an episode of Scooby Do I would sit there with great expectation hoping that Scrappy would appear. We can admit that now, but back in those teen years we do not have the realization that almost every guy is in the same shoes that we are. If we haven't grown out of cartoons by the time we are forty we certainly hadn't grown out of them during our Jr. High days. A truth like that would have saved all of us a lot of shameful feelings about ourselves.

Isn't that what God does to excuses, He brings truth to them. Whether we are talking about Moses or our own lives, He sees through our excuses and calls us on them. Moses' excuses were based on feeling inadequate and insecure with who he was. God didn't give Moses a chance to believe his own excuse of why he was the wrong person for the job, and right away God made it about who He was and not Moses.

As I walk away from your article I am realizing that we have to look at excuses from two perspectives. First is on a personal level where we all need to reflect on how we label our own excuses. What are we trying to hide with our excuses. Maybe we make excuses to put the blame on others, or maybe our excuses are made to hide our ugliness from the rest of the world. Either way, and no matter what the reason is that we make so many excuses, God wants us to call things as they are, and with this action we can have freedom.

The second perspective is seeing how we can use others excuses as ministry opportunities. Whether there is truth in the excuse or not, there are opportunities to open the door for deeper conversations. In the example of your "bizarre excuse", I am sure the young musician wasn't late to practice because of the incident the night before. He got away with not having to give a truthful account of why he was late because everyone was preoccupied with his injured face. For this teen he used his "victimization" to hide the truth. Imagine what could have been revealed if at some point you took him aside and said, "I'm sorry your nose got caught up in the bass, but can I ask why you were actually late tonight?"

I think people gain respect when they challenge someone's excuse, especially if it is a real poor one. Even more important, I think people gain respect when they reveal truth in someones life. As a youth leader, once you prove that you care and cannot have the wool pulled over your eyes then teens tend to listen and be more truthful. This kind of happened with Jesus and the woman at the well. As soon as the woman realized Jesus knew everything about her she knew that there was something divine about Jesus. With that realization about Him, she opened up and gave her whole life to Him. Likewise we shouldn't let these ministry opportunities go by. With an excuse there is a shame, hurt, embarrassment and/or ego that needs to be healed and freed.

See what I mean...good stuff! I'm excited about bringing these insightful tid-bits to the blog, so be looking for more of them in the future...if you have a catchy name let me know, Bill and I will send an autographed copy of our first book to the winner (you're patience will be tested, I wonder what Bill would say that that tells about a person?)

Leave a comment with some catchy names for Bill's Series...thanks!

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