Hug the Tree

BeTheTree logo 2.10

“Be the Tree” is so much more than a cool logo. For the youth ministry at Journey, it is their mission! Our Youth Pastor, Jeff Bradburn, uses the image of the inverted tree, along with this phrase to constantly remind the students of the opportunity in front of them. You remember the story of Zacchaeus and the childhood song that so many of us grew up singing, don’t you? Sing along with me:

“Zacchaeus was a wee little man

And a wee little man was he.

He climbed up in a sycamore tree

For the Lord he wanted to see…”

And what happened? Because he climbed the tree, he encountered Jesus, received the love of the Lord and his life was forever changed. And so we come to the battle cry for The Passage Youth Ministry, “Be The Tree!” What if every student in this ministry became the tree for those around them? How many Zacchaeuses would the Father bring home? What if every follower of Jesus lived for this? To became the tree…a tool that God uses for people to see and encounter Jesus!

In an effort for our youth ministry to continue growing in their mission, we are heading toward the final stages of completing a youth facility to house them. It’s been a tremendous thrill to see this building go up, knowing how it will be used by our students and made available to the community around us. This building will definitely help our students continue to “Be The Tree!”

Well, early this morning, I headed up to this new facility so I could get a check to one of the sub-contractors that is completing a project today. It’s my day off, so Brycen (my 4-year-old little boy) and I had just started our “Daddy Day.” I pulled up to the parking lot, got Brycen out of the car, went inside, signed a check and then headed over to The Passage building. As we walked in, Brycen stopped to take a long look at The Passage logo that is stamped into the stained floor. I paid the contractor, then Brycen and I headed back to the car. As I was getting him settled in the car, he looked at me and said, “Daddy…does The Passage sign say, ‘Hug the Tree’?”

HUG the Tree? Really?

Well…guess I still have some work to do to get my little man on mission with us!

be the tree

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Built To Last

The Passage finally got their foundation! After seven years of being a nomadic group of students who have moved from an off-site building five miles away, to a neighboring rental facility next door, to currently sharing space with our Journey Kidz children’s ministry…now, their long-term home is a very near reality. Our family at Journey couldn’t be more excited – not just because our youth ministry will have a place to call their own but primarily because of what they will do with it. The connections that will be made there, the hearts that will be cared for and the reckless love shared in the name of Jesus!

Last week, I stood at the edge of the construction site, watching truck after truck empty its cement into the huge trenches that crisscrossed this foundation and I was amazed at how sturdy this building would be. It’s not just a cement pad but underneath are enormous concrete beams that run several feet down into the ground. As I watched, I thought, “This is a building that is being built to last!”

And I think about Jesus.

I think about those beams supporting the foundation for a building that will house amazing moments in the near future and I think about Jesus – our cornerstone and our foundation. I think about how the name of Jesus is held up over everything else for the students in The Passage ministry and for the adults at Journey. How he is continually shown to be our hope and our life.

When we have him, we are more than secure! We are built into a structure that others will marvel at. He is our foundation of faith and supports our walk with God but he is so much more. When Jesus is truly present, he redefines everything for us. With Jesus, we have what we are looking for. With Jesus, the mystery of scripture is revealed. With Jesus, we find our true identity. With Jesus, we experience true family. With Jesus, we become a people of radical love. With Jesus, we can ignite the heart of a broken world.

I love watching this building grow!