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Finding Direction in The Father

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      Father’s Day is a day of great celebration for our father’s that raised us and took care of us. Father’s are such an important piece to a family, but sadly there are a lot of sons and daughters that will struggle with fathers. From tragedy to neglect, there are many reasons that people struggle with this holiday. Even in the Bible, we see one of the most identifiable characters, Jonathan, with a messed up relationship with his dad.

     Throughout 1 Samuel we see instances of Jonathan’s father, Saul, being a man that was angry, depressed, and neglectful. In 1 Samuel 18, we see his jealousy of David and that led to him throwing a spear at him. Then Jonathan defends David, standing up to his father and then aiding David getting him to safety. Saul insults him and swears at him, calling him names and shaming his birth. Jonathan did not have it easy when it came to his father.

      Jonathan’s relationship with Saul was a tumultuous one for lack of better words. There’s a lesson we can learn from Jonathan's response to Saul. Saul’s failures and shortcomings didn’t’ define Jonathan’s direction. Saul might have wanted to kill his best friend, but Jonathan stood loyal to David. Jonathan also stood by his father’s side until the end. Even though he had every reason to abandon him, every reason to disregard him, he still stood with his brothers and defended Israel.

      We see throughout Jonathan’s life a common thread that his Heavenly Father, not his earthly one, led him. Jonathan was not defined by Saul’s actions (or inaction) in his life. He followed God and served him, even when his own father was against him. Draw on Jonathan’s example and find your direction and purpose through Christ.

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The Last Word with Blake Park

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Hey, Blake. Great to speak with you! What’s your role and what ministry area do you work in at E91?

I am the E91 Students Pastor and I work with both the middle school and high school students. 

What’s your typical day-to-day look like?

A lot of what I do is attempt to help small group leaders and volunteers, develop and adjust the teaching calendar, coordinate in events with small group leaders, and connecting with new small group leaders. Typically on Sundays, I am focused on pushing the program along and engaging with our students.

Why have you been called into this ministry?

I am in Student Ministry because of a few specific instances in my life. Growing up I always had connections with my elementary pastor, middle school pastor, and high school pastor. As weird as it sounds, I had people coming up to me in 4th grade and saying, “God’s going to do great things in you.” Next, I was at a church camp my freshman year of high school and I was attending one of the teaching sessions. At the end of the session, they had a call for people who wanted to go into full-time ministry and that was very interesting to me, so I went up and prayed with them.

My high school pastor also took me in and saw leadership potential in me. He gave me opportunities to lead in our youth group, whether it was recruiting fellow students to sign-up for mission’s trips or packing the van for the mission’s trips. There were a lot of great teaching moments with him. All this to say, these little moments pushed me and developed a desire to serve in Student's Ministry.

The best thing about your ministry?

I love it when a student accepts responsibility for their faith. Instead of just going to church because of their parents or friends, they attend because they have a desire to do so. This shows me that this student has the potential to stick with their faith for the long run.

Any suggestions for a new family?

I like to ask students to come for 4-weeks in a row. I encourage them to try it out and expect to connect with others If they don't like it, at least they gave it an honest effort. To the parents, I would say to make us a priority. We live in an age where we all have 9,000 activities going on. We realized with our students is that we get 30-40 opportunities to connect with a student so we can’t connect with them if they aren’t there.

What going on in E91 Students currently?

We have a lot of great summer camps coming up CIY Move for high schoolers, CIY Mix for our middle school students and Camp Allendale. To any parent that is interested in getting to know me, let me know! Let’s grab coffee; let’s chat because I would love to demonstrate what E91 Students are all about. You can email me at . Reach out and let's talk!

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