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Owning Our Immaturity

IMG_0331It’s easy to look young people who choose living at home with their parents instead of getting a job and call them lazy. But some of the blame should be placed on the adults around them.

The sad fact is many of us (adults) deal with life in very immature ways

This leaves young people without a pattern or role model of what it means to be real man or woman. Unfortunately that means they turn to popular cultures definition of what an adult looks like.

This lack of role models has really bothered me lately because it forces me to admit how many times I don’t act like an adult

Oh when things are going well I always act my age of course. But when facing a challenging situation my first response is to procrastinate.

How bad is my procrastination? Let me put it this way:

If procrastinating was a sport, I would be the undisputed World Champion, and wear a championship belt wherever I went.

When the job can’t be put off any longer I will get it done. However that attitude contradicts the challenge I’m giving students who procrastinate on their class assignments.

So before demanding young people become adults, we as adults need to own our immaturity

  1. Like when we choose our comfort zones instead of taking risks
  2. Viewing small setbacks as the biggest failure in history, and proof we will never succeed
  3. Refusing to admit we are wrong even when the mistake is obvious
  4. More interested in what we can get from others than working for it
  5. And doing lots of things in an average way instead of pursuing excellence [1]

Is it any wonder when we are acting like this that teens extend adolesence?

I’m not saying that every adult in the world has to be perfect because nobody is. Instead our ACTIONS should display maturity, even when we’ve made a mistake.

  1. By owning up to what we have done wrong (no excuses)
  2. Apologizing for the mistake, and making changes so it doesn’t happen again
  3. Accept any consequences that comes from those actions in a humble way

We must remember that teens hear people explain how an adult should act almost every day…but very rarely are they able to actually see one act that way.

  1. Just to be clear, I have seen all of these in my life many times  ↩

Why God is a Greater Motivator Than You or Me

Image Purchased from

Image Purchased from

As a teenager I had lots of confidence issues (low self-esteem) which meant only doing things that fit in my comfort zone [1].

As this continued into my College years, the Lord through Scripture began challenging me to take steps towards adulthood. One of the most powerful verses used for this was Jeremiah 1:17

17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

Jeremiah was a prophet who when called by God, had some serious confidence issues of his own [2]. The Lord gave encouragement through the promise of His presence [3] but knew that more motivation was needed.

So in verse seventeen God challenges Jeremiah to be a man

Continue Reading…

August 21 Ministry Update: Personally Answering Immigration Questions

IMG_0312I’m an over-sharer, it’s always been that way even from a young age. The Lord in his sovereignty saw fit to make me an incredibly transparent person.

This creates a challenge for ministry communication in our hyper-connected world where more than ever it’s important to be careful what we share online

This is particularly true for me when it comes to updates on my return to Australia 

It’s frustrating wanting to have a true relationship with prayer supporters [1] but at the same time realizing wisdom needs to be used with online communication.

The Lord is leading to deal with this challenge by scheduling personal meetings with Believers in the Winston-Salem/Greensboro area

The idea behind those meetings is this:

  1. I take those interested in learning more about my ministry out for coffee or lunch
  2. I share with them a personal ministry presentation that answers questions they may have
  3. That information can then be personally shared with Churches, and other Believers who want to receive updated ministry info

Of course I realize that people have incredibly busy schedules, but would love to take around a half-hour sharing in a clear way how the Lord is blessing my Journey Home to Melbourne.

Anyone who is interested in a personal meeting can contact me via Facebook, Twitter, or just leave a comment below.

Please pray for me as I seek to find ways for sharing open transparent ministry updates not only in person, but online as well.

John Wilburn

  1. One that shares both blessings and prayer requests in an open way  ↩

Why Teenagers Respect Weakness

10407003_10202847311478790_5754927269501343561_nhow do you earn the trust of a teenager?

I started asking myself that question a few years ago after noticing the trend of “kidulthood” or adolescence that extends into their late-twenties.

Through research along with trial and error, I’ve found some answers to that difficult question

  1. By being honest with them
  2. By doing the right thing even when it’s hard
  3. By treating them like adults (this includes their experiencing consequences for wrong actions)
  4. By giving them a safe place to vent their frustrations

More than anything else though there one guaranteed way to gain respect of young people.

Display your weakness openly

As adults most of us (myself included) hide the weak or embarrassing parts of our lives. This gives the idea we have it all together, even though it definitely isn’t true

Actually teens know adults struggle with life from time to time just like they do. So those who try to hide those struggles are viewed as fake. However those who own their weakness are viewed with great respect.

Allow me to explain…

I am without a doubt the worst athlete on the face of the earth. As a child my lack of athleticism was so bad I dreaded Awana’s because there would always be a relay game[1]. But in later years I decided not to let that keep me from having fun and playing  games.

This summer I spoke at a Camp and (as usual) ended up injuring myself [2]. This made me slower than usual, so of course they used the most humiliating games possible.

  1. Monday: Steal the bacon
  2. Tuesday: Water fight (I lost)
  3. Wednesday: Dodge ball
  4. Thursday: Capture the flag

Wednesday night was particularly embarrassing because I was being defended by girls roughly half my size.

It would have been really easy for me to take an injury exemption and watch from the sidelines, but at the same time there was a connection with the young people as I played the games alongside them.

Just so I am clear:

  • Displaying our weakness doesn’t mean constantly feeling sorry for yourself,
  • or acting as if you are a teenager
  • or sharing too much information from our personal lives

However there are moments when our weakness is evident…like when you have to be defended by little girls in dodgeball.

When this happens don’t try to act as if you have it all together, embrace the weakness that everyone else can see. You will be amazed at the respect it brings.

  1. to this day an awana circle makes me break out in a cold sweat  ↩
  2. A sprained knee and a few cracked ribs  ↩

August 20 Ministry Update

SAMSUNG CSCSince mid-summer I have been delivering packets of information to Churches, and asking if I could speak to the Pastor for ten minutes. The idea was to encourage him, and learn more about how to reach others with the Gospel of Christ.

To be honest these attempts weren’t very productive…and there is actually a very good reason for that

I wasn’t making them an emphasis

Continue Reading…

Listening to Teens Instead of Trying to Change Them

Boy at a old abandoned playgroundIn recent years the amount of stress faced by youth[1] have resulted in “kidulthood” which means adolescence is extended to early or late twenties.

One reason for this growth is our normal response[2] doesn’t really help, because the problem goes much deeper than just being lazy

About a year ago I began meeting with a young man we will call Peter (not his real name). It didn’t take long for us to connect because he was just like me during my teen years.

  1. We both were loud outgoing people who liked to entertain others
  2. We didn’t really fit into any of the different groups at school
  3. we had a lot of friends that we knew, but few real friends

Sadly Peter was desperately lonely, but almost nobody knew it

Much of this loneliness came from influences in his life that tried to “change Peter.”

  1. His dad felt he wasn’t masculine enough and tried to get Peter interested in sports
  2. His mother always told him that he needed to defend himself and not be so nice
  3. Fellow students acted like they were his friend, but wouldn’t spend time with him because he didn’t wear the latest clothes
  4. Girls who would talk with him, but never when their friends were around

Instead of taking away the pressure he was dealing with these individuals added to the stress level and made things worse [3]!

He needed someone who he could talk to about all of that pressure

One week instead of being his loud and laughing self Peter kept looking down and playing with a piece of paper on the desk. After about fifteen minutes of this I asked what it was he wanted to talk about.

Peter responded by telling me his father was really excited about the football games that Thanksgiving and wanted Peter to watch all of them with him. The only problem was Peter HATED football, but was afraid to tell his father that

So we spent thirty-minutes discussing how he could turn down his fathers offer in the most respectful way possible.

A few weeks later Peter came in for our session with a huge smile on his face…our ideas had worked.

Starting that day he almost always shared some of the drama or stress in his life with me, the conversation usually started with, “okay I’ve got to tell you something.”

Over the year we tackled the issues of

  1. How to be honest even when it offends somebody
  2. Finding people who were willing to be his friend no matter what
  3. How to ask a girl out to the prom
  4. What to do when you have a date to the prom
  5. And what it means to truly be a man

The most important part of our time together is it gave Peter a safe place where he could just be himself. On more than one ocassion we were asked to be calm down because people could hear us laughing in the school office but that’s fine by me :-)

There were lots of things in Peter’s life that needed to be worked on (and he knew that). However the first step towards adulthood was giving him a safe place to share his frustrations or questions without fear that someone would try to change him.

  1.  ↩
  2. telling the child they are being lazy, and create rules that bring discipline  ↩
  3. I realize Peter’s parents did this out of love for him, but it still added to the problem  ↩

A L̶a̶z̶y̶ Overwhelmed Generation of Youth

Teenage DepressionThere is no doubt most youth exhibit less discipline than prior generations, however there is a lot of debate about the reason why

At first glance it seems as if the answer is incredibly simple…”they are just lazy!”

Take a closer look though and you will realize it isn’t that easy

Continue Reading…

August 18 Ministry Update

SAMSUNG CSCAugust 18, 2014

Dearest Friends,

This summer I shared with you a desire that God placed upon my heart to step away from volunteering opportunities, and develop relationships with Churches outside the Winston Salem area by dropping of information personally, and taking the pastor out for coffee.

With the Lord’s help I was able to set aside Tuesdays for traveling, but couldn’t do any more than that. The main reason for this was a Hispanic couple who I teach English in the mornings from 9:00 till 10:30.

Because of their work schedule it wasn’t possible to meet at a later time in the day, which meant Churches couldn’t be visited since most Pastors were not there in the afternoons.

Instead of ending the classes I decided to pray that God would work things out if He wanted me to travel more. This week the Lord answered that prayer using a text message.

What began as meeting in the afternoon turned into having class at 7:00 pm which gives plenty of time to share my burden for Australia with Churches! I’m incredibly grateful for this blessing that allows me to travel three to four days a week instead of one.

Please continue to pray for me as I begin visiting Churches outside the Winston Salem/Greensboro area that have never heard about my ministry. Also ask the Lord to give wisdom about which ones to focus on.
Thanks so much for all of your prayers and support.

In Him,

John Wilburn