Tuesday, January 30, 2007

It's Cold Outside

It's hard to believe that January is almost gone. Time flies!

The Spiritual Adventure weekend went very well. We had over 100 students and youth leaders show up. The seminar leaders did an excellent job. The waterpark was fun, too!! (Just so you know I can make a pretty big "splash" at the end of a large water slide :) )

The temperature outside is only about 1 and yet plans are already in place for youth camp (Camp 180) for this summer. Bay Forrest, former NBA player for the Phoenix Suns, is our speaker. We are expanding our out reach for camp this year. We are hoping to get some youth from the West Michigan District as well as some non-denominational churches who don't have camps.

I am in the middle of getting ready for the annual Winter Retreat that we have at Brockway. It is a good time of fellowship and I hope growth for the teens. This year's theme is "Rugged Prayer" . It focuses on prayer in everyday life and in the trying times of life.

I am reading through the Bible again this year (I read through the Bible last year as part of the year of the Bible in the Wesleyan Church). The OT part of my reading lately, is where Moses is leading the people out of Egypt. The Pharoah continues to have a heard heart and God continues to bring plagues on Egypt.

It is easy to read about the Pharoah and think he is crazy for ignoring the warning of the plagues. One plague comes and he tells Moses to go ahead and go, but then he changes his mind and says no. We just shake our heads and think, that Pharoah is just asking for trouble. But, how many times have we seen people like this? Or worse, how many times have we been like this? We hear from God. We are convicted of something. We feel nudged to do something. We determine that we are going to stop something or start something or be kinder or whatever. Then we forget about it, or we make some excuse for not going through with it. In essence, we harden our hearts to God.

It's my prayer for you and for me in 2007, that we have soft hearts. I pray the you and I have hearts that can understand what God is saying and then follows through. May we learn a lesson from a hard hearted Pharoah.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Merry Christmas

It has been forever since I have posted anything and a lot has happened in the world. The Republicans got spanked in the mid-term elections, The Iraq Study group has released their study, My boys finished their fall sport seasons, My oldest son started indoor soccer, I found out I have some serious arthritis in my left knee, We went of vacation to the no so "sunny" south. It was the earliest snow in Charleston, SC history.

Now we are fast and furious into the Christmas Season. Yeah, I said Christmas not Holiday Season. Not PC but I am bold like that :).

I am stoked that the District Spiritual Adventure weekend has AWESOME numbers registered. This is the first time we have tried a District Retreat in a hotel setting. We will be at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City. In the past we have only had up to about 30 people for this retreat, this year we have over 90 registered. It is GREAT!! God has blessed and is blessing and all the seminar leaders are in place and the ball is rolling just as it should. It makes a DYP proud :).

I am so thankful that we have a God that cares and is involved with His creation. We have been discussing God and His attributes in Youth on Wednesday Night the last couple of weeks. I have studied His attributes (Omniprescence, Omnipotence, Omniscience, Transcendence, Immance, Holiness, etc....) for along time- and they still BLOW ME AWAY! When I contemplate what it is for God to be God it is simply staggering.

I think it is only appropriate to think of all the attributes of God this time of year (Christmas). It was at the birth of Jesus that God wrapped Himself in flesh and came and dwelt among us. How awesomeis that?!! It is mind boggeling to think that the God that is all "that" took on the limitations of a mortal body for me, for you, for everyone. It is thoughts like that that keep me up at night in awe and wonder and praise for our God.

So I wish you a Merry CHRISTmas!! May the thought of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ, blow your mind!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Work, football, soccer, surgery and other things that make you tired

Life is going full speed ahead. My boys are both playing sports. Jonathan is still playing football, but I think he would rather be playing soccer. David is playing soccer and doing a great job. He scored two goals last Saturday. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see them because I was picking my wife up from the hospital after back surgery on Friday. She is doing ok now but won't be back to work for about two weeks. That is hard on her because she is a work-a-holic.

We started youth worship back up. It is going ok, but will be better when the student leaders are put into place in the next few weeks. Many of them are so young but they have a lot of potential. If I can only harness their powers for good instead of evil :).

At times it seems like life goes by so fast. Days are so full of things that have to be done. Life is like that. It is so important that as I do the things that have to be done, work, practices, etc.. that I am aware of the presence of God. The psalmist said "If I go to the highest of heights, You are there, If I go to the deepest of depths, You Are there". I need to rejoice in the fact that as I go to work, HE is there, as I go to practice, HE is there, as I go to the store, HE is there. There is no place that I can go that HE is not there. I take comfort in that! I take comfort in knowing that when I feel weak and weary- HE is my strength.

As the comercial says "Life Comes at you Fast". The good news is God is faster!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Lessons from the Gridiron

My youngest son (8) just started playing football this year (it's the first year he has been old enough). I am thrilled, because unlike soccer, I actually know what I am doing when it comes to football. I signed up to help assist in the coaching of the team. So when I am out on the field during the practices I try to impart to my son my years of football and coaching experience. Sometimes he looks at me and I know he gets it. He hears what I am saying and I see him put it into practice. Sometimes he looks at me like I was an alien and was speaking some wierd language. He just doesn't get it, either because of how I described it or because he just wasn't teachable at the moment. So, I just smile and try again another way or at another time when he is a little less tired and hot. Most of the time he gets it or will get it in time.

It hit me that the way my son is with me on the gridiron is how we are with God. There are times when God reveals something to me and I get it. I understand what He is saying and I put it in practice. There are times however when I am a little slow. I don't get what God is trying to teach me. Sometimes it's because I just am not teachable, sometimes because I am a little dense. It's then that I think God smiles and by His grace, He goes about teaching me in another way or just waits until I catch on.

I like it best when I get it quick! Lately I think I have been a little slow to grasp what God is trying to teach me in some instances. I am thankful that He is more patient than I am!

What about you? What is your experience been like with God? Do you get it quick always or are you like me, sometimes it takes a little longer!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Youth Camping Trip

Just got back today from a three day youth camping trip. We stayed at a "Rustic Cabin" (read outhouse, no electricity). It was good. It was the first trip with the new Jr. Highers. They did very well and I believe they will be a breath of fresh air. The boys are very "creative" (read mischeiveious). They melted a Hershey's Bar (OK with my help) and wiped it all over the toilet seats in the outhouse. They also did the old shave cream in the hand while sleeping trick. It was fun. They also played a lot of air soft. We went tubeing down a deep, cold river for about 3 hours but it was a lot of fun. The last day we spent at a beach then headed home. I am very pleased at the outcome and am thankful for the adult sponsors who went a long to help. I could not have done it without them!

New students give me a "breath of fresh air" in youth ministry. There is always more to do and more leaders to train. What gives you a "breath of fresh air"? What does God bring into your life and ministry to give you the "fresh air" that keeps you going in the ministry.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Family Camp and other things

I am just back from Family Camp. I was in charge of the youth ministry again this year. Things went very well. The speaker did a good job and everything went smoothly. I am thankful to God for that!!

During the camp week I was voted in as District Youth President. I am excited about what God has instore for the Youth Ministry of the District. God has placed some very fine youth pastors and youth leaders in our District. It is my goal to have the District Youth be an aid to those doing youth ministry. Leadership training will be a very important part of this. We will also be putting an emphasis on those being called into the ministry. I am thrilled that a youth pastor has already stepped up to lead our 'fellowship of the called'. It is great the way God works.

Leadership is another opportunity to serve. I am thankful that oppotunity.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Youth Camp

I just returned home from youth camp today. Camp went very well. I had 7 teens from the church attend Sr. High camp. I was so glad they were able to make it. The speaker did a great job as did the worship band. God moved in both camps.

I sometimes wonder what it is like for some of the teens who go home to churches who worship in a totally different way than we do at camp. The music is loud, exciting, contemporary (not a hymnal in sight), and the messages are aimed at teens. When the teens get back to their home churches- I am sure that for many of them it is not like it is at camp. God can move in any type of service- but it seems that in the camp atmosphere the teens are more receptive.

I am glad that God uses a variety of ways (including camp) to reach down to us. The depth of God's love for His children is amazing. I am blessed to be able to see it in action.