Archive for the Category ◊ ministry ◊

07 Sep 2010 Is Your Theology Based on God’s Word?
 |  Category: ministry, youth  | 2 Comments

This comes from Jackie Kendall this morning in her Hope Alert email subscription. This one really stuck out this morning with all of our students in school for the year now, and fall ministries kicking off this coming Sunday.

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Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2:8

I have spent 4 decades consistently in awe of the many Christians who have built their lives around a theology that is based on a “Voyeuristic”(relying on the opinion of others) view of God and not a theology based on God’s Word. While reading an article by John Piper I came across this information that made me shout an “AMEN” that I am sure John Piper heard all the way in Minnesota!

“One of the reasons Martin Luther came to his great discovery in the Bible of justification by faith alone was that in his early years in the Augustinian monastery he was influenced to love Scripture by Johann Staupitz. Luther devoured the Bible in a day when people earned doctorates in theology without even reading the Bible. Luther said that his fellow professor, Andreas Karlstadt, did not even own a Bible when he earned his doctor of theology degree, nor did he until many years later. Luther knew so much of the Bible from memory that when the Lord opened his eyes to see the truth of justification in Romans 1:17, he said, “Thereupon I ran through the Scriptures from memory,” in order to confirm what he had found.”

Earning a doctorate in Theology without owning a Bible-that remark made me think of thousands of Christians that I have met across the US who want to know Jesus more intimately but they still do not spend time each day in God’s Word-the ultimate textbook for theology. Recently I heard Francis Chan:

The most significant lesson I have ever learned-I learned in High School. In High School I learned-all I needed was to read the Word of God for myself.

I too learned in High School that reading God’s Word daily was not an optional activity. Unless you want to build a theology based on what others say about God, voyeuristic spirituality does not result in vibrant intimacy with Jesus.

Fewer and fewer people in America are in love with God’s Word and the “fall out” is becoming increasingly apparent! Recently while reading about the underground church in China (that is thriving and growing while the church is shrinking in America)-I came upon this remark that made me weep. One of the underground church leaders was sharing about the 50 house churches he is over. He told Philip Yancey that several of the house churches are being led by girls between the ages of 16-20. I just cried because of the passion and dedication of teen girls in the underground church in China in great contrast to the Christian teens in America who are more concerned about finding the RIGHT PAIR OF JEANS or getting a pedicure then they are about making a difference in their high schools. Too many teens in America are imitating the adults they are around-more concerned about burning candles before the god of mammon (stuff) then loving God’s Word and sharing it with others.

Is your theology drenched and saturated with God’s Word or is it a shallow caricature of the truth? Please read Job 23, TREASURE HIS WORDS!

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You can click here if you would like to sign up to be on their email list too. Jackie Kendall is one of my favorite authors with co-writing “Lady in Waiting” which I recommend to every young lady and woman to read, single or married. She is also the author of many other books, including her newest “Free Yourself to Love” which has had a huge impact on my life.

25 Aug 2010 Girl Time
 |  Category: ministry  | 2 Comments

I love hanging out with girls. Which, if asked in junior high or high school, I wouldn’t have ever thought that I would prefer to hang out with girls. But now, I love it! It’s just fun to be girly and talk about random stuff that only girls really get. Especially the way that topics flow, which was actually a topic in and of itself tonight. Today I got to go out to Caribou with a friend, which I really needed and enjoyed, and after that I couldn’t imagine staying in the house for the rest of the night, so I asked Tim last minute and changed my evening plans of staying at home with Hannah, to going to the senior high small groups with her for the evening. And I’m glad I did! There were mostly girls there tonight, so it was fun catching up on people’s lives and having girl chat. Pretty sure I was an effective form or birth control for the few that were asking questions about labor and delivery.

I’m really looking forward to helping out with the senior high again this year. The summer break has been nice, but I miss my weekly encounters with our youth girls. I’m also really looking forward to our church’s Love & Respect class that will be starting up soon. There are a few couples we know who are going to attend, and it’ll be so much fun to get to know them better and have a time of hanging out with others in our same stage of life.

13 May 2010 “Not everyone who calls out to me will enter…”
 |  Category: ministry, youth  | 5 Comments

I was reading through Matthew 7 today and one of the verses that stuck out to me is verse 21, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter.”

I have a Life Application study Bible for my quiet time, and the further study for verse 21 is very eye opening. Here’s what it says:

Not everyone who talks about heaven belongs to God’s Kingdom. Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. He wants us to do right, not just say the right words. What you do cannot be separated from what you believe. Jesus exposed those people who sounded religious but had no personal relationship with him. On “judgment day” only our relationship with Christ–our acceptance of him as Savior and our obedience to him–will matter. Many people think that if they are “good” people and say religious things, they will be rewarded with eternal life. In reality, faith in Christ is what will count at the judgment.

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This really sticks out to me with working with the youth in our church. So many people are raised up in the church, and are great at going through the motions of being a Christian. Go to Sunday School and Service on Sunday morning, and maybe go to some type of Bible Study on Wednesdays, maybe even play or sing in a praise band if you’re in to music, and then go home and live a totally different life. We are all guilty of this at times when we get into the routine and life is going well, we tend to slack off on our personal relationship with Christ and can loose focus. I also have to be careful that the life I live is not to only set an example to others, but I live in obedience to Christ because I love Him and want to worship Him. It’s not a one-time choice to live for Christ, it is a choice we make every day, and sometimes several times a day.

What gets me the most with this is us just having Confirmation Sunday a couple weeks ago. It is a very exciting time to hear our youth’s testimonies of what God is doing in their life. Honestly though, it was hard to not sit there and wonder which ones were being sincere and honest in their testimony, and wonder which ones were up there saying what they were “supposed” to say. And it saddens my heart to hear friends of confirmands report about ones that are so excited to be “done with church.” Our teens moving from junior high into high school is one of the highest drop out grades with involvement in church. And I’m sad to say, it’s not just their fault. What are the parents doing to live out their faith? There is a mind frame that once a student is done with confirmation, they’re done with church, or their faith. And with that mind frame, where is their faith? Were the past few years just words?

Jesus is very clear when he said, “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” You may know the right things to say at church, but so what. What are you living out? Parents, have you taught your children that it’s okay to go to church and be one person, then leave and be another? Or are you living your faith out and being a righteous example to your kids? It’s good for your kids to know that even you struggle in your walk with Christ. We all do. And it’s healthy to be real with your kids. But don’t set the example of a “Sunday Christian.” If you want help with that, ask. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help. We all have to look at our lives and constantly reevaluate where we are in our faith. What is the next step to take to become more Christlike?

And even if you don’t have kids in your home yet or anymore, what example do you show to others that you come in contact with throughout the week? Are you living a righteous life, asking God to lead your steps? I struggle with this when I want to make a quick trip to the store and am not willing to take time to notice someone God may want me to reach out to. What good am I then? That makes me just as useless as the person we came across last week at the mall who said, “I believe in God and Christ, but I don’t believe we are supposed to go and share with others.” I should give my every moment outside of my house to God as an opportunity to share Christ with someone.

Take some time with God and listen. What does He want for you? What is the next step He wants for you to become more Christlike?

06 May 2010 Some of my raw thoughts after returning from Haiti
 |  Category: ministry, missions  |  Tags:  | 5 Comments

Tim wrote a great blog last night about the 200 year pact that Haiti made with the devil if he would free them from the French. Instead of restating what he has already clearly written, I’ll let you go over and read it.

Also, a little disclaimer before you read my words… I’m still struggling with what God is teaching me through Haiti. And I started studying the book of Matthew since coming back from Haiti, which was written to the Jews, the “righteous people” of their day who should know better than those who had not heard the Word of God. These are some of my raw thoughts.

Experiencing Haiti was life changing. We learned a lot from our translators about the history of Haiti and what God is doing since the earthquake. One of our translators even told us his personal testimony and how his own family paid a Voodoo priest to cast an evil spirit on him to stop him from preaching the gospel. Fortunately, if the Holy Spirit is living in you, then an evil spirit cannot live in you.

It is so clear to see how God has taken Haiti into his own hands now that the 200 year pact with the devil is broken. People are turning to Christ, even lots of the Voodoo priests. During our last day of ministry our translator asked me to pray with a lady who was holding her 7 month old daughter in the main tent city we visited. Before praying with her I asked if she knew who Christ is and she said no. I asked her if she would like to learn about him and she said yes. And after I shared with her about who Christ is she wanted to accept Him as her personal Savior. I couldn’t believe how open she was to accepting Christ. That night back at the compound I was thinking about how many people back home need to be convinced that they need Christ. I have come across so many people that want a reason why they should believe and want to know what they can get out of it before committing their life to Christ. But those that we came across in Haiti hear the name of Jesus and know that they need Him as their personal Savior.

This past Sunday night at youth group most of our team shared our God stories with the Sr. High students. Afterwards me and two of our youth girls that went to Haiti decided to get together Monday afternoon and go talk to people in our town about Christ and pray for people like we did in Haiti. We met at the church on Monday and prayed about where to go. We ended up walking around the mall and pretty much got shot down. The biggest disappointment was talking to someone who said they believe in Christ but believe that people should not go around talking to others about Him. Are you kidding me? Yes we live in a small “Christian” community, but what Christ follower ignores Christ’s words, “Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) That isn’t a suggestion that Christ gives us, that’s a command for Christ followers. One of the girls asked this lady how people are supposed to know God if no one tells them, and her response was, “If God wants them to know, He will let them know.” What good are we if we don’t live out our faith in Christ and just sit around not living a life reflecting the ministry that Christ modeled for us? Thank God that Christ didn’t sit around saying, “Well, if God wants to save people from hell, he can do it without me.”

After this disappointing encounter we met a sweet elderly man and lady to talk to. The conversations didn’t go too deep, but it was nice to converse with someone who didn’t shoot us down for wanting to talk to people, and they were open to talk a little about faith, even if their short term memory was short. We found out that the man we talked to goes to a local ELCA church and he brought up the struggles the church is going through since approving homosexuality, saying that he just kind of looks the other way and ignores whats going on, saying that whether it’s right or wrong, homosexuals shouldn’t be teaching in the church. I went a little deeper saying, it is a sin, but we all sin, but what makes the situation really sad is that a church is willing to say that a certain sin is okay.

The people of Haiti know what is of the devil and what is of Christ. I think part of the reason I really want to go back to Haiti is because the people know this. Coming back home I am brought to tears seeing how blinded people are by Satan. Just looking at public television and how movie ratings allow more and more garbage in saying things are okay, people start to assume that is normal, and we should accept it. “People just struggle with sin, it’s okay, we need to accept it.” But who are these ideas coming from? Coarse language, sexual immorality, idolatry, loving money, and so many more things to add to that list do not glorify Christ. If it does not glorify Christ who do you think is cheering when we fall into those traps? It’s not Christ, it breaks Christ’s heart. People, Satan is real. And if we can’t stand up for Christ and preach the truth, Satan will continue to rule and trick people. No, we don’t see people practicing Voodooism regularly like some are still doing in Haiti, but if you’re not worshiping Christ with every part of your life, then Satan has still accomplished in you what he desires.

13 Apr 2010 What do you long for?
 |  Category: ministry  | Comments off

Tim and I are wanting to go on a date this week before going to Haiti because we have been very busy and will still be busy after Haiti. As much as I was looking forward to getting to do things out of the ordinary after a spell of weeks in the winter where we had nothing going on, I’m ready for this busy time to be over. I wish our winter and spring/summer schedules were balanced where we had something once a month to do, instead of months with nothing and months with every weekend taken.

I looked back over the calendar and realized it’s almost been 2 months since we have been on a date just the two of us, no one else, no Hannah. We had a date the first week of March, then the next weekend was spent with us and Hannah, and then our busy schedule began. Our church had a day conference that Tim attended, we had our Jr/Sr retreat up north, Easter weekend, M.O.V.E., and now we have a free weekend minus needing to go to the cities to get stuff for Haiti next weekend and the week after, then the weekend following Tim is going to Kansas to help consult a ministry with stuff they need help on.

Looking at our busy schedule really makes me long for some special time with Tim. Just the two of us. I’ve enjoyed these busy weekends and time with other people. I need that time too, but I need my husband. To my self. Yes we have our evening at the end of the day when we’re both tired and wanting to go to bed, but then we stay up late just so we can be together. This week before Haiti has been crazy, and is still going non-stop. Earlier this week Tim realized that he has 7 nights in a row out. Starting this past weekend on Friday & Saturday night we had MOVE, then Sunday night Impact, Monday night Haiti meeting at our house, Tuesday LT meeting, Wednesday Journey, Thursday YFC banquet. And Friday we have a break!

Friday!

Hopefully we can have a date on Friday.  We’re bad at budgeting for a baby sitter, so hopefully we can fudge a little or get money somewhere for someone to watch Hannah.

While longing for this time with Tim I felt God tug at my heart and say, “You know, I long for time with you too.” Ouch. I have way more time in my day that I should give to God. I spend time with Hannah, clean stuff up, spend time online researching things, checking up on people on facebook, then with my free time I just want to relax. But God can help me relax more than anything. God is the one who can truly give me rest. I bet God longs for time with me even more than I long for time with Tim.

07 Apr 2010 We are going to Haiti
 |  Category: ministry  | One Comment

April 23 Tim and I leave for Haiti with 16 other people from Minnesota. 14 from our church and my brother-in-law. And my sister Katelin is going too!

The day I needed to decide if I was in or out we had a doctors appointment for Baby Schmoyer and part of that visit was discussing if it was okay for me to go to Haiti in April and Mexico in July. I got the okay for both trips.

We discussed Haiti for a little bit. Last year I had read somewhere online that pregnant women are not supposed to use DEET. My doctor had not heard that before and did some research. She said I’m okay, and I can take the malaria pills they recommend. She gave me 100% support to go saying there is no reason at all that I shouldn’t. But I do need to take every precaution possible to not get malaria, and I’m assuming anything else I could catch.

So with getting the doctor’s permission to go, there is nothing holding me back. I committed. The week after I was pretty stressed about the decision. I’ve been on many missions trips. Most of them to Mexico, one to Venezuela and one to Belize, and a lot in the USA. As I think back to those trips I was never really out of my comfort zone. I was in highschool for most of them and loved the adventure and opportunity to serve. And then when we went to Belize with the youth a couple summers ago it didn’t really feel like a missions trip. It was the most plush trip I had been on.

So now I am transitioning from the nicest missions trip I have ever been on to going to Haiti where we will be camping in tents on a concrete slab most likely, during the rainy season. That is out of my comfort zone. No hard roof over my head. Last time I went camping was in 2000 when I was way younger and sleeping on the floor didn’t make my body sore.

I’m not too nervous about my health with being pregnant and going. I know the precautions to take, but I do want to be covered in prayer anyways because I do not need to chance the health of the precious baby God is developing inside of me. I am more nervous about what I will see. Seeing the children in Haiti will break my heart. I’m not sure if I’d be able to hold it together if I see a pregnant woman or baby around Hannah’s age or younger. I want to see how little I can take for myself so I can pack formula and prenatal vitamins. I know it wont be much. Checking a bag to take the Haiti is going to be ridiculously expensive. So if anyone wants to donate money to pay for a bag, or help pay for it that would be a huge blessing, and I can leave all the contents and the bag in Haiti so I don’t have to pay the fees on the way back home.

I’m sure I’ll have another blog or two before we leave for Haiti. And I’m sure I’ll have a lot to blog about when we get back. God is going to do huge things in me through this trip. I pray that he will do huge things through me for the people of Haiti.

02 Apr 2010 When did the Cross become real to you?
 |  Category: ministry  | 2 Comments

This morning as I’ve been getting our house ready for company to come for Easter I’ve been thinking about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. Every Easter season since high school I always replay the days when our church put on a huge production of Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber. We used the city theatre and packed out the place each night we performed. Our choir director changed some of the lyrics to make them more accurate and we had a huge cast involved, including every member of my family.

Getting to be in the musical is one of my favorite memories. Not just because of the great people I got to work with, but the lesson I learned through it all. I remember so clearly the night we were practicing in our church gymnasium and it came time to rehearse the scene of Christ’s crucifixion.  All the little kids (including my sister) were taken out of the room because the scene would be too hard for them to be around for, and we got our instructions. With angry faces and fists in the air we were to yell, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” I couldn’t do it. I think I uttered, “cru” and that was it. My eyes swelled up with tears and my mouth closed tightly. I went home that night and cried myself to sleep. I can’t even begin to fathom what it must have been like to be there in person when Christ was going through so much agony for me. For me! I still cry thinking through this. The next couple of rehearsals went the same for me, it was so hard to act out the scene because the cross became real to me in that moment. I finally was able to perform through that scene, and realize how much Christ really does love me, and everyone here on earth.

Something about going through the motions really brought Christ on the Cross into reality for me. I know a lot of people who said they felt that way after watching The Passion when it came out in theaters. That movie almost brought me back to where I was that first night in the gym, but actually acting it out was harder for me than watching it. I talked to my Dad about it after the movie, and how much more real the musical felt being in it. He seemed to agree with me.

I don’t know if you’ve sat down and tried to put yourself in the situation of any of the people involved with the crucifixion. After having Hannah I have tried to put myself in Mary’s shoes. Being Jesus’ Mom and going through this whole situation. I couldn’t do it.

But I am so glad that God used Christ to die on the cross so that we can all live in eternity in Heaven with God. What a wonderful maker. And to know that Christ loves us so much, that He was willing to go through all of that agony for us. He wrestled with the decision, but knew what was best because He loves us. We don’t deserve that. He didn’t deserve to die for our sins. But that’s love. And to think of the all the times I fail daily. That has got to be frustrating for God to watch. He showed us the ultimate love, and I am still selfish.

Take time to read through the Easter story this week. Personally read it. Don’t wait for someone else to read it to you during a church service this weekend. And when you go to church don’t let it be a ritual that you always do. Let God touch your heart and really dig in to what Christ did for us.

08 Mar 2010 Bringing Hannah to SYMC didn’t work for us
 |  Category: family, Hannah, ministry, youth  | 3 Comments

In previous years Tim and I always saw couples bringing their babies to conferences and we kind of day dreamed about getting to do that one day and how fun it would be. However, it didn’t end up being as ideal as we thought it would be. Hannah is a great baby and we had lots of help from our team of youth workers that came to the conference with us, but I still got stressed.

Before we had Hannah I would go to everything. With Hannah at the conference I took my time in the mornings, missing the general sessions so I wouldn’t have added stress of trying to hurry around in the morning. Of the 6 general sessions I made it to 3. Of the 5 seminar slots I had 2 by myself, which was my favorite part of the weekend. I met 2 wonderful yp wives in the girl’s ministry seminar and had a great time visiting with them. I made the mistake of not getting their contact info to keep in touch with though. Oops! Luckily Alisha found me on facebook, and Jackie, if you read this, please get in touch with me!

Getting around the conference with the stroller wasn’t a problem. The first day we stumbled across an elevator that went all the way to the international level, which I think was mainly a service/handicap elevator, but it was great, and we didn’t get in the big lines for the main elevator!  We also saved money on never taking a taxi anywhere around town because we didn’t bring Hannah’s carseat. Instead we got our exercise and walked to a couple different restaurants. The furthest one was a hair over a mile, which wasn’t bad coming from Minnesota, it was nice to get outside for a walk and enjoy the warmer weather. I didn’t enjoy having to sit in the back of seminars though, in case Hannah started really fussing and I needed to take her out. It was also harder for me to hear the speaker from the back, and Hannah loves to talk so it was hard to keep her quiet, especially since I don’t want to have to contain her all day long, she needs time to talk. I couldn’t explain to her that, yes there is someone else talking, so it would seem like it’s okay for you to talk, but you can’t.

I would love to hear how other people have handled bringing kids to youth conferences. Did it work for you? Did it not work for you? How did it go, and why? Next year we’ve already decided we’re going to try to find a baby sitter for our 2 babies. Anyone want to volunteer to baby sit an 18 month and a 5 month old on March 4-7 2011?

24 Feb 2010 Leaving Tomorrow for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference
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We’re heading to Chicago in the morning! All 3 (4) of us Schmoyers are taking 6 amazing youth workers with us for a fun filled deep learning, re-energizing weekend with hundreds of other youth workers from around the states. The conference doesn’t officially start until Friday night, but we’re getting there tomorrow so we can join in on the pre-conference seminars all day Friday. I’m glad we’re heading down early too with Hannah coming along. That way we can get into our hotel room and settle down and get all of her stuff organized for taking care of her throughout the weekend. I love going to youth ministry conferences and bringing leaders who haven’t been to one before and see how excited and pumped up they get with everything they learn and head back to our local ministry to implement new ideas.

Pray for us. Pray that our hearts will be open to what God wants to teach us. Pray that God will use this time to draw us and the leaders closer to each other. Pray that we will bring back what we learn and not leave it in Chicago. Pray for Tim and I as we figure out how to juggle Hannah between each other for the weekend. Tim will be leading a few seminars, so I assume I will have Hannah for the most part, and I think Tim has volunteered to skip out on the general sessions to stay with Hannah since she doesn’t handle loud noises very well. Pray for Tim and I to have open communication with what we each need with Hannah. And pray for Hannah to do well traveling and in a hotel for a weekend.

22 Feb 2010 Why am I timid to express myself in worship?
 |  Category: ministry  | 2 Comments

Yesterday I struggled when I got in to our worship service at church. We just came up stairs form Sunday School where Tim told the junior highers about his trip to Haiti, and we watched a video and saw how sincerely the Haitians worship God. They dance in the streets and are so passionate.

When we walked in to the service the praise band was full of energy singing and the congregation was sitting. I turned to Tim and asked why everyone would be sitting. Why wouldn’t anyone stand and worship God? I didn’t want to sit. I really wanted to stand, but for fear of looking weird I sat. I’m not sure if the congregation was told to sit back and enjoy the music, ’cause to my knowledge it was a new song, or what the reason was for everyone sitting. We’ve come so accustomed to sitting and standing when we’re told. Thankfully one of the singers told everyone to stand and join in, I just wish I did from the beginning. Why was I timid of worshipping how I felt I needed to? Would it have been a hindrance to people if I stood?

This bothered me like crazy and I felt like I let God down for not following my heart and worshipping God like I needed to. Instead of focusing on God I focused on what others would think of me. We’re not a conservative church as far as worship style goes. People clap, people raise hands. After all the singing was over I continued to think of what I didn’t do. No one tells us when to raise our hands or not. Why is standing any different? Because I haven’t seen anyone in our congregation stand to praise God in song when no one else does. I’ve gone to churches like that, and I enjoyed them. I like feeling like I have the freedom to sit or stand when I want. Is this just a personal struggle, or does it have to be accepted by a church before it’s okay? Do churches become okay with that when people just start worshipping how they want? Or does someone have to announce “You are welcome to worship how you want.”?