Archive for the Category ◊ youth ◊

06 Apr 2011 Keep on Voting!
 |  Category: family, ministry, youth  | 2 Comments

Don’t forget to vote each day through Friday for Tim in the YouTube Next Up contest.

Go here to vote.

If you see this Wednesday night make sure to put a vote in for Wednesday. And then you have 2 more days to vote. Tim needs all the votes he can get in order to make it to the next round, and then it’s out of our hands. And after Friday we’ll stop bugging everyone several times a day, and go back to our normal lives.

09 Mar 2011 Sewing my Heart back Together
 |  Category: health, marriage, ministry, youth  | One Comment

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Lately I have come to realize how important it is for me to do something I enjoy. Since Tim and I set up our weekly family schedule I have felt a lot healthier mentally with getting a break to enjoy something just for myself. Granted what I am sewing right now is Easter baskets for the kids, I enjoy my little project.

This past weekend we were in Chicago for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference and I brought my baskets to the seminars to give me something to fidgit with so I could better listen to the speakers. We had a wonderful time learning and connecting. Tim and I don’t spend a lot of time together througout the weekend with our individual busy schedules, which is okay, I do really look forward to our time afterwards. This year both kids came as well as Tim’s sister Grace to babysit for us. That worked out much better than last year, but I am still looking forward to the time we go alone, leaving the kids with someone at home.

My absolute favorite part of the conference was going to the “Married to Youth Pastor” connect group. I have been longing for some girl time and for some reason I have found that youth worker conferences are the only place other than in my house with my little family that I can totally be myself. I don’t worry about what others think of me because we all have a similar passion and can relate to one another.

Over the last 7 months since things started changing at our last church and 3 months of being out of that church I have been learning a lot about myself and ministry. I think we’re getting closer to me being able to share my struggles and joys that we have had through this process that isn’t over yet.

God showed me his love so much this last weekend with prayers and support coming from places I wouldn’t have expected.

23 Nov 2010 What is consuming your time … and life?
 |  Category: ministry, youth  | One Comment

“Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.” — Acts 14:19-20

Last week at our Monday night Sr. High small group the girls challenged each other to read our Bibles as much as we do whatever takes up our most time in our days. For all but one of us it was Facebook. When we got back from Haiti I started studying scripture in depth, but since Zeke has been born and it’s hard for me to spend some quality time with my study Bible I have neglected to read scripture as much as I would like. I confessed to the girls that I had been spending more time of Facebook than anything else. With having the Facebook app on my iPod touch it is really easy to spend hours a day on it because for hours a day I am sitting and feeding Zeke, and Facebook is right there in my hand.

Then one girl asked, “Don’t you have a Bible app on your iPod?” Ouch! Yes, I do.

So for the last week I have been reading through the book of Acts. And verses 19 and 20 in chapter 14 really stood out to me. I had been reading about all the persecution the disciples were going through for standing up for Christ and not letting anyone hold them back from preaching the Good News. And then these two verses struck me. Paul was stoned to the point of the people thinking that he was dead. I can’t imagine the pain he went through and how much pain he was in after they stopped. How bad did he look for them to quit stoning him and drag him out of town still thinking he was dead. How exhausted did he feel? And I wouldn’t be surprised if the thought of giving up and giving in came across his mind for even a split second. And that didn’t stop him!

“…he got up and went back into the town.” First of all, he got up. Being left so beat up, he got up! He mustered the strength and didn’t give himself a pity party, he got up. And second, he went back into the town! Seriously? These people just stoned you and dragged you out thinking you were dead, and you go back? Who does that? The person who does that is sold out for Christ and follows the Spirit and does not let anything stand in their way of doing God’s will. Not to say we are all to go back into a bad situation, but we go where God is leading us, no matter what.

Paul didn’t do this in his own strength. He had God and other believers to lean on. “But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town.” “But as the believers gathered around him…” It is so important to surround yourself with other believers. People who are sold out for Christ and support you in living a life that does not waiver because of what others say or do.

I made a mistake of this in college, cutting off my ties to my strong Christian friends who were trying to look after me, but I selfishly and ignorantly thought I was strong enough to stand on my own. I have learned from this mistake and know how important it is to keep a crowd of believers around me. Not only for support, but for accountability. It is so easy to let things of this world come in the way of our faith…even small things like Facebook that don’t seem evil, but can be if that is what we are giving all of our time to.

*The picture used today is of the ground in the compound where we stayed in Haiti. While praying in Haiti I kept my eyes open, wanting to take in as much as I could while God was moving in incredible ways. I spent a lot of time looking at these rocks, never wanting to forget.

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.

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?

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?

09 Nov 2009 Parents, Get Involved
 |  Category: ministry, youth  | Comments off

Our Senior high students started a new study yesterday that we’re using from Perry Noble’s sermon series Don’t Get Married Until…
I called Tim wondering where he was so long after Impact was supposed to be over, and it turned out that even though the video was finished when they were supposed to end, the students wanted to stay late and discuss what they just watched.
Tim asked some of the students if they would want their parents to see this section of the video, and they said yes.
Parents, get involved in your child’s life, especially dating life. Even if they don’t want you involved right now, they will be thankful for it later.