Thursday, June 10, 2010

Walking on Water

So, last night we had our first mid high summer youth group gathering. We met at the house of two of our mid high youth and they have a pool! We swam, ate dinner (in the pouring rain), had a devotion, and shared in fellowship. It was fun.

I tried to get the group to play "Pool Bowling" but they looked at me like I was crazy ... which I probably am! :) If you've played before you know that in pool bowling you have volunteers to be a "bowler" and a "bowling ball" and then you have the "pins." It's a little tricky! Basically, the bowling ball person gets on a raft and sits. The pins do a handstand and hold it and the bowler "pushes" the ball into the pins. If you've never played, it's acutally hilarious and worth a shot! Mostly, everyone just wants to be the bowling ball. Seriously, you need to try this game ...

After dinner, I started off our devotion time by asking the youth if they could think of a time that involved Jesus and water. They named several but their first guess was Peter and Jesus walking on water. So, I felt convicted and pushed them on this. I read the account to them from Scripture.

They decided that Peter began to sink because of fear. So, we discussed what things we fear. They all agreed that they get afraid from time to time and one person even shared about being afraid of death. We also talked about how our hearts shouldn’t be “hard” or “closed” like the disciples were that day (as it says in Scripture).

And here is where I am stuck (which is a good thing because I'm really praying for my youth about this right now). Here's the thing about opening our hearts - it forces a change in our lives. Jesus calls us to a higher standard, afterall.

(Sadly) Often times, that change, the committment required to open our hearts, is not something we are willing to do. For example, not having closed hearts might mean we are called to hang out with different people or limit the time we spend with those whom we do not want to be like. For we know from 1 Corinthians that bad company corrupts good character. How many students do you know that might be willing to change their friends or limit their time with people they've been hanging with, especially in the summer?

Okay, so where am I stuck? How can I as a youth minister share this message in practical ways? I truly beleive that we, too, can walk on water (or at the least help rescue someone else who is sinking or afraid) if we do live our lives differently/with open hearts where Christ is central. What I feel convicted to do is find the best way(s) to take Martin Luther's thought and have the youth in my church live it! Luther said something like: "It is more about knowing Jesus, it is about possessing Jesus." That's where I am stuck ... making that practical for today's youth, so that they might set that example for others (1 Tim 4:12).

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sweet Summertime

I’ll admit it! I am a beach bum! If I could live at the beach, I would! I LOVE summertime.; I always have! It is a magical time of year when (as a student) you don’t have so much responsibility and can do awesome things like stay up late, sleep in, hang with friends, wear flip-flops to church, take a family vacation, and relax!
Loving the summer comes naturally to me. The beach was also my dad’s favorite place in the world. And, I probably love it so much because it is a tradition for my family! When I was growing up, my grandparents had a beach house at Hilton Head and each summer our family and friends would go for multiple weeks. I was very lucky (and spoiled).

Some of my favorite memories of that summer tradition include:
*Apple fritters! My grandfather would always go and get from the local grocery store early in the morning and bring to us for breakfast. I’ve never tasted any as good as those!

*The coffee tree! Our family named it that, but it was really a palm tree that leaned to the side (so you could sit on it) and was located across the street from our house. My dad would have his coffee there most mornings by himself and have his time with God. My sister and I LOVED to climb on that tree.

*The Earle of Sandwhich Pub at Coligny Plaza! This is the best restaurant ever, and it was a part of our tradition to eat there at least once a trip.

*4th of July Fireworks! Our family went to the beach EVERY 4th of July. Our house was very close to Shelter Cove! So close, in fact, that we could lay out back in the grass and the fireworks were just over our heads!

Because of all of this, I have come to realize how meaningful tradition is for people! But God has also taught me the importance of creating new traditions! Sadly, my grandparents sold their beach house when I was in college. I really miss that dedicated family time in OUR beach house (which I will always remem-ber as sweet summertime)! But our family has found new ways to be together, and we’re beginning to make new traditions (we LOVE renting at Edisto now)! It’s not the same—there’s no family beach house any more and my grandparents have both passed away now. But, there is still time together and many memories to share in and live through together!

These memories are so important as are new ones! Blaine and I are so excited to be a part of Zion’s family now. In the past 9 months we’ve had some great times! We look forward to being able to continue making memories and experiencing traditions (old and new) at Zion!

Links to Mission Trip Information

In case you can't see the info on mission trips in the previous posts ... here are the links. Copy and paste them into your browser!

Mid High

Senior High

Mid High Mission Trip July 2010

See below for info about our mid high mission trip, July 23-25! Check it out! Deposits due to Jillianne by Sunday, June 13th! (If you have trouble viewing, click on the small box on the top right below and open the document in a new page.)

Senior High Summer Beach Mission Trip

See below to get the information and sign up form for the Augsut 2010 trip!