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Another Drop In The Bucket… January 25, 2007

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So, have I told you I love youth ministry??

This weekend’s retreat was definitely great times.  I really enjoy getting away with the kids in situations where we really have time to talk.  The trip up started out a bit stinkie… note to self: do all you can not to have all the junior high boys in your car at the same time…  but after much heartaching, since it was tough to breathe, I realized that these were the boys from my small group and what an opportunity it was to hang out with them.  FYI: threatening them by spraying them with cucumber melon spray is not a great deterrent… they just continue to emit horrible ordors as a counter attack… but all in all it was fun and I had a few opportunities to speak into their lives in regards to school and people they hang out with.

The majority of my weekend was spent with my girls… we had some interesting long conversations, which always starts out with boys and the distraction that they can cause.  The thing that really makes me smile is that they brought it up and realize that it’s a distraction and they are not quite sure how to change their focus… and admittedly sometimes they know that they do not want to change focus. 

My biggest prayer was for one girl that I do not know very well… I wanted to learn more about her background and discover where she is really at.  God did bless me with that opportunity… and I was able to explain more about true relationship with God and what that means. I explained eternal life and also why we make choices that we shouldn’t as well as how God’s grace plays the greatest roll.  Of course… some times I felt like I was talking too much and giving her too much information, but I knew God was in it and I explained to her that I was probably giving her too much and we can talk more about it all another time.  We ended the conversation in prayer and she prayed out loud for the first time.  Her prayer included that she really wanted Jesus in her life and it was so special that God blessed me with that opportunity.

There’s another girl that I continue to pray for… she is always on my heart… my prayer for her is that God really shows her Who He is.  That she can feel Him and truly desire relationship with Him.  She mentioned to me that she was in the same place as she was last year, but I assured her that she was further down that road.  And I explained to her what she said last year compared to what she was saying this year and I think that she was encouraged by that.  She is still not ready to make a move on her part… but I pray that God speaks clearly to her.

So, those are a couple of highlights… there are many more… too many to write here…  one thing I will share is this video of one of my boy’s first “public appearance”… we’ve got ourselves a song writer in the mix… 🙂

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Everywhere I’ve been, He’s been there! January 19, 2007

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I am off to the youth retreat this weekend… and this is my anthem… Thanks David Crowder… and if you call me and my phone has service and is not on silent… I just may dance!!  🙂

Praise Him under open skies everything breathing praising God
In the company of all who love the King. I will dance, I will sing
It could be heavenly, turn the music loud, lift my voice and shout
From where I am, from where I’ve been, He’s been there with me
He’s built a monument, His very people, so let his people sing, sing, sing!

And it’s so wonderful just to be here now!

Praise Him under open skies everything breathing praising God
In the company of all who love the King.  Praise Him under open skies
Everything breathing praising God in the company of all who love the King

Let us dance, let us sing.  It could be heavenly turn the music loud and sing

And it’s so wonderful just to be here now

Lift your voice to heaven, lift up your head and sing 
To the One who gave his love this is our offering!
Lift your voice to heaven, lift up your head and sing
To the One who gave His son here our lives we bring!

From wherever you are, wherever you’ve been He’s been there! 
So let his people sing!

And it’s so wonderful to be here now!
Wherever you are wherever you’ve been He’s been there!

My Prayer… January 18, 2007

Posted by G in mindless ramblings, random stuff.
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So… I am doing this one for Jackie…  🙂

Years ago, before I really “figured out” what true relationship with God is all about, my constant prayer was that God would reveal to me “the man of my journey”… I prayed this constantly… and it was soon after I started attending Christ’s Church that I realized that He faithfully answered that prayer.  Although not as I expected… that man is of course Jesus.  Soon after I had that realization I made another list and entitled it “My Prayer”.  This list consists of qualities that I would love a future husband to possess…. or as Derek Webb would put it “my non-negotiables”.  As you can see… they may be held to interpretation… but God knows what I mean… after all He put the desires in my heart anyway.  I think I will go into that in another post… I’ve actually been thinking about writing about will vs. desire…  we’ll see…  🙂  So… anyway… here is my prayer to God.   

Is a Christian
Heart of Gold… Which in my opinion is a heart for God and seeks only God’s approval.
Strong Family Values.
Expresses His Love Freely.
Lets others express themselves freely.
Sense of Humor.
Creative
Hard Working, Responsible.
Strong Opinions… and is open to hear others.
Open and Honest.
Starts conversation & keeps it going, yet doesn’t mind the silent times… since I am not the best conversationalist.
Likes my rose-colored glasses, and puts them back on my face when I take them off.
Has Vision…
Likes to Travel.
Has Respect.
Loves Children.
Loves my Friends and Family (even if they drive me crazy…)
Will argue if they are wronged.
Will help me to see when I am wrong.
Will realize and apologize when he is wrong.

After The Rain… January 10, 2007

Posted by G in mindless ramblings, random stuff.
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Namibian Rain

Monday night started a new phase of student ministry… we finished up our last small groups before Christmas and began our new groups at the start of the new year.  My last group was pretty much amazing.  We did a book study on CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.  This particular group was just opened up to the Senior High students and it was always full of awesome converstion with some random rabbit trails on different biblical topics and day to day life.  

This time around I decided that I wanted to do a group that watched and discussed Nooma videos.  Another couple is heading a group on “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller… (as a side note… I would’ve LOVED to lead this discussion also… by the end of the book you feel like Donald Miller is your friend and it is one of my all time favorite reads)  and Mike has the final group, a “Theological Bible Study” that kids prefer not to attend…  We decided this time around not to specify one group is only for older kids and then see how that all pans out.  The time comes to choose groups… most people have heard of “Blue Like Jazz” and they decide that they want to check out that group, my group consisted of 4 Junior High boys, a Freshman girl… and 2 leaders.  Most definitely not how I would’ve “wanted it”.  Mike… well he joined in on the other group because no one chose his group. 

We watch the first of the series “Rain” (fyi… in case you care… my plan is to pick my favorites and most relevant to kid’s lives… I will not be going numerically.)  In this video Rob Bell  discusses how there is rain in our lives and God is always there to bring us through it, Bell compares it to a time in his life with his son… so, he relates this to our relationship with God as our Father.

Of course I prepared my questions and was ready to go… full well knowing that it’s not going to be as easy as I had “hoped” since it was now more focused on a Junior High level.  I began asking questions and relating things to my life, another leader shared in relation to his life.  The kids kind of had a “deer caught in the headlights” stare… but would answer… with random thoughts of what they considered rain in their lives, how they have cried out to God and what brought them to that point.  Through all the random rabbit trails and “Oh! I had this time once when I…” not at all relating to the topic…. the kids really were sharing what their idea of the topic was all about.  After a couple leaders got together to discuss how the evening went I said that “it’s not what I would’ve wanted for a Nooma group, but it was good…  the topics are more for older students and adults, but all in all it went well.”

Last night I saw the mother of one of the boys and she told me that he just kept talking and talking about the rain in his life and how he didn’t really have much rain, but lots of people have really bad rain and that he is blessed.  She said that he just wanted to keep telling her all about youth group on Monday night and did not want to go to sleep.

See… that’s what student ministry is all about…  it’s not about what you think you can do or how you think it should be done, but it’s what He does and how He uses me when I am not there!!

In the beginning… January 3, 2007

Posted by G in random stuff, truth.
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A new year is upon us and I am going back to basics.  I started reading Genesis from my cool handy-dandy Devotional Bible (I like having a variety of versions… this bible just so happens to be the NKJV-all the biblical references below are from the NIV).  I love the beauty in creation and how He brought it all together.  A few things stand out to me more and more each time I read it… here are a few that I observe…

“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in Our image, in Our likeness…'” ~Genesis 1:26  Jesus was with God from the beginning… He alway was… “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” ~Genesis 1:27

“the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed Adam was brought into the garden.” ~Genesis 2:7-8   Adam knew what life was like outside the garden since he was created outside the garden.  

 “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” ~Genesis 3:6   Adam was right there… he didn’t try to stop her…

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” ~Genesis 3:8  So, God was walking in the garden… He had already taken on “human form” (quotes because we are created in the image of God… so is it really human form??)  Was it Jesus walking around in the garden??  and they were trying to hide… ummm… yea… 

“…Your desire will be for your husband…”  ~Genesis 3:16  Tell me about it… thanks Eve…

“So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.  After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” ~Genesis 3:23-24  He’s going to make sure that doesn’t happen again… was there more that could be learned by doing it again??

“…Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.  So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  Then the LORD said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted?  But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.'”  ~Genesis 4:2-7  Was God still in human form??  He tried to warn Cain… but Cain did not listen.  I think 7 is great for all of us to pay attention to… great advice straight from God.

“Cain said to the LORD, ‘My punishment is more than I can bear.  Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth…'” ~Genesis 4:13-14  Even though Cain did not listen to God and he was angry that God did not find favor with his offering, he did not want to lose the relationship with God.  He also didn’t realize that just because God was not in front of him, He was still with him.  That makes me think that God was still walking the earth… 

I love how Genesis paints a picture of how God wants a relationship with us… that we are created for that purpose.  The aspect that God had it all planned from the beginning of time.