Archives For July 2010

Coldwater Apps

Mike —  July 20, 2010 — Leave a comment

Last summer, our youth ministry did a mission trip called coldwater. Basically, we packed up a van, truck, and camper and headed to an unknown destination to do whatever work we could find – small acts of relief for people who matter to God. We won’t be making that trip quite the same way this summer, but we will be incorporating the concept this year through ‘coldwaters apps’.

We’re applying the same attitude of service, and showing people they matter.

Tomorrow will be our first official coldwater app. We’ll be fixing up a yard that needs mowed and weeded at 9:30. If you want to help, meet me at the church building a little before 9:30. Bring some work gloves or rakes or just yourself! Don’t get bent out of shape if you can’t make it this time; there will be more. Call me if you need some details. (But remember, this is still coldwater, so there aren’t many details to go around!)

Kingdom Work Cards

Mike —  July 19, 2010 — 2 Comments

One of the more meaningful moments at CIY Move this year was the last group time together. I appreciate how CIY doesn’t just want to cram a bunch of content into students’ lives, but they want to spur students to action. We each were given an envelope with an ‘assignment’ that would could either take or leave. Everyone in our group was asked to commit to doing whatever was on the card before they opened it.

“How do I know I’ll want to do what it says?” You don’t. You have to trust that CIY didn’t just put a bunch of dumb ideas on the cards. You have to trust that whatever it is, God can use your efforts. Will you serve, ‘no matter what’?

“What if it’s hard?” It probably will be. When did anyone make a lasting impact by doing something easy?

“What if I can’t possibly do it?” We’ll help. God has pulled the church together, made up of people He’s uniquely crafted to work with each other. Our group will need to support each other and help each other in every possible way to do the work He calls us to do. This stuff will not be easy but it is all possible:
     -Start or join a book reading program for other kids
     -Take a foreign language class and go on a mission trip to a country that speaks that language
     -Put together a 5K run to benefit ActiveWater
     -Visit a nursing home for an hour each week for the upcoming year
     -Adopt a single mom and include her family in your family’s special events/holidays
     -Send an encouraging message to a different person each day for a year
     -Build new relationships by joining a new club at school
     -Find someone to mentor and find someone to be your mentor
     -Read through the Bible in a year

I’m excited to see my students doing the Kingdom work these cards have brought to mind, and to see what else their actions will spark. Already, some of them have been laying the groundwork for what is to be done. The students are excitedly sharing what they’re up to and drawing other people into Kingdom work with them.
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If you know the students who went, check in with them on how they’re doing. Ask them how you can help. Also check out WeAmplify to read more stories of students all over the country and how they’re being Kingdom workers no matter what.

Get Moving

Mike —  July 16, 2010 — Leave a comment

Egypt had chased down the Hebrews. Trapped between an insurmountable sea and the army to which they’d been subjected all their lives, it seemed that this slave uprising had nowhere left to go. So they did what many of us would do:
    -they panicked,
    -they begged God for help,
    -they turned on the leader who had brought them this far.

Moses defended himself by telling the people to take a good look at the army bearing down on them because this was the last they’d see of them. He invoked God into the whole thing, telling the people to “Just stand where you are and watch the Lord rescue you.” At this point, I’m wondering if Moses wasn’t right about the whole ‘not a good public speaker’ thing! I mean, there’s faith and then there’s blatant idiocy. You can’t just stand still when the most powerful display of military might you’ve ever seen is about to unleash its fury on you and your children.

But God turned the tables on Moses, and on Egypt. “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” It wasn’t enough for Moses to just say, “Trust God and everything will be ok.” They needed to ‘get moving.’ God did indeed pull through for the Israelites, and ushered them through the Red Sea that was about to crush their pursuers. But His rescue was brought about only when the people moved. The route to their rescue wasn’t just to stand around and ask God for another miracle.

Neither is ours. There are some things that we don’t need to keep praying about, we just need to move. What move is God waiting for you to make? Why are you waiting?

– It was awesome. Seriously, CIY is a great organization, the conference was great, and if you’re involved in youth ministry, you should look into what they do.

– We were fortunate. Mark Moore spoke for each of the morning sessions, setting the tone for the day and setting the bar high for the students. I love speakers who unapologetically challenge students instead of talking at them like they’re six and completely incapable of anything that really matters. These morning sessions led us to some great discussions during our morning group time.
– Speaking of those discussions: our students have some great ideas! They want to be the church, not just attend a cool youth group – that really excites me. I love seeing young people become more passionate about working to bring God’s Kingdom into people’s lives – and actually taking steps to do it. After one particularly good discussion, one of my students asked “These are all good ideas and stuff, but what are we actually going to DO?” I LOVE THAT QUESTION! That moment was a hinge point for the week. No longer were we discussing the theoretical – they wanted assignments.
– During the very last night, students received cards in an envelope that they were instructed not to open until our group time later that night. Each card contained a different challenge. No one was allowed to open the envelope unless they first committed to do what the card said, “no matter what” that may be. Every one of our students made that commitment, and as we opened each card and shared with the group what it said, the sense that this was anything but random grew. Almost every single one of us had on our cards a challenge that directly (and I mean explicitly direct) challenged us in an area that we’d personally talked about that week. It will be awesome to see how our students come together to help each other fulfill their challenges over the next year.
– Here’s an example of what I mean by explicitly direct. During our D-group time one day I was talking about the need for mentors… encouraging students to be mentors for younger students as well as to find a mentor to help them navigate. I shared with my students some of my experiences mentoring a group of guys. Most of my most rewarding experiences in youth ministry came directly out of that purposeful mentoring relationship. I shared with them how I’ve been frustrated lately because I haven’t been very diligent in mentoring others (and how I intended to do better for/with them). I also shared that one of my greatest disappointments in my adult life has been the lack of a long-term, personal mentor. Now, I’ve been mentored from a distance by watching others in ministry and through the books and online teachings of several pastor/authors… I’ve been sharpened by peers in ministry… Several of my college professors and staff stand out as momentary mentors… and I am immensely grateful to those that I’ve gleaned from, but (outside of my very beneficial and appreciated relationship with my own dad) I’ve never had an ongoing personal mentor/mentee relationship. I’ve always regretted that, and been a little saddened by that – I’ve even tried to do something about it a few times, but I’ve missed out on having a “Paul” to my “Timothy”. I shared this with my students to encourage them to seek a mentor and learn everything they can from them. Fast Forward a couple days to the cards. Mine says, “Find someone to mentor you and find someone to mentor.” What else would it say?
– We all had a great week. God moved in our group, drawing us together to serve Him and reveal Him to the people around us. My kids are excited to be the church! But I have a problem. I’m finding something within me wanting to temper their excitement and quell expectations. That faithless part of me that says, “The leaders aren’t going to like that idea…let’s slow down a bit…” needs to be taken to the woodshed. Timothy had that part, too, so Paul offered him this: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love, and of self discipline.” Which reminds me, I need to go check in with some of my fire starters!

Durango Herald News, Church program brings kids to college

CIY posted this link to the Durango paper about Move. Good to see the connection between the conference and the community.

My apologies to those of you who checked in here last week expecting updates from our high school trip to CIY Move. The Ft. Lewis network decided my laptop was unworthy of inclusion, and thus unyieldingly shunned me from access. Beginning with this post, I’ll go through some of the highlights of the week. (I wrote this post Monday night, anticipating a resolution to my network issues that never came.)
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After several hundred miles on the road, we made it to Durango in time to check in, unload, eat supper, and have a great time of worship in the first main session here at CIY Move.  It’s been a pretty entertaining mix of personalities so far in the van… some of these students seem to want to argue with each other NO MATTER WHAT (I’ve heard them completely change their ‘side’ in order to continue an argument!).  The friction can get a little annoying once in a while, but I really think God’s using the sparks to start some pretty exciting fires… can’t wait to see His plans for these guys come to be.
The ride down was fairly uneventful – no lost lunches or cookie tossing in the van, no accidents, & all foul odors were kept to a minimum (usually). After stopping for lunch, however, I returned to the van to find a huge dent in the front fender… some kid in skinny jeans decided to play Chuck Norris. Subsequently, he was induced to purchase a large suction cup to pull out the dent! It’s really not as big a deal as it may seem; it just sounds more dramatic and less like tattling than saying, “Shane kicked a dent in the fender.”
The session tonight dealt with the concept of grace. It changes our story. Grace changes everything. I couldn’t help but think of a particular student I’ve been praying for who needs so desperately to understand that. She’s had some pretty crappy circumstances over the last couple years, and has made some decisions that have compounded her difficulty. I wish she could have been here with us to hear the message, but more than that, I pray she’ll see Jesus revealed to her where she is.
Excited to see God continue to move this week…

Problem? What Problem?

Mike —  July 1, 2010 — 4 Comments

I have a problem.

Over my lunch break today, I decided to change the blade on my lawnmower.  I’m not one of those over-maintenancey guys who practically vacuums the lawn before I mow, so I routinely mow right over sticks, rocks, hidden toys… The blade was badly in need of being replace by something with much less chunks bitten out of it and much more actual blade. I haven’t been cutting my grass lately, so much as I’ve been tearing it out in 20 inch swaths.

So I ignored the safety instructions about unplugging the spark plug, removing all the gas, and putting on a full suit of chain mail – I straddled the mower over two saw horses and did the job. You might be thinking this is where the problem comes in… it’s not. Failure to capitulate to rubber room safety concerns may be a character flaw (or not), but it’s not the problem I’m talking about.  Neither is ignoring rocks and sticks in the grass and putting neighborhood windows in peril. (And I’m really not heartless enough to mow over my kids’ toys… usually.)

When I was finished, in the midst of putting everything away, I gathered up the packaging from the new blade to throw it away.  I threw my socket wrench back in the toolbox, along with the package of extra washers and spacers that I didn’t need, put the mower and saw horses away, threw away the garbage… and this is where the problem is: I had to fight a very strong impulse to set aside the old mower blade.  I could hardly bring myself to throw it out. You never know when you might need an old mower blade, right?

Right?

Ok. Could somebody please tell me what possible use one could have for an old, rock-chinked mower blade?
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Just thought of something. Someday, I could could carve out a handle from those Christmas tree trunks I have laying around (two of them now), and make a sword! Excuse me now, I have to go retrieve something!