Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Website Update

It took awhile, but our new website is up and running. There was a lot of content to be moved, and the old blog posts had to be ported over to WordPress, but at long last, it’s finished. Well . . . at least I think it’s finished. You know how it is with any project: you think and plan and organize, but sometimes things slip through the cracks. So . . . if you find any broken links, something that doesn’t look quite right, or something that just doesn’t make sense, let me know, and I’ll try to figure it out.

Using Your Talents

If you attended the youth Christmas program in December, you know that we had some great scenery – seriously, some really great scenery. Pam, Starr, and Gail spent a lot of hours working on it, and their hard work really shows. Several years ago we began using flats made from muslin stretched over wooden frames – a very similar process to that used in community and professional theatres. This year they used a new technique for shaping props they learned from a resource video in the director’s pack.

Those who have been around our church for many years will probably remember that all of our background scenery used to be painted on long sheets of paper. Each year when we wanted to put the scenery up, we spent a couple of hours with a ladder and thumbtacks laboriously aligning, hanging, and adjusting those strips of paper. Then several years ago, Bill Bo and JW were enlisted to come up with a way to hang the new flats we wanted to use.

Several times while we were painting the flats this year, Pam remarked that she thought we really needed all those years of working with the sheets paper to gain the knowledge and experience necessary to do the kind of elaborate city scene that we used this year.

This reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the talents from the book of Matthew. In this story, the men who responsibly used what they were given were blessed. They prospered and increased the talents they had been given.

This story has such a strong parallel in our practical experience with this scenery. For many years, we worked on scenery with the skills and knowledge that we had. We made some improvements along the way, but this year was such a huge increase over what we’ve done in the past. It serves to illustrate that God blesses the work of those who use their abilities in His service.

So . . . what can you do in service to God? In the Bible the word “talent” often refers to a unit of weight measurement, and this weight measurement was specifically used for weighing precious metals such as gold or silver. However, I find it fascinating that in modern English, we use the word “talent” to mean natural abilities or aptitude. How fitting it is that our abilities and aptitudes can be used in so many different ways. Painting? Music? Carpentry? Cooking? Anything you can do, God can use!

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now? This is the theme for MCYC 2009. In the lives of many youth it often seems like no one is listening. Teachers, parents, friends – sometimes it just seems like no one hears what you say. Even though this is a youth weekend, there are times when all of us feel that no one is really listening.

This will be a great time to remind everyone that SOMEONE – the most important SOMEONE – is always listening. He listens, and He cares.

This weekend’s classes will tackle four hard questions that many people ask from time to time:

Why do we fight so much?
Why does God let bad things happen?
Are you really listening, God?
It’s not a problem, really, I’m dealing with it!

These are questions that come up in the lives of many people, and sometimes they come up more than once. We don’t always get the answers that we want, and we don’t always get the answers when we want them. But God does have answers for us, and we have to listen if we want to hear them. Strangely enough, sometimes we get answers but they’re not the ones we want, and that makes it even harder to listen. As we mature though, we usually find that we’re not only more accepting of the answers, the answers also make more sense.

In all things we have assurance that God can hear us, and He is listening.

MCYC 2009

We’re down in Macon for MCYC 2009. This time around we have Chelsey Bratton, Ben Chapman, Abby Cobb, Devin Cobb, Taylor Deal, Michael Schroeder, and Cheryl Hughes. It looks like we’ll have another interesting lineup this year. Our speaker is Shane Wood from Joplin, MO. He is currently serving as the Associate Director of the Institute for Christian Resources. This year’s worship band is Four Days Late from Jacksonville, AL. Keep watching for more updates.

This year’s format is a little different. This number of classes has been reduced to four, and the weekend schedule has been modified to allow everyone to attend each of the classes. I think this will be a good change, and it will allow the students to experience the full range of content without missing out on anything. The Lakewood building is already filling up, and it looks like everyone is ready for a great time.

I loves me some Olympics!

I really enjoy watching the summer Olympics. From the opening ceremony through to the closing ceremony of the games, I will literally watch hours and hours of programming. From the high profile sports to the less popular ones, I’m glued to the television when the Olympics are on.

I enjoy watching most of the events, but I prefer single events. I enjoy the team sports, but the sports featuring individual competitors are my favorites. To me these foster such a pure spirit of competition – the pursuit of individual athletic excellence. In these events there is certainly an element of competing against other athletes, but there is also an aspect of personal excellence and striving to improve one’s personal performance.

I think this has a logical analogy with living a Christian life. Christians constantly try to improve. We constantly try to live more Christ-like lives. Each day we strive to be better than we were the day before. The big difference of course, is that we are not competing against our fellow Christians. We are trying to live better lives for our own spiritual growth and benefit, and we try to do this because it is what our Savior wants us to do.

While we’re all enjoying the spirit of Olympic competition, this is a great time to remember that we can all strive to set a new personal best every day.

Break Down the Doors

In his messages this weekend Robin has emphasized the problems that DOORS cause for Christians. People come to church, they hear the Word, they are inspired, and they’re ready to go out and win the world for God. But then they hit the doors.

Somehow as we pass through the doors of the church, everything changes. Maybe we lose our enthusiasm. Maybe we lose our determination. Maybe we once again fear ridicule or persecution. Whatever the reason, we are not the same people outside the church doors that we were inside when we felt so inspired.

Why are the doors so frighteningly transforming? If the doors are our problem, then lets find a way to break them down. Don’t let “the doors” keep you from accomplishing your Christian mission.

MCYC 2008 – Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts from the speakers . . .

95% of all people who attend church today have never won anyone to Jesus.
(I’m not sure about the source of this data, but it’s a staggering and frightening statistic.) This really blows the 80/20 rule out of the water! Just imagine if that other 95% would get to work!

God is not worried about your ability. He wants your availability.

Worship is not about you; it’s everything about God.

MCYC 2008 – Who’s Who?

We’re down in Macon, MS, for this year’s Mississippi Christian Youth Conference. The Isaac Schade Band is here to provide the music, and Robin Sigars is here as the featured speaker. Robin currently serves as the Senior Minister at the Carterville Christian Church in Carterville, MO. Robin served as Associate Director of Christ in Youth for 17 years, and is uniquely qualified to speak to the hearts of today’s youth.

We have a good crowd from the Valley here this weekend: Chelsey, Zack, Ben, Jennifer, Devin, Abby, BB, and Kevin. We’re looking forward to an exciting weekend here in Macon, and we’re looking forward to growing closer to the One who loves us.

So We Didn’t Quite Make It . . .

It was another slow day of driving. Perhaps we’re all just a little tired. Perhaps we just don’t feel the same motivation we did on the way out to the Grand Canyon. Whatever the cause, we were not making good time. Ronnie and I kept consulting the GPS, and the results were not encouraging. We kept rolling, but it just seemed that we were not getting anywhere.

We finally had some unexpected and unwanted excitement a few miles east of Shawnee, OK, when the tread peeled off one of the back tires on the van. Fortunately it didn’t cause a blowout. We changed the tire at a rest area and drove back to Shawnee. We found a place where we could get the tire changed, and after the late afternoon excitement, we decided to call it a day. We’ll stay the night in Shawnee and finish our drive tomorrow.

Off to a Slow Start

We’re officially off to a slow start on our way home. We decided to take an alternate route in the beginning. We stopped to enjoy one last scenic overlook (Desert View) before leaving the park. There is just so much to see, that one could spend weeks exploring all the various wonderful vistas here. Even though we’ve enjoyed several days here, it seems that we’re leaving before we’ve finished exploring! After enjoying Desert View, we drove and drove and drove for a loooooooooooong time! We finally made it to Four Corners Monument. For those who have never been, this a unique place where visitors can stand in four states at once: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

We were caught in a brief summer thunderstorm here, and we passed the time snacking on frybread. Once the storm was over, we started rolling again. Ironically, we stopped in Tucumcari again, the same place we stopped on the way west.