Saturday, December 05, 2009

The Crazy Christmas Series's Christmas time again! LOVE this season for Sunday mornings. there are so many fun games to play and great to remind students of the powerful story of Christmas.

If you are looking for ideas for a Christmas series, here is what we are doing this season for our middle schoolers.

Crazy Christmas Series

1. A Crazy Beginning: A Virgin Birth (Luke 1)

God has this crazy idea of using a middle school girl to give birth to His Son. Of course, she's an 8th grader...and not married...and she's never been with a guy. WHAT?!

The big idea: God is looking for middle schoolers to do something crazy in making a difference with their lives!

2. A Crazy Bargain: Stay with the Girl (Matthew 1)

So Mary tells Joseph that she's pregnant and she SWEARS that it's the Holy Spirit. Riiiiiiiiight. Joseph decides to divorce her quietly and an angel shows up to encourage Joseph to believe Mary.

The big idea: Listening to god isn't always as easy as having an angel in your bedroom. What are ways students can listen to God during the Christmas season?

3. A Crazy Birth: God is born in a barn (Luke 2)

Mary and Joseph are having the baby in a barn in Bethlehem. The Son of God's first bed is a feeding trough, a curious place for a king. In fact, Jesus never learned to live like a king. He lived like a servant.

The big idea: It's easy to get self absorbed during this season. What are different ways we can serve others during the Christmas break to keep Christmas going?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Recap of our High School Trip to Denver working with the Center for Student Missions.

The night was dark and the streets were alive. The high school group from First Church drove through the Mile High City as they prepared to spend the week on a mission trip. They were on a prayer tour that served as an introduction to Denver, its problems, and the many people who make up the city.

While the vans traveled through wealthy and poor neighborhoods, the song “Give Me Your Eyes So I Can See” by Brandon Heath, played.

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me you heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

“One of the first things we did was taking the prayer tour. It was eye-opening” said Ken Rawson, Minister to Students. “They took us all over the city showing us different ministries and teaching us about what God is doing for the poor. And we prayed that God would give us his eyes and heart.”

The group served at a number of different ministries: They weeded Manuel High School that had been closed and is being re-opened, fed dinner, and played with kids at the Lambuth Family Shelter.

They packed unused medical supplies for Project C.U.R.E., the Commission for Urgent Relief and Equipment, who ships the supplies to foreign countries in need.

They played games at a retirement home for low-income seniors and helped staff a math and science camp being held for an impoverished neighborhood.

Ninth grader Aubrey Maxwell found God using her as she helped a 6 year-old girl named Shema.

“Shema had a little bit of Down’s Syndrome but she was the funniest girl in the world” said Aubrey. “It felt good to help her with making a volcano and a shirt with her name on it and stuff. I helped her make a spectroscope. Every time I told her to look through it she would try to listen to it!”

The group was blessed to have the Chair of Trustees Ken Hole accompany them on the trip. The highlight of the trip for Ken was meeting a homeless man named Robert Evans.

“We went to a store and bought supplies for folks like soap and brushes and then we went down to meet people. This one man told us his story about how he was a college graduate and a painter but lost it all to drugs.”

“He then told us that if we go to the Caldwell African-American Research Library that there are three of his paintings on permanent display. So we went and saw them. Not only were they amazing, but they were signed in 2003 and 2004. It really puts things into perspective when you think that it was just five years ago that this guy had his life together.”

The group also played with children at a day care in Aurora, danced with older folks and the developmentally disabled, and served hundreds of meals at the Broadway Assistance Center and the historic Denver Rescue Mission.

“I was blown away by the sheer number of people who came into eat to get a meal. We fed over 450 people and I served 60 gallons of soup” said soup-slinger Ken Hole.

But the week was not limited to service projects. It was about learning and experiencing the city.

The group ate dinner at different ethnic restaurants, was put through a homeless re-enactment, dropped off in an Asian market, took a homeless man named Rick out to breakfast, and sent out for an “adventure” in the city.

“The Downtown Immersion was four hours of simulating the experience of time on the streets for a teenage runaway” said junior Max Sherard. “It was pretty intense to experience what it actually takes to be out there on the streets.”

“This week has given me an understanding of the extent of homelessness. It’s changed what I see on the streets, especially after meeting Rick. You really don’t know if they are going to survive. They are in a tough situation.”

Ken Hole summed up the week. “We aren’t going to end homelessness. We aren’t going to get rid of poverty, ever. The thing is, we need to take care of each other and give as many “hand ups” as we can.”

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Now THAT'S what I call fishing!

This guy jumps from a helicopter and catches a Marlin! Good night!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mean Robots Suck: A quick review of Transformers 2

In one word: Bittersweet.

I LOVED the special effects! So amazing. I don't have a clue how they do this stuff. It blows me away.

The story was good...but it took a little while to get to it. The love storyline...lame. Lots of funny one liners like when one of the robots says, "Mean robots suck."

There is so much action! Some would probably say "Violence." There was a lot and it was really hard to keep up and absorb all that was happening in the fight scenes. But it could have been our crappy seats. (we arrived an hour early...sat down 45 minutes before the show started...but ended up in the fourth row from the front and all the way to the left. Not great...but not terrible.)

The cameos...I won't ruin it but I laughed out loud at a couple of the stars who showed up for this movie.

I think there are a lot of Christians who will react to all the course joking. Lots of sexual humor. If you are offended by "Truck Nuts" I'm not sure what you'll do with the giant Transformer testicles. (Sorry for the spoiler.)

In all, the movie is really made for college guys and young adult males. I'm sure that is a "duh", but it kind of took away some of the fun for me. My 8 year old LOVES Transformers and I loved them as a kid! I still remember going to the Grenada movie theater in Morgan Hill and seeing the Transformers cartoon movie. (It was the first movie I went to without a parent!)

And the sad part is, it will be years before I'll let Noah watch the movie with me. I just don't think he can take it. And if he could take the intense robot fighting, I'm just not ready to subject him to the steady flow of sex jokes and related material. (Evidently only models go to college. Not a fat or ugly girl to be found in the movie.)

So, it was an amazing film, and one has to filter out the garbage, like a lot of movies. I just wish my son could enjoy it with me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sweet Baseball Skills

ht to my buddy Jesse. This is one great trick! He should get called up just for that!

Monday, June 22, 2009

One more reason I love Youth Specialties: The Mystery Box Revealed!!!!

Sometime I should probably blog all the reasons I love YS but it's easiest to say that without thier encouragement and resources, I probably wouldn't be doing student ministry today.

A couple months ago they were moving offices and had to get rid of a bunch of stuff so they were selling "mystery"boxes of stuff they were going to have to destroy in the move.

So instead of throwing stuff away, for $20, YS would donate that money to Reality Changers (an amazing charity helping at risk teens go to college) and youth workers would get a box of who-knows-what.

Here's what was in my box:

The Ideas Index....a throwback to yesteryear when the Ideas books were in print. printed in 1992!

The Ideas combo edition, four books in one, 17-20! printed in 1981...I feel like I'm holding youth ministry folklore.

2 Videos from the old Edge TV series: Growing up Fast and Word on the Street. Yeah...

So far...not so good. eh eh eh

A THIRD Video: Curt Cloninger "Witnesses" I believe this was standard issue for youth pastors in the nineties. And I can sell it on Amazon for nearly $20!!!!

What Would Jesus Do? (In German!), WHOA! Someone is trying to sell it for $158!!!!!

Never The Same, worth $9

Deep Justice Journeys, BRAND NEW just released!!! Worth $13

Art Source 4.0, Clip art library! worth $51!!!

So...for $20, Reality Changers got $20, and I got a box full of goodies worth between $100 or possibly $250, depending on the German need for WWJD. Thanks YS!!!