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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Annual Teen Valentine Banquet and Scavenger Hunt 2016


Every year we host a Valentine's Banquet and scavenger hunt around Valentine's Day for our church youth group.  It's always fun because there are always new kids involved every year, but this year might have been the highest number of new kids we have had in many, many years - or perhaps, ever!  It's been a blessing to have our youth group grow over the past year and we pray that it continues to do so.
This year we were able to start the "hunt" a few hours earlier because we had an afternoon, after lunch, worship service in place of the evening worship service.  Because it was light outside, we were able to add new things to the scavenger hunt list.  Many things were service projects: Taking the trash out and taking the can to the street for pick up day the next day.
....and singing to someone over 90 years old!  This sweet man turned 98 yesterday!
....unloading someone's dishwasher....
....washing someone's windows....
....and fun things, too, such as getting a picture with everyone in the air at the same time (I missed it thinking I got it!).
The hunt was followed by the "banquet". The teens are "served" their food.  They are instructed to remain seated, though many feel awkward not clearing the table and taking their things to the trash!  We sweetly reminded them that we were serving them! :)
The evening ended with singing and a devotional (top picture).  My husband also talked to them about using God's name only in the right way - not in vain.  He talked to them about how important it is to use the word "holy" for only holy things: God is holy.  Many things we hear the word holy being used for are unholy, for sure.  Then he went on to the devotional time, telling them to notice people...specifically to notice people who are hurting.  We sometimes get too busy to notice those who may be hurting that are all around us.  

It was a great evening and a great time for the teens to grow closer together.  We are thankful for the adults who helped us with the evening, by driving the scavenger hunt groups around.  And to those who allowed the teens to enter their homes for the hunt items and activities.  It's fun for them, as well!  


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"I DON'T WANT TO BE HERE!" (#2)

Ever since I heard the news Sunday night that three teens in our area had passed away as the result of an automobile accident, I've had the same thought running through my mind:  "I don't want to be here!"  This is what I said over and over as we sat at the funeral home in 2001, planning the funeral for our little boy who was stillborn.  "I don't want to be here!"  And they don't want to be there, either.

None of the families that are having to plan funerals for their teenage sons want to be where they are right now.  None of them want to be in this situation and would give anything to have just one more hug, one more day, one more....anything.  It's a horrible thing they are going through, yet there they are - doing what no parent wants to do.

My heart aches for them.  Many hearts do, whether they know the families or not.  And those who do know them ache even worse.

Sunday morning I was out of town visiting our two college kids, along with the next oldest child.  The sermon that morning had to do with how to help the grieving. It was a wonderful lesson with many great thoughts and lessons from God's Word, but one particular point made me think:  "Helping Begins With Hearing."  We can all pray for the grieving families and that helps them tremendously, but the only way to physically help those grieving families is to hear them.  At this point in their grieving, nothing you can say to them can help them, though there are many things you can say to them that can hurt them.  They need prayers.  They need hugs.  They need a shoulder to cry on.  But they don't need your words of wisdom.  They need you to listen, if they need to talk.  HELPING BEGINS WITH HEARING.  That's a powerful statement.

"I don't want to be here!"  Hear that.  You don't have to say anything in response to that statement.  Just listen.

 “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Monday, February 8, 2016

Oh, Be Careful Little Fingers What You Type!

When I first began this blog, I started with a "series" of posts using the song, "Oh Be Careful Little Eyes", then went to other body parts.  While they are all important, in this day and age of technology, our fingers may be the most important of all.  Why?  Because you and I can sit behind a screen and say whatever we want to say - and a lot of the times, that's just not good!

Yesterday, my preacher brother-in-law talked about using our time wisely.  The passage was one we will be using for our "scripture of the week" for our family. "Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is." Ephesians 5:15-17

Something else was said in Bible class yesterday about a former minister who had been buried here the day before. When he talked he would say, "Now, remember if you think I'm pointing fingers, I have three coming back at me!"  Ouch. That is sometimes painfully true!

It matters how we live. It matters what we do. And, as another brother-in-law said in his message as one of our Elders, it matters what we type and post on social media, and sadly it occurred to me that I put something a little bit rude concerning a professional athlete hinting at his arrogance, but was it something that needed to be said? Was it rude? Was it sarcastic?  No. Yes. Yes.  :(  I deleted it, but shouldn't have ever posted it.  I went against my own rule of, "Never post negative."  So I will strive to do better and be better and be careful with my fingers.

There's so much posted with "our little fingers" that just doesn't need to be said.  Think of doctrinal issues or political sides. We have to be careful, as Christians, that we don't build a barrier by the views we hold and publicly want to share. When we get angry and defensive, we may have great thoughts about the issues - even true ones, but our anger will not and does not draw anyone to Christ.  It actually may turn people away from the church - away from Jesus.  And on the political side, I'm doubtful anyone has changed their minds because of rude and sarcastic, and just plain mean, memes!

Public debating isn't helpful.  People block other people’s comments, holding grudges for things that have been said, hide certain people - even Christians - and sadly, even may get to where they can't even speak to one another in public. Some have said that they cannot take the conflict and they've become frustrated with what they see.  Am I part of the problem or part of the solution? I used to be part of the problem. I used to like to debate.  If I had been on social media years ago, I would have enjoyed the political stuff, too.  Now I don't.  I think it's hurtful.  

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

I hope you will realize that as a Christian, your Facebook page/posts and Twitter "tweets",  Instagram, etc.,  is not “personal,” it’s an arm of the church, a reflection of Jesus, and is to be an example as to the character of Christ. Be careful what you share and communicate to the world! 

Is it being done with the heart and mind of Christ? Let’s humble ourselves and make sure that neither our private life nor our public life on social media are in conflict with our Father and Savior's message and our calling as one of His ambassadors.

OH, BE CAREFUL LITTLE FINGERS WHAT YOU TYPE!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Breath of Life

Our youngest missed the first three days of school this week. His asthma, which is rarely active, was acting up in full force.  He had a cold/sinus infection, plus an ear infection.  He did breathing treatments, we used essential oils in the diffuser, cough medicine, allergy/cold oils and meds, then finally resorted to going in to the doctor for a prescription.  It had been a long time since he had to have prednisone for his breathing, but when you're having a hard time breathing, you are willing to take the nasty stuff!  You have to!

I was thinking yesterday how that, for those who don't ever struggle to breath, it's hard for them to imagine.  I understand the struggle because I have it, myself, but some of my family member's children have it and the mommas can't understand it because they don't have asthma.  It makes it much harder for them, though they do the best they can to help their child.

The breath of life is important for our physical well-being, but the breath of life....THE breath of life...in our spiritual lives is even more important.  And maybe, just like in the physical sense, someone may understand the importance of it a little more, but the reality is that it's just as important to those who don't.

When humankind was created, God gave him life. "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being,"  Genesis 2:7.  Our very breath came from the Lord.  But it's even more than that.

The word soul in Hebrew is nephesh, meaning “an animated, breathing, conscious, and living being.” Man did not become a living soul until God breathed life into him. As a physical, animate, rational, and spiritual being, man is unique among all living things upon the earth.  No other living thing has those qualities.  God did that!  We are uniquely made!

Thus says God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and its offspring, Who gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it. Isaiah 42:5

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

The breath of God is the life and power of God, given to man to animate him. The Hebrew word for spirit is ruach, which means “wind, breath, air, spirit.” Our physical bodies will die.  That physical breathing will end, but the soul, the spirit, will live on for eternity.  The question will be - where will you spend it?  That's what matters.
 
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