The Beauty in Simplicity…

CMC HS Group

The Christ Memorial Church High School Fall Retreat is something I look forward to every single year. Yes, it is one more thing to load onto the calendar in the midst of a busy fall, but that is exactly why I look forward to “getting away.” With the start-up of school, sporting events, after-school activities, work, meetings, and a new program and ministry year at church, life just gets crazy busy. So, we put a Fall Retreat on the calendar to offer high schoolers a chance to unwind, get away, forget about the stress of school and home, re-energize emotionally and spiritually, make new friendships and strengthen existing relationships all while having fun together at Cran-Hill Ranch!

Breakfast Burritos

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I recently came across this quote and I think it applies perfectly to why we go to Cran-Hill on a fall retreat in the middle of a very busy month of September:

“In the midst of all the noise, all the rush, all the change, all the busyness, and all the uncertainty, people long for simplicity. Precisely because things are so hectic and out of control people respond to simple. The busyness and complexity of life makes simple a great commodity, something desired.” 

Quiet Time

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We long for simplicity, so the goal for this weekend was simple:

Love God and Love Others.

It included: amazing food, great fellowship, quiet time with God, meaningful conversations around the fire, singing worship songs around the fire, playing capture the flag, experiencing God’s nature via canoeing down a river, and encouraging one another as fellow believers in Christ.

Quiet Time

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Once again, I came back from a Fall Retreat absolutely physically exhausted (not having slept much) but, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually renewed having experienced God’s beauty in the simplicity of sharing a weekend with high schoolers and leaders! Cheers to God for an amazing weekend!

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What is God’s Will?

Found this blogpost on “God’s Will” to be incredibly helping and insightful!

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If you’re like me at all, you’ve wondered that ageless question: What’s God’s Will for my life? There are innumerable answers that could follow based on whom you ask the question. But what does God say His Will is in general? For everyone? Well that’s a little easier to answer. In fact, there are several things we can KNOW without a doubt is God’s Will for us now and always. I believe that if we start doing these things that we KNOW is God’s Will, other things that are more specific to us personally will come into perspective as God’s Will for OUR life.
In general, any command from God can pretty much taken as God’s Will for our lives specifically.  We don’t have to wonder or debate whether or not God wants us to steal, lie, kill, or worship something other than Him. However, we get a little thrown…

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Insightful (and Startling) Articles on Today’s Teens…

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If this picture doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will! Over 9 million people posted about the VMA’s on Facebook this year – and for good reason as there is much to be said about the performance of Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke (he is 35 and married after all!)…read the full article here: http://mashable.com/2013/08/28/mtv-vmas-facebook/

With so much going on in the world today, everything is readily accessible for everyone – including youth. Middle-school and high school students can peruse and watch pretty much anything they want on TV, the internet, or on their smartphones (I don’t get why middle school students need Iphones). At any rate, technology is changing rapidly and the minds, hearts and lives of youth can be formed by anything or anyone that gives a hot second about them. Youth (and all of humanity) deeply desire to be loved and cared about – so can we as adults join together to mentor, disciple, love and teach our youth about the love of God that transforms whatever our culture says?

In order to effectively teach and earn the respect of youth, we must be informed of what is going on in “their” culture and society. Here are a host of articles that either I have stumbled across myself or that have been posted by other trusted youth workers or those in Christian ministry. Please read, and I think you will understand the pressing need for our youth to know and experience the saving grace and love of the Triune God.

Youth Culture Report : numerous articles here: http://theyouthculturereport.com/category/youth/

On the craze of the Hunger Games:
Katniss and Christ: Meeting the Hunger in Middle School Girls: http://www.youthworker.com/youth-ministry-resources-ideas/youth-ministry/11698063/

The Culture Behind the Music 
What Millions of Teens Gleaned from MTV’s 2013 VMAs
(This one stuck out to me the most – as many of my students have been talking about the VMA’s)
http://www.thesource4ym.com/youthculturewindow/article.aspx?ID=257

Miley Cyrus and Pop Music’s Double Standard
Are both women and men held equally accountable? Fascinating article!
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/culture/miley-cyrus-and-pop-musics-double-standard

Popular Teen App Spotlight: Ask.fm
By Holland author Dave Rozman
http://theyouthculturereport.com/testsite/popular-teen-app-spotlight-ask-fm/

Teen Slang: What is My Teen REALLY Saying?
Helpful blogpost by Dave Rozman
http://daverozman.com/2013/08/30/teen-sang-what-is-my-teen-really-saying/

Distance from the Truth
http://godsyouthguy.blogspot.com/2012/04/distance-is-growing.html

A Mentor’s Multiplied Impact
It is so easy to underestimate the power of a mentoring relationship – I would encourage everyone to find someone to mentor – REINVEST and be a blessing to others http://www.assistnews.net/Stories/2013/s13080106.htm

There are many other articles that pop up online on a daily basis and while it can be daunting to attempt at staying “up-to-date,” I hope these few I’ve highlighted for you can be useful for leading wherever you are at in life. May God give all of us the strength and energy to transform our worlds in the name of Jesus!

God Bless You!