What is God’s Will?

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


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…


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)

Miley Cyrus and Pop Music’s Double Standard
Are both women and men held equally accountable? Fascinating article!

Popular Teen App Spotlight: Ask.fm
By Holland author Dave Rozman

Teen Slang: What is My Teen REALLY Saying?
Helpful blogpost by Dave Rozman

Distance from the Truth

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!

A HYPEr Finale!

Last Tuesday was our end of the summer party for HYPE and it was super fun! We had a record-high number of 3rd – 7th graders show up, which gave our party even more energy, life, and chaos! I wouldn’t have it any other way! Here are some photos from the last day (credit to Brenda Ramos for the sweet photos)

Rope Swing


Getting Ready for Face Paint


Miss Kate loves Clarissa!



Everyone in the circle


3rd and 4th grade group


5th grade group


6th grade group


7th grade group


It was truly an amazing summer at HYPE, filled with many laughs and smiles! Here are some of my personal highlights:

  • Watching kids “fly” on the rope swing
  • Hearing the contagious sound of laughter every day
  • After-dinner and clean-up dance party!
  • Seeing the “lightbulb” turn on for the kids during Bible story time
  • Watching kids have FUN playing with old and new friends
  • Putting school supplies in backpacks for the Back to School Party
  • Playing 9 square in the air
  • Memorizing Philippians 3:12-14 in a rap form with motions

There are many more of course, but Cheers to God for his faithfulness this summer and giving so many of us the opportunity to invest into the lives of 3rd – 7th graders!

Watch this video of us rapping:

Click here to watch HYPE students and interns recite Philippians 3:12-14 together!

Party @ Penuel!


It has been a very long time since my last blog post, so here is a quick update on the mission trip I was on to Camp Penuel in Ironton, Missouri with our high school youth group from Christ Memorial Church.


Fast Facts:

62 High School Students
25 Adult leaders/volunteers
1 Greyhound Bus
1 15 Passenger Van
2 12 Passenger Vans
1 Motorhome
1 Work truck with a Trailer
3 Weed whackers
3 Chainsaws
2 orders of 90 Jimmy Johns Subs

Countless laughs, smiles, and memories made.


Worksites during the day from Monday through Thursday included:





Campers Duty


Food and Kitchen Prep




Cement Prep and Laying


Every one of our high school students had the opportunity to work 2 days, interact with the campers at Camp Penuel and serve meals at the camp for 1 day, and then go off-campus 1 day to the Johnson Shut-ins and Elephant Rocks State Parks.

IMG_1407Jumping off the rocks at Johnson Shut-ins


It was an absolutely amazing trip for these reasons:

  • the high school students and leaders worked so hard in the 100+ degree heat
  • we were able to see the difference we made with the work projects
  • watching our high school students interact and love on the Camp Penuel campers
  • having campfire conversations every night with 87 people
  • waking up students at 6am so they could have quiet time devotions on their own
  • physically seeing the spiritual growth and transformation of numerous students in how they interacted with others and hearing their conversations
  • the numerous hilarious quotes that were said throughout the week

Memories were made, authentic community was formed, numerous laughs were shared, faith was deepened and lives were transformed. Cheers to God!


Campfire talksIMG_1771

Are parents/friends helping or hurting your job chances?

One of my good friends passed this article along and I thought it was good enough to post the link to share it with high schoolers, college friends and parents out there. This world is becoming increasingly competitive to find internships or jobs, and this article provides insights into how we can help friends, siblings, cousins and students find jobs without crippling or coddling them!

Enjoy this quick read: 





Making an American-themed craft!

All these incoming 3rd through 7th graders have so much energy on Tuesdays and Thursdays that I find myself needing to sit on the couch I’m so tired on these evenings! Today was another day of great fun at HYPE. It was “MURICA” theme today since it is the 4th of July on Thursday, and plenty of the HYPE students donned some red, white and blue for the occasion! We had a group game of Jeopardy to test the level of US History knowledge among the students, and they did great! Additionally, we played a game called “Knight at the Museum,” where the students had to act like statues and find American flags hidden all over the youth room without the “museum guard” turning around and seeing them move (similar to red light green light).


Knight at the Museum game

For our lesson today, we talked about freedom and how privileged we are to have the many gifts we have been given, which many people have sacrificed for. In comparison, Christ sacrificed his life for us so we can have the “free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). That’s the beauty of grace – it’s free! And what are we to do with this freedom? Hoard it to ourselves? By no means! We are to share this free gift with others, loving our neighbors, family members and friends in the name of Jesus.


9 Square in the Air

Today, I enjoyed playing several games of “ball tag” with a group of guys and girls, 9 square in the air and watching Andrew and Becca (2 high school interns) help the students memorize Philippians 3 verses 12 and 13. It is highly entertaining to watch 30 3rd through 7th graders yell Bible verses at the top of their lungs with motions to go along with it! If I can ever figure out how to upload a video for free, I will attach a video from Thursday’s group “rapping” Philippians 3:12 and a chunk of verse 13! They are getting it and memorizing it!


How great is her face?

I have to say that I  absolutely love watching these high school interns teach these young students about God through what they say and teach them as well as how they interact and deeply love them.

No HYPE this Thursday due to the 4th of July holiday, and I am getting excited to leave Saturday for a week-long mission trip to Camp Penuel, Missouri with a group of 88 high school students and leaders! Have a great holiday weekend everyone!

It’s all about the HYPE!

Hello friends,

I am venturing into the world of blogging here, and I am looking forward to updating ya’ll on what is going on in my life and what I am involved in.

IMG_1136Keenan wore a HYPE t-shirt to HYPE!

Today was the start of the 3rd week of HYPE – a summer neighborhood ministry for incoming 3rd – 7th graders that is held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3pm-5pm at Christ Memorial Church. There are many joys of my job at Christ Memorial Church and starting this new summer program has brought  forth many reasons to be joyful. One of them is that I have the opportunity to walk alongside and work with 12 amazing high school students who are interns this summer. They are awesome! They come in on Monday mornings so we can plan and prepare for the upcoming week together, which includes developing the theme for the week as well as activities, games, sports, interest groups, crafts, our Bible passage from Philippians 3 and the teaching for the day. Tuesday the high school interns come in at noon and we eat lunch together, discuss a chapter of a book we are reading all together (The Student Leadership Challenge), prepare for the day and then the 3rd – 7th graders come at 3pm! They come full of energy, which we try our best to match for the whole time! Thursdays are very similar to Tuesdays with more preparation and time spent growing together.

This week’s theme is “Teamwork,” so we are focusing on working together as not only individuals, but as teammates. We had some friendly large group competition through a Hula Hoop relay and a teambuilding exercise called “Switch, Change, Rotate”. The students had free time at the beginning and at the end of the day to play 9-square in the air, basketball, throw the football, make friendship bracelets, or play Uno and Jenga. A majority of the high school students worked together and wrote a skit about teamwork and performed it for the students at HYPE today. It was about a football team that wasn’t working together at the beginning, but finally figured it out and bonded together in time to score a touchdown, but they excessively celebrated…(wait for a follow-up continuation skit about humility and sportsmanship on Thursday) We were also able to have some small group time, where the HYPE students were broken down into 3rd and 4th graders, 5th graders, 6th graders, and 7th graders. They first discussed with their high school leaders about the importance of teamwork, working together, and what it means to be a team player in life. Then, each small group was charged with the task of making and decorating a team flag for their group for the summer with their assigned colors. The team with the most color variety earned some extra HYPE bucks (kids can turn them in for prizes at the end of the day) – Congratulations 5th graders/Team Zimbabwe!

Today was a most fulfilling day as I am able to watch 3rd – 7th graders run around Christ Memorial’s youth room full of energy, smiling faces, laughing, yelling, dancing to music, playing 9-square, engaged in activities, watching skits, listening to teachings and simply having fun! Additionally, I have the privilege of teaching the high school students during the week and then watching them put into practice the art of greeting others, interacting with younger students, teaching them how to make friendship bracelets, playing board games with them, running and chasing them around, building relationships with and loving on the 3rd – 7th graders that come to HYPE. It is such a joy to see friendships and relationships form in this “mentoring model” of high school students and younger 3rd – 7th grade students.

I hope and pray that these 12 high school student interns will feel so blessed by God that they may be a blessing to the 3rd – 7th graders at HYPE, and then, in turn, the 3rd – 7th graders would be so inspired by this outpouring of God’s love through the interns that they themselves would be a blessing to their parents, grandparents, siblings and friends.

We are…Blessed to be a Blessing.

9 Square in the Air

9 Square in the Air

3rd/4th Grade: Team Greece


5th Grade: Team Zimbabwe


6th Grade: Team Brazil

Team Brazil (6th graders)

7th Grade: Team Japan