Addicted to Media?

We are in a series called the 7 series at our church and we are challenging our youth group students to participate along with the congregation. It all has to do with creating margins in our lives for kingdom living. Each week has a different focus and then there are 7 challenges each week that we are encouraging our students to do with us. The 1st week was on clothes, 2nd week was on food, and this week is on MEDIA! (How ironic is it that I am posting about media through the use of media?)

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Instead of having students attempt to stop using all forms of media “cold turkey”, we as a youth staff decided to incorporate ways our students can use media for good + offer ways to limit the everyday use of media.

The 7 challenges for this week are:

1. Have the last text or message you send before bed be an encouraging one to someone you haven’t talked to in a while

2. When an inappropriate song comes on the radio, turn the station

3. Choose one social media site to not check for the week

4. Watch TV only with other people

5. Try to go 1 day without telling lies

6. Cut out 30 minutes of media (TV, phone, internet) and use that half-hour for good (play with siblings, read a book, talk a walk outside)

7. Watch a meaningful movie with family or friends and talk about it (here’s some of our favorites: To Save a Life, Radio, Chasing Mavericks, Remember the Titans, UP, Facing the Giants, Evan Almighty, Pursuit of Happiness)

My favorite is #1 and I can’t wait to send an encouraging text to some friends I haven’t talked to in a while! I am also looking forward to doing many of these myself and limiting my use of social media this week in an attempt to spend more time with God and with people!

I would encourage those reading to try these challenges for this week!

Here’s a fantastic yet convicting video on our addiction to phones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OINa46HeWg8

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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Party @ Penuel!

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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.

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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.

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Worksites during the day from Monday through Thursday included:

Construction/Building

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Sanding/Painting

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Campers Duty

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Food and Kitchen Prep

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Construction/Building

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Cement Prep and Laying

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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

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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!

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HYPED about “MURICA”

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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

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5th Grade: Team Zimbabwe

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6th Grade: Team Brazil

Team Brazil (6th graders)

7th Grade: Team Japan

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