Pour on the Salt and Turn on the Light!

It’s been a long time since I blogged, so I figured I would get back into it by posting what I teach on for youth group or Sunday school. This morning’s message was on Matthew 5:13-16:

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”salt light

What does it mean that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world?

First, what good is salt? Salt is used in over 14,000 different ways, with 68% coming through the use of industrial chemicals! Salt is one of the most stable compounds in the world and is one of the most abundant minerals in the world, too. As humans, we need salt in order to live because salt balances our body chemically and our muscles need salt to function. However, our bodies cannot produce salt so we must consume salt through water and food. Speaking of food, when it comes to food, salt is mainly used to preserve and to add flavor. Therefore, Jesus is calling us at Christians to preserve the truth (which is found in Christ) and to add flavor to a sometimes boring world. Where is the strength in salt? It’s found in quantity. A single grain of salt is very hard to taste the difference when sprinkled on food, but the more salt you add the more you can taste the salt. So it is with Christians: there is strength in numbers and community and the more we stick together, the saltier we can be to this earth.Salt by Salt Shaker   Original Filename: 6507-000073.jpg

Second, what is the significance of being light to this world? What difference does shining a light make? An important connection must be made to 1 John 1:5, which says “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” If God is light, and Jesus says “you are the light of the world,” then what is the connection? We are God’s representation here on earth and have been given his light to shine brightly for all to see. For when we let our light shine before others, it reflects the light of Christ.

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Is your light shining?

If your light is shining, does anybody notice?

The powerful thing about light is that the darker the darkness, the brighter the light will shine. Additionally, the more lights that are turned on, the brighter it will be! As Christians, we have the power to chose to shine our lights for the sake of others and for the sake of Christ. So turn your light on, don’t hide it under a basket, and put it on a stand so others can see it! There is strength in community – so the more lights that are shining together = more light! IMG_1768

We together are the salt of the earth!

We together are the light of the world!

We together can make a difference in the lives of others!

We together can make a difference for God!

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The Beauty in Simplicity…

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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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