Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
"here’s to freedom! i have some friends who thought they were people that they really weren’t. one gal thought she was a prostitute, and another was convinced he was an addict. don’t get me wrong; they did the things prostitutes and addicts do, but that’s just really living out of a false identity. the truth is they are a living, breathing expression of love, beauty, and everything good. that’s the “image” they were created in but it became lost to them, and they took on a lesser identity, and suffered. it’s not hard to lose the real you, and become something you’re not. if you’ve done it for a long time, it’s a struggle to stop."
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Ever wonder what that particular teenager who caused you trouble was thinking?
Ever wonder when teenagers will follow the rules?
Ever wonder why emotions appeal to teenagers more than reason?
Ever wonder how the teenage brain works?
When you have a chance, check out this website.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Several weeks ago, we had a discussion on Sunday School. It seems like this is an area of ministry that many are “Rethinking.”
This summer, at the church I serve, we have started a new Sunday School tradition (hopefully). We’ve asked our graduating seniors to each spend (over a period of several months) ten-fifteen minutes sharing their faith story. After they share their story we break into groups, discuss what we have heard, and then return and have a follow-up question and answer period.
Last Sunday was our first Sunday. So far, this seems to work well. Our graduating seniors have the opportunity to both reflect on their faith and think about ways to articulate their experiences. At the same time, our other youth (particularly the younger youth) really enjoy hearing their peers talk about the ups and downs of their faith journeys. This format is easy to arrange, not too stressful, and fun.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Ben Kraker (Rootsben) Winner of Prize Package 1: (Spontaneous Melodramas 2 by Doug Fields, Laurie Polich, Duffy Robbins and Branded: Adolescents converting from Consumer Faith by Katherince Turpin):
Chad Swanzy Winner of Prize Package 2: (Hurt: Inside the World of Today's Teenagers by Chap Clark and Meeting Space ideas for Youth Ministry by Todd Outcalt)
Ypguybrit Winner of Prize Package 3: (Presence-Centered Youth Ministry: Guiding Students into Spiritual Formation by Mike King and Enjoy the Silence: A 30 Day Experiment in Listening by Maggie & Duffy Robbins)
The Examen: This is a cool ancient form of prayer that asks you to think back over the last week or month. Let you mind wander through the following questions as you pray: Thinking back over the recent past, focus on the moments when you were most grateful and the moments when you were least grateful. What were they? Which moments did you give and receive God's love the most? When did you give and receive love the least?When you were paying the most attention to the love of God in the world? When were you paying the least attention? Finish by thanking God for the gift of today and ask for guidance in being more open to God’s presence in your daily life.
Pray Scripture. Pick up a Bible and start reading. Select a verse such as "Truly, I say to you,as you did it to one of the least of these,my brethren,you did it to me" and turn it into a prayer: "God help me to to reach out to the least of these in my world and to treat them as your beloved children." Or select a psalm as an inspiration for prayer. Try taking the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) and write your own translation in a way that reflects your life and needs.
Be quiet. If prayer is a conversation, then you also need to listen in silence. Simply sit in silence, perhaps close your eyes, and see what comes to you.
Meditate on an object. Pick up some natural object nearby (a rock, a leaf, a stick, a flower) and just focus on it for awhile. Admire all its details, its quality, its texture. Consider what a gift this piece of nature is and give thanks.
Repeat a word or phrase: Chanting or repeating a mantra over and over can focus your thoughts and free you mind to be open to new things. Pick a word to say slowly and repeatedly to yourself quietly (or in your thoughts) such as love, peace, life, or perhaps the name of someone or something important to you. You could also choose a phrase such as “Jesus, be with me” or “God so loves the world” or “Open my mind, open my heart,”
Ask Questions. What are the big questions of life you’d like answers to today? You know--the ones like “Why is there suffering in the world?” Spend some time just asking those questions, one after another, offering them to God and see what happens.
Imagine. Close your eyes for awhile and imagine the world as God would have it be – not as it is. What do you see? How is that world different from the one we live in today? Now imagine yourself as part of that vision, helping to make it come true. What are you doing? How is God calling you to be part of bringing that vision to reality in your own little corner of the world?
Walk the Labyrinth. Find a copy of a finger labyrinth. Sit in a quiet place and take time to slowly trace your finger along the path of the labyrinth, all the way to the center and the slowly back out. Even better, use a finger of your non-dominant hand. As you move along the path, spend time thinking about your journey of faith, the journey of your life, all the people you have met, the things you have done, the problems you have overcome, the challenges you still face, and focus on where you have encountered God along the way.