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Showing posts from October, 2011

FALL RETREAT

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There is still time to register for the Fall Retreat. Spaces are going fast. Check out the webpage for details. Packing list will be posted today. Also, please fill out the online medical form and the release form.

Retreats are a great way for your young person to get to know other students from around the north side of Indianapolis. Retreats are a great way for your young person to get away and relax. Retreats are a great way for your young person to grow in their faith. SIGN YOUR YOUNG PERSON UP NOW!

PRICE INCREASES MONDAY, OCTOBER 31 to $100.

"But Mom, it IS a big deal!"

It's a small pimple on her forehead on a Friday morning.

It's a tiny stain on the front of his shirt discovered on the way to the school social.

We are only two minutes late for the football game.

I lingered a moment when I dropped her off in front of the school.

What is the big deal? Why do these seemingly small and inconsequential moments become flashpoints in our relationships with our pre-teen/teen?

The answer is in the title..."But Mom, it IS a big deal to me!"

You can't argue this with your child. It is a big deal to them. It doesn't matter how irrational it may seem. It doesn't matter how small the issue actually is, it is a big deal to them.

One of the most difficult things for me to remember about living with a teenager is how small their frame of reference truly is. It was only yesterday that my child was just that, a child. They seemingly had not a worry in the world. Now, as a pre-teen/teen, everything is a BIG DEAL!

Pre-teens and teens are trying o…

Straining a Gnat, Swallowing a Camel

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In the Gospel of Matthew, the author shows Jesus having occasionally heated exchanges with representatives from the religious group called the Pharisees. He has some powerful and often difficult things to say to them. It is clear in the text that there is animosity between members of this group and some of those who follow Jesus. The author of Matthew appears to have a rather specific ax to grind with them. Therefore, when we come to texts such as these, we must be careful. There have been times in the history of Christianity when texts like these have been used as a hammer against entire groups of people. In fact, some of these texts in Matthew have been and are sometimes still used to endorse anti-Semitic thoughts and even violence from those within the church.
While the author of Matthew clearly has some pent up anger against members of the Pharisees, the reader must remember that the author himself was Jewish, and his views represented a division of thought and practice within Ju…

Echo of a Song

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“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
In 1996, I traveled with several students from Second Presbyterian Church to Santa Fe, NM where we worked on a small community farm sponsored by the local Presbyterian Churches.  This farm, supported by volunteers, gave 100% of its produce to the homeless shelters in the area.  The trip was more than any of us could have expected or imagined.
While in Santa Fe, we stayed at Saint Catherine Indian School, a boarding school founded in 1887 to provide Native American youth with a quality education.  One afternoon on a quick return trip from the work site to the school, I had the opportunity to meet a Native American man who was walking across the campus.  His name was Bob Chavez.  He was the art teacher at the schoo…

Believe It, Or Not

Believe It, Or Not is going to be a recurring item on this blog.  We invite you to take a look at the brief  article and then interact with the question by replying to the blog post.  It will be great to hear from one another about the joys and challenges of parenting adolescents.

BELIEVE IT, OR NOT...
Your teen is interested in what you think and what you believe. The problem is often the way in which we as parents package it.  If we spend more time talking than listening, we probably are not going to have a willing conversation partner.

What have you found to be the most effective ways to communicate with your adolescent? (Hit reply below, we would love to hear your best practices)

Cassie's Mess

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Cassie, a rambunctious five-year-old, saw her daddy eating chocolate chip cookies in the living room.She thought, “Daddy loves to dunk his cookies in milk.”Seeing that her father had no milk, Cassie sprung into action.She got a dining room chair and dragged it into the kitchen leaving some scratch marks on the floor.Cassie positioned the chair just right and climbed from it onto the kitchen counter.She pulled open the cabinet door with such force that it slammed into the wall with a terrific crash.She reached for a glass, knocking two others to the floor sending shards of glass flying throughout the kitchen.But Cassie didn’t care.“I am getting some milk for my daddy,” she thought.
Meanwhile, Cassie’s daddy had come to the kitchen door beckoned by all of the commotion.With hands on hips, he watched Cassie hard at work.Cassie scurried down from the cabinet and over to the refrigerator.She flung the door open wide.She sat the glass on the floor and reached for the nearly full gallon of mi…

FALL RETREAT!!

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Fall retreat registrations have begun!

It is our hope that your young person will join us on this wonderful weekend get away. This is a great way for them to get plugged in and get to know a group of students from the church who are their age.

The retreat is for ALL middle and high school students. However, there WILL be specific programming and activities for each age group.

We will meet at the church on Saturday, November 5 at 12:30PM to head to Camp PYOCA for a wonderful weekend of fun, friendship and growth. We will return to the church on Sunday, November 6 at 6:00PM.



Cost is $80 for the entire weekend (cost goes up on October 31 to $100; if you are a Footsteps of Faith participant, the cost is only $40). Sign up NOW online (click here). Spaces are going quickly. Scholarships are available.
Use this QR code or use the link above. 

Hope to see them on the retreat.

Tired and Busy

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"Hey. Great to see you! How are you?" This is how I greet many of the students with whom I am privileged to work each week.

The top responses to this seemingly innocuous question are, "Tired" and "Busy."

Very rarely do I get a "Great" or even a simple "Good."

I know that some of this is just teens responding as teens typically respond. I am sure they are often thinking, "What can I say to get me out of this conversation as quickly as possible?"

However, having said that, I do find it incredibly interesting that the first thing that pops into a young person's head as a possible response is "Tired" or "Busy."

I think these responses tell us something. I think they tell us something about the lives of our young people, and how they are coping with those lives.

I have been in youth ministry for almost 25 years. I can tell you that it is indeed true that today's students are busier than any other group o…

Boxes

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Life is safer when we keep God in a box. There are many reasons to place God in such a carefully created container. The box can help us have a construct by which we can understand who God is. The box can help us build a practical life of faith. The box can also help us understand who we are in relationship to such a God who we place in the box.

Life is safer when we keep God in a box. Nothing can get lost. Nothing can get broken. Nothing can escape. Nothing can get in. Nothing can be threatened. Life is safer in boxes.

There is nothing inherently wrong with the box we construct to contain God. As was said above, these boxes can indeed prove to be helpful. However, God has a nasty habit of working outside the walls that we have constructed. When this happens, we have a problem. We must either ignore God's activity, deny that it is God who is working or do the difficult work of figuring out how this new discovery works with our previous understanding of God. When the walls of our bo…

Boxes (two)

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Life is safer when we keep God in a box. There are many reasons to place God in such a carefully created container. The box can help us have a construct by which we can understand who God is. The box can help us build a practical life of faith. The box can also help us understand who we are in relationship to such a God who we place in the box.

Life is safer when we keep God in a box. Nothing can get lost. Nothing can get broken. Nothing can escape. Nothing can get in. Nothing can be threatened. Life is safer in boxes [see blog entry "Boxes (one)" for more reflections on our tendency to construct boxes].

There is nothing inherently wrong with the box we construct to contain God. As was said above, these boxes can indeed prove to be helpful. However, God has a nasty habit of working outside the walls that we have constructed. When this happens, we have a problem. We must either ignore God's activity, deny that it is God who is working or do the difficult work of figuri…

Boxes (one)

Life is safer in boxes. Everything has it's place and everything is contained. Nothing can get lost. Nothing can get broken. Nothing can escape. Nothing can get in. Life is safer in boxes.

However, real life cannot be truly lived in boxes. Only in unpacking, as painful as it can often be, can each item be fully integrated in our existence. Only in unpacking can we have life.

Unpacking can take time, and it probably should. There is no need to rush. Just start with one. What box can be unpacked  today?

Confusing the Subject for the Object

When learning to read a language other than your own, it can be easy to get the subject of a sentence confused with the object of the sentence.  This can lead to great confusion, interesting translations and grand misunderstandings!  When one confuses subject with object, the entire meaning of what is said is at risk.

The same can be said about the manner in which we understand God. When we forget that God is Subject - the One who is acting - and not object - the thing that is acted upon - our religion, our worship and our faith tips toward vain idolatry. When we confuse the two, we run the risk of constructing our own tower of Babel or golden calf. Even that which is forged out of our best intentions becomes nothing more than an artificial stairway to heaven or a glistening bovine statue. To the Athenians, the Apostle Paul said, "The God who made the world and everything in it, he who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by human hands, nor is he served by …

The Table

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Sunday, October 2 was world communion Sunday. 
Christians all around the world celebrated this sacrament as they gathered in cathedrals, store fronts, homes, massive modern buildings and small colonial edifices. We broke the bread as congregationalists, Presbyterians, non-denominationalists, Methodists, Baptists, Greek Orthodox, Disciples and Catholics. The cup was lifted before the rich, the poor, the middle class, the hungry, the hurting, the well, the diseased, the estranged, the outcast, the downtrodden and the recently diagnosed. The invitation to the Lord's table was given and received by people representing nearly every nation and people possessing every hue of melanin. 
What drew us together? The Christ.  We were all welcomed to the table because of and through the work of Jesus, the Christ.  At that table, we celebrated God's redeeming activity in our lives and in our world. At that table, we looked forward to God's unending work in the world and our charge to partne…

Take a Break

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When was the last time everyone in your family was unplugged? 
Think about it.
When was the last time there were no cell phones, no computers, no television, no iPhones, iPads, and iPods in use by the people in your house?
It doesn't happen often, that is for sure.  
What if once a week, you called for a technology fast? This would mean that everyone in the family would be unplugged for a designated amount of time to do something together that requires no electronic devices at all. This is a tremendous challenge for all of us. I understand. We have all become accustomed to having something electronic at our side or in our hand at all times. 
My family recently went to an orchard to pick apples. It was wonderful. We leisurely strolled through the orchard. We took our time and picked our favorite apples direcly from the trees. It was a great break in a busy weekend. And has become a once a year adventure for us. It was a great way to unplug!
There are opportunities all around you. You do…