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Showing posts from November, 2011

New Narrative - The Power of Words

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Remember the old adage,
Sticks and stones
May break my bones
But words
Will never hurt me

It is a lie. It is a bold faced lie, and we all know it.

Words have the power to not only injure, but also to destroy. These words that have such destructive power are a part of the negative narrative that many young people hear each and every day.

The good news is that words also have the power to heal, and also to build. Simple words have such incredible power. Words such as these are a part of the new narrative which we can begin to speak into the lives of the young people with whom we live.

After we have taken the time and energy to create a safe space for our children to genuinely be themselves (see New Narrative - Voices and Images), new words - a new narrative - can be spoken into the space. Be aware, this new space is fragile. It is a space that must be honored and handled with care. It is a space that is open to the possibility of something new. Into this wonderful space, into the life of th…

New Narrative - Voices and Images

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She hears the voices ringing in her ears...
"You will never fit in."
"I can't believe you would wear that."
"You aren't very pretty."
"Why can't you do better than that?"
"You are fat."

When he stands in front of the mirror he sees...
a failure,
an awkward castoff,
someone who will never be good enough,
a chubby wannabe,
a coward.

Whether these voices and images are real or figments of a wild imagination doesn't matter. The reality is that young people everywhere, even those who seem to have it all together, daily deal with such negative narratives playing in seemingly endless loops in their minds. These negative voices and thoughts can become overwhelming and all-consuming. It doesn't take long before one begins to believe the voices they hear and the images the see staring back at them. It is easy to fall victim to believing their message.

A necessary step in providing a new narrative is acknowledging the fact that the ne…

The Parable of the Climber

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“Get me out of here!” The beginner shouted.“Get me out of here!”
“Calm down!” the guide replied.
“Calm down?!Did you hear that?Calm down he said,” the rock climber announced to an imaginary audience.“Calm down?I am going to die!I am stuck on this mountain and cannot move.There is no way out but to climb, and I can’t do this!” The novice exclaimed.“So, what on earth do you mean, ‘Calm down?’!Can’t you see that this is it?!Can’t you see that it is all over?!I can’t do this!Can’t you see?Calm Down.Yeah, right!”
The leader replied, “Do you want to make it?If so, then you must calm down.If you do not, you will never make it out of here with me.”
“Then just leave me here to suffer on my own,” cried the mountaineer.“I can’t do this.I can’t go any further.I just can’t do this.Do you hear me?I...can’t...do...this,” he said choking back his tears.
After a long silence, the guide calmly said, “You are right.YOU can’t do this!YOU can’t make it out of here!”
Looking up, the climber said, “What?!Oh, than…

The Parable of the Climber

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“Get me out of here!” The beginner shouted.“Get me out of here!”
“Calm down!” the guide replied.
“Calm down?!Did you hear that?Calm down he said,” the rock climber announced to an imaginary audience.“Calm down?I am going to die!I am stuck on this mountain and cannot move.There is no way out but to climb, and I can’t do this!” The novice exclaimed.“So, what on earth do you mean, ‘Calm down?’!Can’t you see that this is it?!Can’t you see that it is all over?!I can’t do this!Can’t you see?Calm Down.Yeah, right!”
The leader replied, “Do you want to make it?If so, then you must calm down.If you do not, you will never make it out of here with me.”
“Then just leave me here to suffer on my own,” cried the mountaineer.“I can’t do this.I can’t go any further.I just can’t do this.Do you hear me?I...can’t...do...this,” he said choking back his tears.
After a long silence, the guide calmly said, “You are right.YOU can’t do this!YOU can’t make it out of here!”
Looking up, the climber said, “What?!Oh, than…

New Narrative - The Fight Against Bullying

It is no secret.  Bullying is a huge problem.  It seems as though there is a new story about a tragic end to bullying every other week. Something must be done to end this cycle. I am convinced that we all can play a part. We will never be able to make bullying stop completely - it grows from the bully's insecurities and struggles. However, we can empower young people to say no to the lies and fables the bullies perpetuate. I believe that this can begin with speaking a "new narrative" into the lives of the young people with whom we interact.

A narrative is a story, a tale, a recollection or a recounting - whether true or fictitious. Many young people hear or experience only negative narratives about their lives. They hear others say or behave in such a way that suggests that they are a waste of time, space and oxygen.

It is time to speak a new narrative of acceptance, love and challenge into the lives of young people everywhere and to live in such a way that our actions ma…

Discipleship - Fall Retreat - November 5-6

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We had an amazing fall retreat the weekend of November 5-6.  The weather couldn't have been better and the students were outstanding.

We spent the weekend around the theme of discipleship.  Psalm 1 and a wide variety of other texts were our focus.

On Saturday night we defined discipleship. On Sunday morning, we discussed what discipleship looks like in the lives of those we consider to be people of faith. On Sunday afternoon, we discovered how we might plant the seeds of discipleship in our world and in the lives of those around us.

Throughout the retreat we constructed three "discipleship trees." We added leaves that represented the names and lives of those whom we consider to be disciples. We then added seeds to represent the seeds of discipleship that we hope to plant.

Ask your student who they see as examples of discipleship in their lives and why they consider these people to be disciples. Share your own examples of discipleship from your life.

Then share with one anot…

Turn and Live

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Ezekiel 18:1-4 and Ezekiel 18:25-32 You come in the house and there to greet you in the middle of the living room is your only child.Right next to her tennis-shoed feet is the antique lamp that once had a place of prominence in her great grandma’s living room and now is found on the floor shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.After quickly scanning for any evidence of blood or bodily harm you gather yourself and ask what appears to be the most logical question. “Honey,” you say in your forced tender grown-up parent voice, “what happened in here?” With the biggest, saddest eyes ever seen your precious only child says with all the sincerity she can muster, “I…I don’t know.” Reminding yourself to be calm while you feel your blood pressure continue to rise you say, “Well sweetie, how did the antique lamp break?” After a moment of painful and pitiful silence and a couple of false starts, she finally says, “B…B….Baxter Bunny broke the lamp when I left the room.” And there it is.Your precious, app…

Turn and Live

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Ezekiel 18:1-4 and Ezekiel 18:25-32 You come in the house and there to greet you in the middle of the living room is your only child.Right next to her tennis-shoed feet is the antique lamp that once had a place of prominence in her great grandma’s living room and now is found on the floor shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.After quickly scanning for any evidence of blood or bodily harm you gather yourself and ask what appears to be the most logical question. “Honey,” you say in your forced tender grown-up parent voice, “what happened in here?” With the biggest, saddest eyes ever seen your precious only child says with all the sincerity she can muster, “I…I don’t know.” Reminding yourself to be calm while you feel your blood pressure continue to rise you say, “Well sweetie, how did the antique lamp break?” After a moment of painful and pitiful silence and a couple of false starts, she finally says, “B…B….Baxter Bunny broke the lamp when I left the room.” And there it is.Your precious, app…

All Saints Day

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When Allison was just 5 years-old, she asked me an incredibly poignant question about heaven. 


From the backseat of the car I heard, “Who will I see there?”






Without much forethought, I responded with the names of those who have gone before us.  Those who walked this path of faith and who, through both word and deed, left trail markers along the way to point those that follow toward the face of God. 
Then I heard these words tumble out of my mouth, “Then there will be all of these people who you have never met who love you and cannot wait to meet you.” 
She said, “There will?  What will they do?”
“I don’t know.” I said, “But I am sure that they will be excited to see you.”
I am not really sure what happened during the rest of our drive home.  I was distracted by the image of those who have gone before me who I do not know.  Those who love me and cannot wait to meet me.  Those who are cheering for me as I run the race of life.  This image has come back into my mind quite often since that da…

All Saints Day

Image
When Allison was just 5 years-old, she asked me an incredibly poignant question about heaven. 

From the backseat of the car I heard, “Who will I see there?”

Without much forethought, I responded with the names of those who have gone before us.  Those who walked this path of faith and who, through both word and deed, left trail markers along the way to point those that follow toward the face of God. 
Then I heard these words tumble out of my mouth, “Then there will be all of these people who you have never met who love you and cannot wait to meet you.” 
She said, “There will?  What will they do?”
“I don’t know.” I said, “But I am sure that they will be excited to see you.”
I am not really sure what happened during the rest of our drive home.  I was distracted by the image of those who have gone before me who I do not know.  Those who love me and cannot wait to meet me.  Those who are cheering for me as I run the race of life.  This image has come back into my mind quite often since that da…