Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Ps 73
Pretty interesting sermon from CRCC. Thanks for the link Rudy. I like most of what Brian says, its pretty good. But I think the most important thing he said was to watch the way you read Psalm 73 versus the way Christians in other countries would read it. Yeah, thats big.
Child Witches
This article here
Link from Jordon.
So sad. We sit here and can't imagine how people would think that.... whereas people that don't live in the Western hemisphere deal with spirits, witchcraft, curses and magic constantly. The excluded middle....
The Passion in Kuwait
Read this.
"In two short hours, more Qataris heard the gospel than I have been able to reach in nearly five years of living here."
In Kuwait, there are 33 people groups, with 20 listed as unreached. So an argument about The Passion being not being a great outreach opportunity... well in this specific case, I disagree.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

A story as told to Dennis Rainey
From the book Parenting Today's Adolescent
My son has two daughters one who is five and one his is two. For several years, he's taken the oldest girl out for a 'date' time but it wasn't until recently that he'd asked the two year old out.
On their first date, he took her to breakfast at a fast food restaurant. They'd just gotten their pancakes when he decided it would be a good time to tell her how much he loved and appreciated her.
Jenny, he said, I want you to know how much I love you and how special you are to Mom and me. We prayed for you for years, and now that you're here and growing up to be such a wonderful girl, we couldn't be more proud of you.
Once he said all this, he stopped talking and reached over for his fork to begin eating but he never got the fork into his mouth.
Jenny reached out and laid her little hand on her fathers. His eyes went to hers and in a soft, pleading voice she said, "Longer, Daddy, longer."
He put his fork down and told her even more reasons why he and her mother loved her. "You're very kind, nice to your sister, full of energy"
Then, he again reached for his fork only to hear the same words again. A second time, and a third, and a fourth time.. and each time he heard the words, "Longer, Daddy, longer"
That father never did get much to eat that morning, but his daughter feasted on words every child longs to hear.
Told by John Trent
Wow. Does that story bring tears to your eyes? It did to me the first time I read it. But not just because I have two little girls, who hold my heart in their hands. Mostly because of that. But also, because I realize that we have students that we see every weekend that would say the same thing to an adult that would care for them. They would say the same thing to an adult that would spend time with them, say hello to them, go see a game or a play they were in, call them out of the blue just to say hi, chat online with them for a few minutes. To a person that cares for them, "Longer....longer."
Great youth group games!
Intriguing article about youth group games. I have to admit, some of these are pretty funny, but the article brings about some pretty good points. I might think they are funny, but I do realize that many of them are totally pointless. I have a bit of pride is saying that in 4 years that I ran a small group, as well as running grade wide get togethers, we never did anything like this. In fact, I can say without reservation that we did programming that was based on principles only and we never did things just to do them, or just because someone else did them. We always had a very specific set of goals and objectives. I think that's pretty important in youth ministry and I think kids start to really respect your ideas and foresight when they realize that EVERYTHING you do has a significant purpose to teach, model, disciple. Now before you think that I think that I really know what I'm doing, there was that time that we accidentally left a kid at someone's house after leaving to go play Manhunt. And the time a student smoked pot while having a sleepover at his house. And the time all the guys got upset after doing a GPS scavenger hunt that took 4 hours instead of 2. And the time.... well, you get the picture.
More Google
Someone found this page by searching on :
'dxm satan'

Interesting, because I think DXM really is a tool of the devil.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

The big 20
I just realized it - today, I have been a Christian for 20 years. That's pretty cool.
Almost 4/4 for 2004
Some of you readers have been following my plan and implementation for summer missions for this summer. The plan was to have 4 different trips from GCC, between middle-high school, all of them are looking into the future, to set up a progression for summer missions, and trying to be strategic.
Up until today, I really only had 3 out of the 4 staffed and ready. But this morning, two people, who have worked closely before, both said they were interested in leading this trip and both were really interested in working with each other. Hmm. Very cool. So I meet with them on Wed evening to lay it all out. Pray for ML and J. They are a great team, and I trust them as mission trip leaders.

Saturday, March 27, 2004

So I bought this really cool bubble machine tonight, from BJs (its a warehouse club store). It was $10 and it must spit out 20 bubbles a second. Really. It's rad. Why the fascination with bubbles? Well, I really bought it because it was cool, and my kids love bubbles. But a second reason is for children's ministry. You want to attract kids to what you are doing? Whip out some bubbles. Want to see kids have a great time for no good reason? Bubbles. Want to do something cheap, when its hot outside, and don't have any good ideas? Bubbles. Really. It might sound kind of dumb. But that's ok. So I'm going to take this bubble machine everywhere I go this summer on ministry. In fact, I just might keep it in my SUV at all times.
My fondest memory of bubbles was when I went on a 4 week missions trip to the Dominican Republic. I remember it like it was yesterday. I travelled with a team of 6, I was the primary leader, with a woman co-leader Suzie, and we were in charge of 4 students. The goal was to work with a missionary from our home church who was with a missions agency working in a medium sized city in the center of the DR. He was involved with kids clubs, street ministry and an orphanage run by Christians. It turned out to be a pretty interesting experience - lots of downtime, he was only there every once in a while, I got really really sick about half way thru the trip. Anyway, probably the first few minutes we got to our town, unloaded our stuff, kids came pouring out from everywhere. Literally. There must have been 30 school aged children all with huge smiles, beaming at their new visitors. And we got bubbles out. And it was like we had just pulled out heaven from our baggage. Really.
Missions Prep 1
Great time last night doing the first prep meeting for the summer. A good 25 kids there, I just watched them during the worship set. Just amazing to see and hear them worship so whole heartedly. Went over some really good stuff missions wise - unreached people, state of missions today, Gen 12, etc. The feedback I got was that a lot of them hadn't heard stuff like that ever before. My goal accomplished. Had some good team times too and we got them a great start to writing support letters - the notion of finding partners to their missions trip. I feel a great sense of pride at a job well done. Not only me, but having God lead in such a way, and, more importantly, that God would grab these hearts to be passionate to bring His glory to the nations for the rest of their lives.
YP Nation blogroll
Just fixed the YP Nation blogroll. It's been a while since it was working, wow there are lots of people on there now. Cool.

Friday, March 26, 2004

Adopt a Village
Pretty good article about Rick Warren here, coverage from Time. That's pretty cool. Whether or not you like Rick Warren (I for one like him), he's done a lot for the evangelical church here in the US. Catch the end of the article, about how he would like each one of his 2000 small groups to adopt a village.
"He wants each of Saddleback's 2,000 small groups to adopt a village in a developing country, make mission trips there and send educational and medical supplies, along with spiritual and financial support, to its residents."
Now THAT is some influence. What would that look like if each one of those small groups caught the vision for unreached people groups and being accountable and responsible for indigenous church planting movements in each people group? Maybe I should send him a letter....
In Your FACE
If you have followed my postings for the past few weeks, you know it's been a tough 6 - 8 weeks in general, mostly due to my day job and the pressure of trying to get things started for summer missions. Last weekend, we had another big work weekend and things ran pretty flawlessly. It was a very visible piece of work and my team came through. It was pretty awesome, I was, and still am, elated about it. Since then, I have also gotten the 2nd out of 4 planned mission trips off the ground, with a parents meeting, paperwork started, etc. And we got a final confirmation on dates for the other trip that was already off and running. Tonight is our first out of five mission prep meetings with all the students going out this summer. I'm way excited, we will probably have about 20 there tonight and I've been working hard all week getting packets together for them that includes a study, sample support letters, printed labels for returning support to the church, and response cards for people to write back their level of support. Wow.
So in other words, about the level of spiritual warfare that has been going on, I say to Satan, in your FACE! The feelings of attack, the physical toll of working two long weekends back to back, the stress between our family in the midst of a bad review at work, the nagging doubt that maybe I could not do it all, that I had taken on too much responsibility between work, missions stuff, family, etc. All of these feelings are gone... substituted with this emotional high based on the knowledge that God and I can do this. To you youthworkers reading this, You are capable.
“It is the image of God reflected in you that so enrages hell, it is this at which demons hurl their mightiest weapons.” – William Gurnall

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Teen Suicide
Steve, a YP from around where I grew up, writes about how to talk to a suicidal friend here. Good advice. He also talks about two students who committed suicide and his own experience with his brother committing suicide here. Steve, thanks for sharing some pretty personal stuff. I'm sure that your words and experience will help some students pretty significantly both now and way in the future.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Middle school job
Here is a job opening for a middle school pastor. I can vouch for this church, it's money. And the guy that built the youth ministry there is an old friend of ours, he went to high school with D. And its a church that is fully engaged in Biblical missions.
Revamped US Center for World Missions web page. Nicely done. I like it, nice and crisp. Check out the page on their Vision. Hey, I could get into some of that!
DC bloggers
Pretty cool idea - a visual map of bloggers around the DC metro. It is a cool visual thing, kind of like all the stuff that is happening missions wise with visualizing where we are going and that kind of thing. The Internet, what a tool!

Monday, March 22, 2004

A fridge that doesn't use electricity
Check it out. Very cool. When we think of indigenous people making transformations in their culture, this fits, doesn't it? Reminds me of the talk about perishable versus nonperishable in 1 Peter 1:
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Who is Normal Anyway?
I had wanted to write about this about three weeks ago. An incident happened on the CpR retreat that was pretty significant. The nurse who came for the weekend rode up and back with me, since I came a little late. On the way home, she was telling me how she had gotten a chance to sit in on the Sat night session. During the session, there was a drama about suicide. And while the nurse, J, was there, a female student was watching the drama and just got freaked out and had to run out of the room... Since no other adults were following her out, J ran out to see if she was okay. The girl was talking about how she hadn't thought about suicide in so long and that this drama just really got her. And she couldn't stop thinking about it again. At one point, the girl said, "I'm just not normal."
J had the presence of mind to say to her, "You ARE normal. Everyone has something to deal with." Is that great or what? Because that is so much of what students are dealing with, whether its contemplating suicide, or thinking about whether their shoes are cool or not. Of course, it could very well be all of us who are trying to decide whether we are normal or not, us adults just hide it a little better. But in either case, I loved it the fact that a visitor to our ministry could shepherd a kid like that. And I think those words are so significant. Those are the words that some of our students are dying to hear.
Shaping Eternity Infobytes
These are some very well done Flash 'infobytes' that talk about the current state of Christian missions, unreached people groups, etc. I first saw one of them during the lecture of the first Perspectives class and they really are good. I will be using a few of them this coming week talking about:
- Organizing the world between Christ followers, nominal Christians and the unreached
- Tribal, Hindu, Unreligious, Muslim, Buddhist (notice that when you put these world religion breakdowns together in this order, it makes the word 'thumb'. Cool eh? Not my idea - I got it from one of the Infobytes)
- What is a people group?
- What is the 10/40 window?
- The Biblical Basis for missions
We'll see how it goes. I've also got to line up a worship leader, snacks and some follow up with their individual mission teams.

From YPNation's request for conversation:

X. Waking the Dead
Helped me understand and realize how spiritual warfare is all around us and how we are an integral part of God's plan.
X. Please Understand Me
Great resource for building teams, both mission teams and leader teams.
X. Short Term Missions Workbook
Excellent studies to work through with mission teams.
X. Parenting Today's Adolscent
The Rainey's talk about the most common traps of adolescence and, almost more importantly, pre-adolescence.
X. Transforming Leadership
Jesus as the model of leadership
X. Decision Making and the Will of God
What is God's will? Better yet, let's understand a clear strategy for making decisions.
X. Youth Builder
Good overall youth ministry resource.
X. Perspectives Reader
The text from the Perspectives class. Speaks for itself.
X. Operation World
Yeah buddy.
X. Intensive Care
Subtitle "Helping Teenagers in Crisis"

Hmm.. Interesting list, because I just realized that I don't really have a lot of books about youth ministry specifically. I guess in thinking about it, I've really been modeled for ministry by mentors versus reading youth ministry books. That's probably not a big suprise to anyone reading this, if you have been involved in ministry, you have probably learned by working closely side by side with someone, seen their passion, seen what motivates them, seen how they connect with students. Anyway, enjoy the list for what its worth.
Also note that there I didn't number them.
I love NY
Great lunch today with parents and students of the SPACE crew to talk about NYC. Very good feedback, everyone seems excited. I'm psyched. First missions prep meeting is coming this Friday, should be lots and lots of fun.
Successful night at work
Work went extremely well tonight, a big plus. Thanks for praying that the Enemy would stay away. Your Kingdom come.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Full weekend
Full weekend this weekend.
All day with the girlies.
Ballet practice this morning.
Big DBA night of work tonight - pray that the Evil one stays away.
Missions info meeting for the SPACE crew over lunch tomorrow. Very exciting.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Well I got my first email from someone reading this blog. Fun! It was Bob, who just wanted to write me a little email to encourage me and to share his excitement about 5 students that are really interested in missions. Thanks Bob, it definitely was an encouragement!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Find me?

Someone was googling me and I think they found me here. Unless there is another Tony Sheng they are looking for...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I Peter 2
20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.
21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22"He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth."
23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

He entrusted himself to him who judges justly, even in the midst of toil and trouble. Quite an example, that Jesus guy. And in the midst of guilty people condeming the most innocent, he entrusted himself to a higher purpose and calling. It's so good when Scripture comes alive in the midst of personal circumstances, isn't it? How often we don't believe that the Bible is really a magical book.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

St Patrick
In honor of St. Patrick's day, this Wednesday, here is some truth about St. Patrick.
Notice that:
- he was English. DOH
- he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland, and that is when his faith became real.
- he had a burning desire and passion for the Irish.
- consecrated no fewer than 350 bishops (I take that to mean that he discipled them or something like that...)

I also heard that legend has it that he personally baptized about 10,000 people...
Making the Grade
Another very tough week at work this past week. I didn't think it could get worse than what I had mentioned a few weeks ago. But it did, in the form of a performance review about 2003. Wow. Apparently, I'm not really making the grade, although people think I can. It's interesting. I've always rated above the 'just meeting' standards, except for 2003, in which I felt like me and my team worked double. In fact, in 2003, I personally worked over 50% of the weekends. Not all weekend, but in some fashion or another. But let's not dwell on that. Evidently, it's not only a quantity issue, but a quality issue. My team's deliverables need a little more diligence.
The first response I had was, of course, I could certainly due without this. On a deeper level, I asked myself if I could really do this job? Eventually, I came to the conclusion that the Great Accuser, of course, wants you to think that. And he will use any and all means necessary for you to think that you cannot do it.
This all in the midst of a high school retreat, plans to see The Passion with C&B, and getting 4 summer mission trips off the ground.
It's been a rough week around here. And a few months ago, after some very successful SPACE launches, when lots of people got excited about what we were doing, when I felt like we were really rolling, I asked myself if it was going to always be this easy. Well, apparently not. But I should have never expected it would be easy. Good, worthwhile, a sacrifice, but never easy.
After a few days of dragging, I'm expectant again. Lord, bring your glory!

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Praying for Missionaries
Bob just posted some great suggestions here. It's nice to read about missions on someone besides just me. Sometimes I feel as if I'm the only one concerned with mobilizing students for missions. I mean, that would be okay too, but it's nice to see someone else write about it too.
He's right. It's way too easy for us to give money to missions and then forget about it. Expanding on that, I think we in the American church think that as long as we are giving money to it, it is ok. Meaning that anything related to 'missions' must be a good thing. When in fact, that is untrue. Missions, just like anything else in ministry, needs to have some kind of accountability associated with it. Otherwise, we might end up spending 80% of our resources where it isn't needed, and only 20% on what is really strategic. Oh wait - that is what we are doing...

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Passion with CW
Wow, we just came back from seeing The Passion, with my friend CW, who I have written about before, and his wife. Intense. Here are a few things that struck me about the movie:
- Malchus, the soldier who got his ear cut off, and whom Jesus healed. What a reaction he had to Jesus. No more being a soldier for him.
- The way Jesus looks at people.
- The scene when Mary runs to pick him up after he falls down with the cross, one of the many times, and the flashback to when he was just a little boy. Heart wrenching.
- Simon from Cyrene, who helps him carry the cross all that way. Did you notice the way he really helped, like there was something significant about it.
- The details of all the blood dripping down the crosses. I had never visualized it like that before. But it sure must have been bloody.
- Two Roman soldiers who stuck around at the end to help get Jesus' body down.
Needless to say, I was impacted. I won't ever think of the Crucifixion the same way. The thought that kept coming in to my head was that He did all this for me.
We didn't really get a chance to talk to C and B about it, but I'm going to make plans to meet up with him again to talk some more. Interestingly enough, our babysitter IM'd me at around noon saying she had come home sick from school and couldn't baby sit for us. Was this a significant night for the Kingdom? Are we still thinking that these things happen by mere coincidence? Was my crappy review at work this week unrelated to any kind of accusations the Enemy is making against me and what God can do through me? Let me tell you, Satan is pissed at me. At us - for being youthworkers that are willing to invest time and energy into helping students become the salt of the earth and the light of the world. And I say, bring it on.

James 1:2-4; Heb. 10:38-39; Rom. 8:37; 2 Cor. 12:9-10; Gen 50:20; Rom 5:3-5

I didn't come lookin' for trouble
And I don't want to fight needlessly
But I'm not gonna hide in a bubble
If trouble comes for me
I can feel my heart beating faster
I can tell something's coming down
But if it's gonna make me grow stronger then...

Bring it on
Let the lightning flash
Let the thunder roll
Let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let the trouble come
Let the hard rain fall
Let it make me strong
Bring it on

Now, maybe you're thinkin' I'm crazy
And maybe I need to explain some things
'Cause I know I've got an enemy waiting
Who wants to bring me pain
But what he never seems to remember
What he means for even God works for good
So I will not retreat or surrender

Now, I don't want to sound like some hero
'Cause it's God alone that my hope is in
But I'm not gonna run from the very things
That would drive me closer to Him
So bring it on

Bring it on
Let the lightning flash
Let the thunder roll
Let the storm winds blow
Bring it on
Let the trouble come
Let the hard rain fall
Let it make me strong
Bring it on
- Steven Curtis Chapman

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Revamped Joshua Project
Spent some time tonight at the revamped Joshua Project website. Very cool. The sheer amount of information there is incredible. Quick quiz - how maby people groups are in Haiti? And how many of them are unreached? And how many of you out there have sent at least one student mission trip there? And tell me again why?

PS - There are 7 people groups, none of them are considered unreached. Haiti might be a great place to take students, for some sort of relief and development work, teaching English, etc. But I wouldn't call it strategic in light of world missions.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Wow, it was a pretty great time. KC and I took 5 8th graders to help with workcrew and just serve the high schoolers. It was weird being there but not having the usual responsibility of a small group, cabin, group time, etc. But it was fun nontheless. Workcrew was loads of work, we had to serve, bus tables, clean tables and then setup for the next meal. If you've ever worked workcrew at a Young Life camp, you know how anal they are about place settings, table layout, etc. Wow, really anal. But I didn't mind. I thought it kind of strange, but you know, it was ok.
Our eight graders were awesome. They never once complained, and they got along with each other so well. Very cool. You can see some pictures of them here.
A few things that I thought could have been improved:
1 - They ran those kids out of the dining hall as soon as they could. at past retreats, I remember just hanging out talking with students after the meal was over. That bothered me.
2 - Working on workcrew gave me a new sense about how much food they waste. They really should set up some kind of distribution to the community for all this left over food they just throw away. Granted, I'm not sure how practical that is, since they are pretty far in the sticks. But maybe neighbors?

I did get a chance to talk to a few kids in depth. KD and KS both said they were interested in either full time ministry or missions so I gave them the usual missions blurb:
- what is a people group and how the Bible means that when it says 'nations'
- definition of unreached, and an unreached people group
- Matt 24:14
- 80% of American missions is going towards reached people groups
- there are over 800 churches in the US for every one unreached people group
I hope I don't sound like a broken record. But one of the kids said that she was trying to find out more info about missions and no one could tell her any real information. And that's what I've said for a while, we aren't telling students this kind of stuff and it contributes to the gap the American Church is not meeting with regard to missions, especially for engaging students.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Update - Spiritual Attack and Retreat
An update that ties two previous entries together...
I'm getting ready to leave for our spring retreat. Last minute, I found out about a kid whose parents would have to drive him up later, so I opted to stay and take him with me and the weekend nurse, instead of his dad driving all that way to just turn around when he gets there. I think it's better, and it's not a big deal. And, this kids parents have done a lot for GCC, they are mega-involved. And he's a fun kid.
On another warfare note - one of the worship leaders for this weekend, my padwan K, got sick this morning. Throwing up all morning. Hmm. On another note, one of the workcrew guys, who is K's brother in law actually, can't come either. His wife, who is actually K's sister (funny coincidence huh) got sick also. They have a little baby, so R can't come. Try to convince me again that this weekend will not be significant in the lives of at least one high schooler, that the Enemy doesn't really care that there are 4 Gospel presentations planned, that God isn't interested in being glorified by anyone else.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Padwan to Kstan
K, one of the guys from Dteam03, is getting ready to go to Kazakstan this summer. I got a reference form to fill out for him a few days ago. Some good questions on it, thought I would share them. It's always fun to fill these out for students, especially when they are so excited about serving in a specific way. I can only hope that in the next few years, the SPACE crew gives me lots of these to fill out...

1. how well do you know the applicant? In what context? IN what capacity have you related with the applicant?
2. having read the attached application what additional comments or perspectives would be helpful in better understanding the applicant?
3. in your estimation, what experiences would best serve this individual in a 4-8 week international missions project?
4. give a brief description of this person?s ministry experience and gifts, especially in the areas of personal evangelism and establishing.
5. can you easily visualize this person doing relational evangelism: initiating friendships, relating comfortably, and sharing his/her life and faith naturally?
6. what would you like to see God accomplish in this person?s life while they are involved in this summer missions project?
Wheaton Bible
I've often heard great things missions-wise about this Wheaton as well, and heard a guy who used to be their missions pastor speak. He was seriously the real deal. This talks about their short term mission trips. I like:
- each trip is designed to work and serve along a Wheaton missionary, at their invitation.
(So on the adult side, you've got to have a pretty large base to start with)
- both general and specialty trips.
- applications and interviews required, and required preparation sessions.
Good stuff.
Mature Student Missions
I've heard Calvary Church, outside of Lancaster PA, has a pretty mature student missions program. Check it out here.
I like:
- pre trip meetings are mandatory
- the idea of some progression to their trips
- the integration of college age students too for the upper experience trips
It's pretty cool.
I don't see any reason why we couldn't do something like this at GCC. In fact, I think this summer will be a great start. If I could only get that one special leader...
Pioneers - Core Values
I got the annual report for Pioneers today in the mail. A few things got my attention. First, was their list of core values:
-passion for God
-unreached peoples
-church planting movements
-the local church
-team centered
-innovation and flexibility
-ethos of grace
-participatory servant leadership
WOW - does this make the hair on your neck stand up? It does to me, but I guess that's just my thing...
The other thing they said in the report was that for the past 3 years, they have sent one missionary to the field every week. Man, that is intense.
I'm also glad to report that we have a family that we support through Pioneers, and they are all about these values. The are money.
Soul Survivor - London
I don't know too much about this, except that it seems like it's pretty cool. Sounds like a huge event to coordinate a whole mess of young people doing community service to impact a whole city for Christ. Wow. Sounds like fun!!

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

One year ago today was when my father in law passed away. I used to call him "The Padre." It really overshadowed everything that happened in 2003. D would say that in 2003, we saw all the fruit of our labor from the Dteam, since it was the year those guys graduated from high school. I would agree, although, still, when I think of 2003, it was the year that he died. We had a great year in terms of family, work, the starting of SPACE and other things, but I think I will always associated 2003 with The Padre. It's good to know, to really know without a doubt, that he is in Heaven right now, worshipping with Jesus like nothing else.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Parenting Today's Adolescents - notes 2
Zones of adolescence
The Innocence Zone – Age ten through twelve
During this zone, parents need to seize the opportunity to do two things: First, mom and dad must secure the relationship with the child. Second, they need to aggressively begin to shape the childÂ’s convictions before adolescence hits in full force.
DonÂ’t make the mistake of many parents who severely underestimate the amount of convictions that can be transferred to a child in this zone.
The Danger Zone – Age thirteen through sixteen
We believe this zone to be the most dangerous phase of your child’s life. The junior high and early high school years are when most families lose a son or daughter, although the actual loss of the child may not become evident until later.
Many parents assume, incorrectly, that the children their sons and daughters have relationships with at church, school, and in the neighborhood have similar values to their own.
This is a very very dangerous assumption.
In the danger zone, however, the family values learned and lived out behind closed doors that may have seemed so similar are now exposed for what they really are – often a murky, bland adaptation of the world’s values or a startling absence of values altogether.
With the onset of the teenage years, when children are experience greater freedom, the peers who once were a good influence may now be banding together to test the limits of their parents.
The wise parent recognizes this danger zone and is careful to not give a child too much freedom too soon. Just because a child is beginning to look and act like an adult by making some 'right choices’ does not mean he is really ready for adult responsibilities and corresponding freedoms.
The Release Zone – Age seventeen to nineteen
Releasing a child does not mean you stop being the protector, provider and parent.

I've been getting a new perspective about the middle school/early high school years since starting to read this book recently. The Raineys make the point that those are some seriously important years, in terms of giving kids stability, convictions, teaching the truth. It makes me think of my experience with students, which is usually "middle schoolers are so hyper" or "freshmen small groups are so hard to corral", or the idea that you see the fruit of your labors when your students are juniors or seniors. Which all may be very true.
But it's got me thinking, to have kids develop a passion for missions, for them to see the world as God sees them, to have a drive to have people worship God, according to the Raineys, these kind of convictions and passions get started early, like ages 10-12. Wow. In theory, my SPACE crew is already gone... Ha.
I also think, in terms of youth ministry being a complement to the family, this really puts us in the mix for helping students. The idea that we are to assist the parents in 'securing the relationship' asaggressivelyggresively shaping convictions.'
Our spring High school retreat is this weekend to Rockbridge. It's always a blast, loads of fun. Spring is our outreach retreat, where kids are encouraged to bring their friends. Our speaker is TG, who used to be on staff with Young Life in Howard County. He is going to do 4 Gospel presentations through the whole weekend.
I'm going as kind of a SPACE mini-launch, and KC and I are taking 5 8th graders to work on the kitchen/workcrew. It will be a great time, I'm looking forward to building some good relationships with these 8th graders. Of course, I'm going to try and convey the sense of vision for SPACE to them as well.
Student Conference
I wish I could go to this, but found out about it way too late. Looks really good, like it's the perfect thing for what I believe God is calling me to. If you go, take some good notes for me.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Next book
I'm reading Parenting Today's Adolescents. It's good, the Raineys, gotta love them. It's weird, I came home yesterday and my 6 year old was talking on the phone, like a teenager. Chilling. And to think that those years will be here before we know it.
I'll be posting some notes from the book here and there.

"Can you name a more demanding career than being a godly mom or dad? Air traffic controller? That’s a nap in the park compared to a mom landing and dispatching four teenagers from an after-school holding pattern. Brain surgeon? Would you rather poke around in a sedated skull in a fully staffed operating room or try by yourself to soothe and heal the tangled feelings and thoughts of a teenage girl who wasn’t invited to the prom or who failed to make the drill team?
On top of all the challenges of parenting, there’s something far more sinister taking place. We’re in a spiritual war and are operating like guerrillas behind enemy lines. The paths we walk, and the trails our children must walk, are dangerous – littered with traps set by a spiritual enemy that you can’t see, an enemy who wants to destroy the souls of children before they become adults."
"Nothing can compare to the joy of seeing a child grow up to walk in the truth – “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth” 3 John 4. Nothing is as exhilarating as watching our children bravely walk through traps and snares, advancing the banner of Jesus Christ in their generation."

Mark 2
My notes from Pastor Mark's message on Sunday. You can listen to the rm here.

Think about your most embarassing moment.
Unhappy activity
Happens in the limelight, center of attention

Mark 2:1-12
The paralytic
Most embarrassing moment
With jesus
Right after the healing of the leper
Everyone knows jesus
Curious people
Religious leaders – out to get him

Friends open a 4x8 opening in the roof
Mud thatch roof, lots of dust and stuff
Roof was repaired probably once a year
Friend lying on a 3x6 pallet

Teachable moment – the whole crowd just watches this pallet come down
What was it like for the paralytic
Can you imagine what he was looking at as he was lowered?

v.5 – whose faith?
‘Son’ a term of endearment for a total stranger, a person Jesus has never met before

The friends want him healed – they don’t care about him being forgiven, necessarily.
The religious leaders are upset. This doesn’t fit their model of forgiveness, because if Jesus can forgive sins, then He really is God.
When Jesus encounters people, He always talks about something they are thinking but don't want to say.

Immediately Jesus
v. 9
which is easier to say?
To be forgiven or to be healed
To be forgiven is easier because there is no sure fire way to prove it really happened.

** From Christ’s point of view, as an all powerful God, the easier thing to say was ‘to be healed.’ For to say ‘you are forgiven’ would require a perfect person to pay the ultimate price in order for one to be totally and truly forgiven.