Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tonight at Contagious

Tonight started off with our "pre-game meeting" with our family group leaders.  The leaders now have a binder with their students' info sheets which gives the leaders contact info, family info and also a glimpse at the student's story of how they have trusted Jesus as Savior.  I reminded our leaders that they are their family groups youth minister, their shepherd.  This week I'll dig up some good articles the emphasize this approach and e-mail them to the team.  I think we will ruminate on this for a while.

Students were spread all out in the big lobby hanging out.  I saw youth leaders investing in the lives of students by building relationships.  Some were playing Apples to Apples, Boggle, Ping Pong and Farkle.  I was up on the balcony chilling on the sofa with some of the high school students and then I joined in a game of Farkle.  The snack line up: nachos, chips, oreos.

Tonight we talked about our mission, to share the good news of Christ.  Students were encouraged to share:
1.  With their life
2.  With an invitation 
3.  With their story
We also gave the students time to share their story with each other in their family groups. Hopefully giving them an opportunity to build up some courage to share their faith.

I hear that some of the high school students went and hung out at McD's after youth group tonight.  I think that's cool.  The more relationships they build in the church the more likely they are to stick around.  




Today is Sunday

All across this great land of ours it is Sunday.  This means thousands of families will be getting up and getting dressed and heading to their church.  Some will go to truly worship and some will go out of a need to fill their religious duty for the week for various reasons.

In beds, all across this great land of ours, there are teenagers who don't want to get out of bed and go to church with the family.  Stayed up too late, friends won't be there, just want to sleep in, want the house to themselves while the rest of the family is gone for various reasons.

In homes, all across this great land of ours, there will be parents who throw their hands up in surrender to their teen's demand to stay in bed.  Tired of the fight, don't want to force "religion" on their teen, "don't want to drive their teen away", just don't feel like dealing with it for various reasons.

Today, all acros this great land of ours, there will be senior pastors who wonder to themselves, "Where are the teenagers today?".  The senior pastors will question the youth pastors later this week in staff meeting, "how come you can have 50 kids on Wednesday night but we don't have 10 on Sunday morning?"  The youth pastors will feel  pressure, some will even lose their jobs.

Why don't they come to church?  Some parents have given up on parenting and shepherding their child's heart.   I think that the problem lies in the church service.  Most students aren't spiritually mature enough to get the "it's not about me" attitude, mostly because they aren't seeing this lived out by the adults in their lives and in their church.  Who is the church service geared towards?  In most churches the service is definitely not geared towards students.  Students don't listen to organ music on their iPods.  Many sermons aren't even designed to be applied by students.  Forty-five minutes is a long time to sit and listen to a "lecture".  

These are my thoughts on teens and Sunday church attendance.  What are yours?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Cry of the Orphan

I'm Thankful

I'm thankful to God for:
  • making it possible for me to know Him through faith in Jesus Christ
  • my beautiful, awesome wife
  • my incredibly cute son, my squooshy boy, a gift from God
  • my parents
  • my family, even my brothers, all of them
  • that we have Tricia and Gwyneth with us, you go girls!
  • my home, it's nice to have a roof and a warm house
  • my dog, she's a loyal friend and likes me no matter what
  • living in America
  • our men and women in uniform defending our freedom
  • my church family, Nags Head Church rocks!
  • the ministry God has placed me in
  • the pastors at NHC
  • the nursery team
  • the children's team
  • the youth team
  • Maui, Maui No Ka Oi
  • Outer Banks
  • friends, both new and old, by old I mean known them a long time, which makes them old
  • food and clean water (many people today won't have either)
  • only one class to go to get my graduate degree
  • ice cream, let's not forget ice cream, especially coconut macadamia nut
  • great Mexican food, especially rice and beans, can't eat one without the other
  • Hawaiian food, local grinds are some onolicious brah
  • the ocean
  • Did I mention my wife and son?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Grace of God

Often I’m blown away by the grace of God because he has given me what I do not deserve.  Then I stop and think about my life and I wonder how He can love me and see me as blameless.  I know I have sinned but God views me, Andy, His child, as blameless.  When God looks at me he doesn’t see my sin, He sees His Son and God knows that my sin debt has been paid. 

King David stated in Psalm 26 that he leads a blameless life.  Huh?  David committed adultery, murder and a few other sins I’m sure but he was a “man after God’s own heart”.  I think David grasped the grace and forgiveness of God.  David gives us some great things to teach our children in Psalm 26. 

  • Trust God without wavering (v 1)
  • God search my heart and my mind (v 2)
  • Walk always in God’s truth keeping His love in mind (v 3)
  • Be careful whom you hang out with (v 4, 5)
  • Give God praise and talk about the great things God has done (v 7)
  • Love the place where God dwells.  For us today as believers that would be our very lives. (v 8)
  • God has redeemed us and shown us Mercy (v 11)

 

 

Gobble Gobble!

That’s right, it’s about God.  Yet another holiday with God as the basis of the holiday, much like Christmas.  Watch TV during Thanksgiving and we will see lots of people dressed like pilgrims and Native Americans.  Watching the news this morning I saw that there are parents protesting their children’s school because of the making of the paper pilgrim hats and bonnets as well as headbands with feathers. 

Now I grew up my entire elementary school life, which is a year longer than most Americans because I failed K5, making the construction paper hats and headbands.  One year I even dressed in a complete native American costume.  Look at me, it didn’t distort me or cause me any permanent damage. . . OK maybe I’m not the best example.  But I do know that Thanksgiving isn't a negative towards our Native Americans.  The Native Americans played a huge roll in helping the pilgrims survive, a relationship that was great for 50 years.

I hear a lot of “What are you thankful for?”, “I’m thankful for ______.” on TV but I don’t hear “I’m thankful to God for ________.”  Again another holiday moving away from God and becoming consumer centered. 

This year let’s make sure our kids understand that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God.  The pilgrims recognized God, so should we:

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

From the most detailed description of the "First Thanksgiving" comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621.

Side Note:  I don’t ever remember being taught that Squanto, the native American who helped the pilgrims, already spoke English.  Taught English by other European settlers and trappers and also was sold into slavery, sent to live in Spain and then was freed by his master and allowed to return to America.  I learned this watching the Peanuts Thanksgiving special last night.  See, cartoons are a great source of education and knowledge.

 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"It's My Life!"

“It’s my life!” How many parents of teens have heard this phrase shouted in their home? Yes, I see that hand. How many of us have been guilty of saying that to our parents? Yes, I see our hands.

It is important to share with our kids that indeed it is not our life. We have been bought with a price. Jesus redeemed our lives when He went to the cross and died for our sins. Jesus paid the purchase price so who owns us? Right. This life I have is not my own, I belong to God.

How do we teach this to our kids?
Live it out ourselves. They must see in our lives that we recognize that our lives belong to God. Our hypocrisy as parents can cause great spiritual damage.
Discover together. Show them from God’s Word. Read with them. Note I didn’t say “pound them I the head with the Bible” or “preach” at them.
Recognize this lived out in the lives of others. Point your teen to someone who is living this fundamental of faith out in his or her life.
Discuss together God’s right to our lives. How would recognizing this change our decision making process?

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long
Psalm 25:4

Friday, November 21, 2008

Faith of a Child


Matthew 18:3  

3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Yesterday I got a phone call from my 4 year old son.  He asked me, "can we put up the kwismis twee?"  Of course being the man of steel I said, "No way, it's not Christmas Eve yet!"  Actually I said "yes".

I got home and immediately started bringing boxes up from downstairs.  After we ate supper we started to put up the tree and decorate it.  My son said, "If we put up the Christmas tree it will snow."  He was pretty sure of it.

Living on the OBX we rarely see snow, maybe a flurry or two.  One long time resident told me today he had never seen snow in November.  This morning I rolled out of bed and walked into the living room, looked out the window and it was dumping snow!  I ran and woke Mish up and told her it was snowing.  I then went in and scooped up the little man.  Brought him into the living room.  It brought my heart great joy to see him smile and say, "It's snowing!"  Then later he added, "God made it snow."

I must admit that often I don't have that kind of faith, the faith of a child.  My son reminded me about faith and I'm glad he did.  Sometimes we forget that God is a God of miracles.  Did God make it snow because a little 4 year old boy thought it would?  I don't know, I'm not God.  Did God make it snow to remind me about faith?  Quite possible.

I've heard people say that having faith in God is a blind faith.  They mean it in a negative way.  They are exactly right.  If it wasn't blind it wouldn't be faith.  Faith is trust in what you can't see.  I have faith in gravity.  I can't see gravity but I know it is there.  Same goes with my faith in God.

Do you have the faith of a little child?

video

Great Christmas Gift Idea



LIVE Bible
 LIVE isn't a book your teens will just read...they'll live it.That's because as teens dive in, they'll come face to face with hundreds of opportunities to do something about what they're reading. To respond. To grow. To roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. Sometimes they'll apply what they're learning alone. Other times they'll find someone to help. But always they'll stretch themselves, finding ways to infuse their faith into life at school, at home, and with friends and family. LIVE delivers easy-to-understand NLT text and hundreds of relevant opportunities to respond to God's Word right on the spot. Illustrations are by teenagers, for teenagers. Brief devotions and challenges peppered through the Bible invite honest, open responses.  This youth Bible takes "interactive" to an entirely new level! Teenagers who use the LIVE Bible will find: Introductions to 16 real-life, remarkable people from around the globe. Room to respond in their Bibles. To question. To think. To express themselves. Jesus sightings. Teens will see the thread that runs throughout the Bible from Genesis straight to Jesus. Straightforward, means-what-it-says NLT text that makes for great devotional reading and solid study. Clear, concise, and accurate. An invitation to join the community. Upload their faith expressions to www.group.com/roughedit--We'll post their photos, poems, sketches, whatever images honestly reflect how God is speaking to them. Think of it as an online gallery showing how God's revealing himself through teens like your and teens, well...not like yours.  $18.99 for a soft cover, $21.99 for a hard cover, $16,99 for soft cover in bulk (10 or more), $19.99 bulk hard covers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday at the Hut


Featuring the Ugliest Christmas Sweater Contest!

Baptism Celebration Video

I blogged a few days ago about my worship experience at Blue Ridge.  I did some looking today and found the video from the celebration.   I only wish there was video of the folks getting baptized.  The video is the testimony portion which is powerful and encouraging.

http://www.blue-ridge.org/Podcast/Video/tabid/167/Default.aspx

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like . . .

Every year we have a youth group Christmas party.  Every couple of months we have an outreach night.  Outreach night is focused on sharing that a relationship with Jesus Christ can radically change life both here and now and in eternity.  This year we are combining the party and outreach night.  Our prayer is that we see some students accept the best Christmas gift ever.
In the past the Sunday night right around Christmas break would have really low attendance.  Last year we decided that since there would be a small group of students we would go bowling.  Ended up that we had just as many students as usual and a few guests.  Hmmmm...the experiment worked!  So now this will be an annual event.  Students and their family group leaders will gather for a couple hours of bowling together.  Following the bowling we are going to Taco Bell for some festive holiday tacos.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Latest Youth Ministry Craze


. . . well maybe not a craze.  It's my latest invention. . .well maybe others have done this but I haven't seen this done so I'm going to lay claim to it.  

Each week at Contagious our students sit with their family (table) group.  A family group is a small group of students sitting around a table with the same adult leader each week.  The Bible study segment of our night is interactive.  Students take notes on the hand outs and also participate in discussion questions either at the end of the lesson or scattered throughout the lesson.  
 
We were going around each week and making sure each table had pencils, hand outs, etc...
Then the stroke of genius!  Now each family group has their own box.  I pre-load the box earlier in the week then the family group leader grabs the box off of the shelf and puts it the box on their table.  The boxes are labeled/decorated so the students can quickly recognize their table when they walk in for the Bible study time.  Soon I'll be adding a contact card that has all the family group members listed and their phone, email, mailing info. etc...  along with 3x5 cards and the family group leader will assign students from the group to contact absentees/guests.

We just started this system to we will see how it works out.  So far so good as long as the ladies don't send the men in to look for the boxes.  Men can't find anything, and I know, I am one of them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Blown Away Today


This weekend our family was up in Lynchburg, VA.  I had a few students to take to College For A Weekend at Liberty U.  

Today we attended Blue Ridge Community Church with my brother and his family.  Originally we were going to go to Thomas Road just to check out a service in their new place.  My brother told me that they would be having their baptism service today and then went on to tell me it is one of his favorite times at BRCC.  I later picked up that he was going to attend both services.  Later I heard my niece say a few times that she didn't want to miss the baptism service.  I'm not a smart man but I knew something must be up at BRCC and the baptism service.

The worship gathering started off with some great music and even a David Crowder (love his music) tune.  Then Pastor Woody Torrence  got up and made a few comments about what was going on at their church.  The baptistry was a modified cattle trough sitting in the center of the stage.  The baptisms started off with a man giving his story of how his life was a wreck and spiraling out of control until he put his faith in Jesus Christ.  A powerful testimony of God's work in his life.  Then something happened that blew me away.  As he stepped into the baptistry out of the congregation came friends and family, people who had invested in his life, his small group, his new brothers in Christ, his family.  They filled the stage, I would guess around 40 people in all stood around the baptistry as he was baptized.  It was incredibly moving moment and powerful to witness God at work in this man's life.

The service went on as one after another were baptized and a second man shared his story which was just as powerful as the first of how God had totally transformed his life, a life on the brink of suicide.  Each person that was baptized was joined by their "family" on the platform.   

I have gone to church my entire life.  I have seen many baptisms.  There are a few church services that I can say were truly powerful moments.  Today is easily in the top.  This was the most powerful worship gathering I have worshipped in for a long time.  BRCC didn't tag on the baptisms to a service.  The theme, the central focus of the service, was the baptisms and the evidence of God's life changing work in normal everyday lives.  I was blown away today.

On the kids side of things.  Blue Ridge Community Church has it together.  A safe, secure check in process.  A children's ministry security guy walked us every step of the way, even waited in line to go back to the children's wing because we were early and he walked us all the way back to the room.  He spent time talking with our son and with us an obviously had a passion to serve in the ministry he is in.  My son's favorite part of the day, "dancing at church", and he told us, as he does each week, exactly what his lesson was about.  BRCC gets it.  Greeters in the parking lot (one of the things the guy who gave his testimony first shared was the friendliness from the moment he stepped out of the car), greeters at the doors, casual, fun and welcoming.  I love visiting Blue Ridge when we are in the Burg because it feels like home when we are there.  

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What are the Odds?

We took the little man to the indoor playground at Thomas Road Baptist Church yesterday afternoon to burn off some energy (picture Chuck E Cheese inside of the lobby, it's pretty much awesome).  While there Mish called her room mate from her freshman year at LU,  roomie #1 still lives in Lynchburg, and let her know where we were at.  Roomie #1 said she would join us there in a few minutes.  While waiting for  roomie #1 to show I saw a lady in the playground area with her kids and immediately told Mish that she looked like there other room mate from their freshman year, roomie #2.  Mish said "hi" to her and it was her,  they did that whole squealing like 18 year old girls, both shocked to see each other .  Then  roomie #1 showed up.  Roomie #2 lives in Georgia and just happened to be up at LU to let her oldest son check out LU.  What are the odds that the three would get together in the playground at TRBC after 20 years by chance?
It was really crazy and I took credit for the whole event.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Old Stomping Grounds

There is something fun about returning to the old stomping grounds.

Last night I drove the big blue van of happiness onto the campus of Liberty University.  That place has changed a lot since the 20 something years ago when I stepped onto campus as a student.  I was able to point out some random LU trivia to the students I was hauling there for College For A Weekend.  

"To the right you will notice the prayer chapel where my we got married.(Mish is with me)"
"The Demoss Hall didn't use to be this tall"
"Let me tell you about David's Place . . ."
"Dorm 3, The Pit, was my dorm.  Now it's a girl's dorm.  What have they gone and done?"

It's been fun watching LU change over the years.  I'm certainly glad they aren't stuck back in the 70's.  At times I even wonder if I attended in the wrong era.  

So when hitting the old stomping grounds of life, church, etc.  Be glad for change, otherwise we would still have ladies wearing beehives on their heads.  (to those churches that still sport the beehive, please don't take that last statement personally)  Don't get stuck in the past, look to the future and be happy for change.   The word "change" is causing many SBC church members to shutter in their shoes.  It's OK.  Enjoy memories of the past but live the present and look to the future.  Like LU has moved on from the 70's to the present hopefully your church has done the same.

These are this morning's random thoughts from a guy who realized last night that he went to LU when the students there now weren't even born yet.  Yikes!

Now I need to plan my trip to the Texas Inn, but first breakfast with Jonathon Falwell.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Students in Ministry

Currently at NHC we are going through 40 Days of Purpose.  This is our second time, the last time was about 5 years ago, and we have had many new members since the first 40 DOP so we are doing it again. 

Part of 40 DOP is to read through The Purpose Driven Life, each day is a devotional reading.  Today I read Chapter 29, Accepting Your Assignment; this week's focus is all about ministry.  Due to some lack of teaching by the church in the past, or incorrect teaching, many people have this institutionalized view of the church and that the "minister" is the pastor.  The church isn't an organization the church is an organism.  In this view of the church being organic each member is a minister.

I especially liked this paragraph from page 231:

The last thing many believers need today is to go to another Bible study.  They already know far more than the are putting into practice.  What they need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles.

Dads and moms, what are you teaching your teen about ministry?  Do your words match your actions?  Do they see you going to Bible study after Bible study and putting what you are learning into action?  What ministry are you involved in at your local church?  Remember more is caught than taught.  Your teen needs to see your sleeves rolled up and serving in ministry.

I'm pretty stoked because at NHC we have many students from our youth ministry serving in ministry in the church.  I think we will see many more catch on in the near future as they see their friends growing spiritually because they are striving to be spiritually healthy and balanced by using the gifts God has given them in service.  Parents, what are you doing to encourage your teen to discover and use the gifts God has given them as believers?  Ministry is a vital part of discipleship, following Christ.  

 Some churches teach that students are the future of the church.  I believe they are the church in the here and now and because of that they need to be serving and using the gifts God has given them.  When we hinder students from using their gifts we hinder their spiritual growth.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Finish Line

Today my wife ran and finished the OBX Half Marathon, 13.1 miles and averaged 15 minute miles.  You go girl!

But let's not forget I got my son dressed and ready for church which is a major accomplishment as well.

My Hero

My wife, my hero, is currently walking in the OBX Marathon.

This means it is up to me to get the little man ready for church.  Good thing she left the clothes out for him to wear. ;)


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yard Skimmin

No School today due to tidal flooding.  We got some kind of windy storm going on here.
Two young men from the youth group decided they would make the most of their day and expand their education while at home.  I think the full suit is a nice touch.

What's Happening at NHC!

Parents - Exellent Article

Walt Mueller writes some really helpful and insightful stuff on the youth culture.

when what they see is what they are
walt mueller

Fifteen-year-old Kami doesn’t like what she sees in the mirror. She isn’t alone. Adolescence is a time when our kids need to be encouraged and built up. But by setting standards for beauty and body image that are largely unattainable, the media can mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually rip our kids apart.   Read More Here

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Two Cents Worth




My Voting  Experience 2008
by Andy Lawrenson
  • Arrived at the voting poll location at 9:01AM
  • Only 12 people ahead of me
  • Lady behind me an obvious smoker
  • Lady in front of me moved since last election and had to fill out a change of address form
  • Gave my name and address verbally to the election officer
  • Noticed the cookies and muffins and coffee for the election workers behind him
  • Thought to self, "This wouldn't be a bad gig, I'd get coffee and muffins!"
  • Then I changed my mind 
  • They had the A/C off, it was 80 degrees
  • Signed a form
  • No Identification was needed
  • Any guy could have said he was me and voted in my place
  • Was handed my ballot
  • Went to my little booth to vote
  • Black pen was tied to the booth
  • Left handed people are being discriminated against in this voting process
  • Pen was tied to the right hand side of the booth with a string
  • Difficulty filling in black circles with black pen due to discrimination
  • Had testing flashbacks from my school days
  • Felt relieved because I knew all the answers (ie. voted for the right people)
  • Election judge was taking ballots from voters and putting them in the counting machine
  • "Not with my vote Buddy!" slid my ballot in all by myself
  • Got a sweet sticker (see picture)
  • Told the election official that Starbucks was giving out free coffee
  • She announced to the whole room
  • Also Tropical Smoothie is giving 10% off; Ace is not charging sales tax to voters
  • I was the 209th voter in our precinct
  • Back in my pick up at 9:22AM
  • Still thinking about the muffins
  • Not thinking about the muffins anymore
  • Found a muffin in the church fridge

How Concerned or Involved are you?

Sunday night we had a new family bring their teen to youth group.  Awesome!  Even cooler than that was the parents sat down with me before hand to find out what we were about and what we did at youth group.  That is rare.  I think most Christian parents just make an assumption about their church's youth ministry without ever talking with the YM team.   I can only think of a few times, in the 15 years I have been doing youth ministry, where parents actually asked if they could stick around and see what we do.

I encourage you to hang out at your son or daughter's youth group one night (discreetly so as to not cramp their style) and see what your church's youth ministry is all about.  Perhaps if this were done more often parents would not ground their kids from youth group because most will discover that there teens are actually learning from God's Word and not just playing Pudgy Bunny.

This whole thought leads me to this question:
How important is it to you as a parent that your teen be plugged into a church with an active and healthy youth ministry?  Why or why not?   
Something to think about.  

Go Vote and Get a Cup of Coffee

Go vote today!  Starbucks is giving away free coffee to those who vote today.  Simply walk in and tell them you voted and you get a cup of their coffee.  (on a side note I don't think they have the best coffee but free is free and you don't get free everyday)

My spousal unit voted when the polls opened and was there at 6:15.  She was voter number 9.  When she came out the line forming and long and around the building.  

If you are here in the mid-atlantic take your umbrella!


Monday, November 3, 2008

". . .A Moral Issue" (Bump)

I posted this following the last debate and with election tomorrow it is on my mind again today.

Last night I watched the debate, thankfully it was the last one and I can’t wait for the election to be done with for several reasons.  I would have to say that of the three debates last night was my favorite but the one I liked best was the civil forum hosted at Saddleback.  The moderator last night did not hold back any punches and I believe asked tougher questions than the other two debate moderators had.  But my post today is not about politics. 

Senator Obama said last night, “abortion is a moral issue”.  Please allow me to take Senator Obama’s statement and take a logical run with it.  We all know that there are two sides to the issue of abortion.  There are those that believe a mom has the right to end the life of the fetus.   There are also those who believe that ending the life of a fetus is basically murder, the ending of a life.  We also know that there can be endless debates about this issue. 

So take Senator Obama’s statement on abortion on a walk down the trail of logic.

Since abortion is a moral issue that means that one view of abortion has to be moral and one has to be immoral. 

Where do we even get our ideas on what is moral and what is immoral?  

Now if  we are the result of some random act of collision out in the void of darkness millions of years ago and have evolved into who we are today with the all the incredibly intricate functions and systems our bodies have then morals are what we as humans have made them to be.  Problem with this is we know that humans aren’t perfect and that we don’t always make the best choices.  Right and wrong would be what we made up as humans.  The only thing I can think of  if this is the case is that we are in a world of hurt because there is no absolute standard.  Take that line of thinking logically and that means what is moral for you may not be moral for me.  What is immoral for me may not be immoral for you because there would be no moral absolutes.  This view of morals leads to a huge mess in society because there is no standard.  One person could view stealing as immoral and another may see no problem with stealing.  Where does this slippery slope lead us?  (by the way if evolution is true how come we aren’t still evolving?  Just curious because I could certainly use eyes on the back of my head and extra set of hands)

If we were created by God, and not some random collision in the outer void of darkness millions and millions of years ago,  then our morals would come from God.  God would set the standard.  God’s standards are found in His word, the Bible.  If this is the case then God lines out what is right and what is wrong.  There would be moral absolutes, standards to live by.  If this is the case I see more order and direction in how we should live as humans and operate as a government.  If this is the case and if as Senator Obama says, “abortion is a moral issue” then we need to look to where we get our morals.

Psalm 139:13

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Ecclisiastes 11:5

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.

Job 31:15

Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?

It's Politics of the Pocketbook

In going back and thinking about this presidential campaign:

  • I'm glad that it will be over tomorrow
  • I'm concerned about the outcome and what we will have to deal with for the next 4 years
  • The issue that is a deciding factor for most is the politics of the pocketbook (and from what I hear on the latest our power bills are about to increase dramatically should O'Bama become our next president)
  • The war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and abortion has taken a back seat on the issues in comparison to issues like taxes.
  • Cap and Trade will suck more money out of my checking account.
  • Which candidate can I really trust?  Politicians are politicians and will say anything to get in office.  Make a speech saying one thing then meet a constituent on the street and say another. 
  • Be careful who you associate with in life, even if it is on a superficial level.  You never know, you may run for president one day.
  • Who cares where a candidate gets their clothes?  Uhhh, I guarantee one or two of the suits our candidates wear cost more than my entire wardrobe.  But I don't care.  If I was a millionaire I would probably have expensive clothes too, but for now I'll stick with my Wal Mart clothes, besides I'm more comfortable in shorts and flip flops.  If you see me in a suit someone is either getting married or buried.
  • The media's influence is incredibly huge and could be damaging
  • Concern on voting fraud.  How come no one asks for an ID when I go to vote?  What's going to happen wen I show up to vote and my name has already been checked off as having voted?  That day is coming, if not in this election it will be in the next unless something is done.
Parents, election time is an excellent time to teach your teen how to incorporate their morals and Christian values into their decision making on how to discern who to vote for.  Look for those teaching moments.  I've been reading Duck for President to my 4 year old, if only Duck were running for president. . . 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Contagious Tonight

We had a great time tonight at Contagious.  
Hang Time went well with farkle and ping pong and just hanging out.  We had the OBX Presbyterian youth group hang out with us tonight.  Thanks to a student's birthday we had pizza and a cold stone creamery cake.  (thanks Nancy!)
I think the 15 pizzas and cake for 50 were consumed incredibly fast.  Observing the students in their natural habitat consuming the pizzas in less than 20 minutes was quite fascinating. :)

Tonight we looked at the importance for a believer to be connected to a local church.  God has hardwired us to be relational.  First our relationship with him and then second with others, and in that order.  It is vital for believers to connect with other believers and what better way to do so then in a small group?   God's design is for every follower of Christ to be part of a local church.

Some students go church hopping to participate in the youth group that has the latest and greatest thing going on.  Some hop because of friendships or boyfriend/girlfriend.  I reminded students that if they church hopped now they would become church hoppers as adults or even quit church all together.  Some students learn to church hop from their parents or other adults that have in influence in their lives.  Fellowship is part of our purpose and important that we teach this to students.  

Anti-Trunk or Treat

While looking for our Trunk or Treat group on Facebook I stumbled across a "Stop Trunk or Treat" facebook group.  While reading their group description it became very obvious to me that the founder of this group had apparently been to a lame Trunk or Treat.  One of his major complaints was the people were dressed like "Moses" and Bible characters and it just wasn't fun going from trunk to trunk.  

If the church is going to use an event as a bridging event the church needs to make sure it is not lame.  Followers of Christ need to think of how the event will impact the un-churched.  I'll admit I think if I went to the Trunk or Treat this group was describing I may have the same feelings.
Please let's not do "lame" events, they don't work in reaching people.  If we are going to do an event to reach the community we need to strive for excellence.  If we can't do it with excellence we should probably not do it at all.

I'm glad that NHC's Trunk or Treat wasn't lame.  On a side note to the Anti-Trunk or Treat group there was not one Bible character at our Trunk or Treat.  You won't see me dressed up as Baalam, I'm Elvis, "thank you, thank you very much".    

Saturday, November 1, 2008

ToT 08 How did we do?

How did we do?

I have already received an e-mail from a family in the community who is not from our church.  They had a great time and look forward to future Trunk Or Treats.

I quickly cruised through the drawing cards this afternoon and 30 parents checked off that they would like more information about NHC and our children's and youth ministries.  It will be cool to see the results of this year's event.  

The biggest accomplishment is that every family received the gospel as well as noticed that NHC is a church that loves families and where children are a priority.

Thanks to the great team of around 80 for helping make a successful bridging event.

My Mission Trip Experience

I just returned last week from the island of Eleuthera.  On the island there is a Christian sports camp, Camp Bahamas.  Camp Bahamas is re...