Last week, a ten-year-old girl, unbeknownst to her mother, grabbed a tag off the Giving Tree at church. A few days later, she asked her mother if there was anything she could do to earn some extra money. This seemed curious to her mother, but she didn't think much of it until she was tucking her daughter into bed, noticing an envelope laying next to the bed. It contained $4 dollars and a $5 giving tree tag. Her daughter had been covertly setting aside her chore money from the last week. There was also a handwritten card for the missionary who would receive the gift. Mom could hardly contain her joy and her tears.
Confession: I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love the anticipation of the season, baking (ok, let’s be honest, this is Andrea) and decorating (but I can do this) Christmas cookies, going to Christmas Eve service, family traditions, Christmas movies (maybe an occasional Hallmark movie), gift giving, putting up the lights and decorations, but most of all, the wonder of the Christmas story.
But somehow, I often find myself deep into the season and filled with anything but wonder. For Andrea and I, last year found us prepping for two birthdays, attending work Christmas parties, buying gifts, shipping gifts, and finishing up school projects. By December 15th, we were swimming in the realm of exhaustion...no wonder!
The theme for the weekend was "identity." John Eldredge says: “Identity is not something that falls on us out of the sky. For better or for worse, identity is bestowed.” I have recently been on a journey of discovering sonship with the Father. Jesus said in John 17:3 that his greatest desire is that we would know the Father. Jesus could have said a lot of other desires for humanity. But Jesus went to the core desire. To know the Father shapes everything else. You will never live beyond your identity. I believe that's why most Christians walk with their head down, defeated, full of addictions. The chief aim of the Villain is to take us away from our identity in the Father.
Thank you for submitting your questions on Sunday, September 5th. We had a number of questions come in on racism and mental health issues. Below are the questions that were texted in but we didn't have enough time to answer them in service.
It’s one of my favorite things every year since moving to Boise. Man Camp. Or in other words…men’s retreat. I have been going now for about 6 years. I remember the first year. I had just moved to Boise and didn’t really know anyone. There was group of about 30 of us camping out next to Warm Lake outside of Cascade, Idaho. I was definitely the youngest guy there. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wondered where all the “younger men” were. It's no secret that there is an exodus of Millennials in our churches today. And what I’ve observed is it's a lot of younger men. They're nowhere to be found. Why is that?
Camp season is here and we are kicking things off this Thursday with Kid’s Camp! Whether your student is in 3rd, 8th or 12th grade, great conversations after camp can solidify the meaningful truths they experienced at our retreats. We want to help you have those conversations with your student when they return home from camp.
It’s not secret that the refugee crisis is a huge topic in our world. And I’m not here to try to swing anyone one way or another. But its hard to deny the fact that God is moving people toward the gospel around the world, and I’ve come to believe that this is at least part of the purpose He has to be for my travels around the Middle East and Europe.
Over the past several months I’ve grown increasingly aware of the sexualization of our culture. I guess I’ve always known about it, but now as a youth worker, I feel as though it deserves my attention for the sake of the next generation of fathers and mothers.
The question is, “why even talk out loud about this kind of stuff? Isn’t the truth about sex and sexuality already out there?” The real answer would be a resounding, “no.”
What if you could change someone’s status for the better? Would you do it? I think we would all say “yes.” There’s something wired within the human soul that desires to stand up to the bullying of injustice around our world. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Job 5:16. In fact it’s inked into my skin (sorry mom). It simply says, “So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.” I’ve seen a lot of worldwide injustice. And it can often be overwhelming. I often ask myself; “How can I make a difference?”
If you’re like me, you’ve probably had a time in your life when your status changed. Whether a career shift, a change in a relationship or having kids, or my favorite…7th grade. We all go through status shifts in our lives. In the Christian world, most people believe that God orchestrates status changes for them. “I was once lost but now I’m found” “I crossed from death to life” “God called me from one place to another”
I have to admit that I am not by any means an avid follower of politics. With that being said, I have become intently aware of our political landscape this past year. The more aware I become, the more intense things seem to get. The more intense it gets, the more I am forced to ask and answer the question, “As a Christian, how should I respond to the idea of politics and what is happening in America today?”
Choice is a powerful thing. It is something we weigh often, and fret about making the right one. Choice is something we strive to teach our children to respect and make carefully. It is something that holds such value that we fight, willing to lay down our life, for our right to choose. We call it freedom.