Where has the time gone?

In all of my programing and all of my scheduling I have been struck by the fact there there is very little unstructured together time where we can come together and just be. I find that this is the case as a church, youth ministry, friend, family and even in our personal lives.

I recall in one of my Recreation classes in college (yes I was a rec minor) when we talked about the advent of playgrounds. And the way that they brought unstructured play to places after World War 2. The first playground was essentially a pile of dirt. Yet it gave kids an avenue for imagination, adventure and unstructured time together.

Being able to give time to unstructured fun is something that we all need.  Finding a time when/where you can come and go as you please.  Try to make time for this.  It is something that you are going to have to schedule because there are a million and one reasons why you shouldn’t or why it could get pushed to the side.

Each week at youth group we try and give young people this kind of time and they can’t get enough of it.  Yeah it is fun, but besides that it is time to be with one another that they very rarely get.  Being together and sharing in life together and sharing our stories seems to be slipping away from us as a culture.  But being in real fellowship with one another (and not being preoccupied with a task at hand)  is a mark of a community of deep faith.  We are able to better know one another and better know God through this kind of sharing.

Praise for the rain

As I sit as my desk I an taken by the music of the rain as it dances on the roof.  I have gotten up about ten times today just to look out the front windows of the church, gone to my car to get something unnecessary.  After a record breaking 34? days without measurable rain, we now have it in abundance.  I found this wonderful prayer from the book of uncommon prayer that is perfect for today:

    “THERE IS NO SOUND LIKE RAIN, GOD. Rain on a roof, rain on the ground, rain on the trees, it’s all good.  There is a sense of newness in the water, God.  There is a sense of second chances.  You send the rain to care for the planet.  It brings new life and new hope.  The rain brings relief (especially to Middletown now).  We need these things too, God.  We need new life.  We need new hope.  God, we need relief!  But there is a joy in the water.  There is a joy in the drenching feeling of playing in the rain.  There is a peace in the sound and smell of it.  Wash away all that covers us, God.  Our mistakes cling to us like dirt.  Make us new, God.  thank you for this rain.  Thank you for second chances.  Thank you for the newness of life around us.  Thank you for the sound of the rain, God.  Amen”

Refreshed, renewed, revived…Let us soak in all that is in store for us on this waterlogged  Friday.  🙂

Diving Deeper through Great Christian Thinkers

devotional classicsI purchased a book a couple of weeks ago titled Devotional Classics. This text is written by Richard Foster and James Bryan Smith. This book is one in a collection of books called Renovare resources. The intent behind developing these resources is that they will revive some of the great Christian thinkers and theologians that have written throughout the journey of the Christian faith.

There is much that can be learned through these writings that come from the early church through contemporary writers. I have used another of these texts before and found it to be very helpful. My hope is that I will use this text to journey through some devotional time and share my thoughts and reflections with you on these great minds in theology. I have no idea if it will be fruitful for you, but I feel like it will be beneficial for me to materialize my thoughts into some concrete form. I will visit this text on a weekly basis in order to give food for thought for the week and to hopefully develop a more regimented discipline of journaling.

A soft heart or tough love?

Yesterday i went to the Baltimore Washington Conference (BWC) center for a mentor training program. This is where we were assigned to groups that we will be with for the next three years of our probation (or as it is called now, residency) period. During our time together the BWC folks has to make the sell as to why mentoring is important, and why this is not just another hoop that we must jump through to be considered for ordination. Don’t get me wrong, I think that mentoring is one of the single most powerful ways to model and shape out a personal faith that we have been blessed with.

During this time I was anxious to see what types of things were going to be discussed. A piece of our time was taken up by exploring mentor relationships in the biblical witness. I was responsible for looking at the relationship between Moses and Jethro (Moses’ father-in-law). The scripture I was given to look at was from Exodus 18 where we find Jethro giving advice to Moses.

The thing that i found to be very interesting is that Jethro has such a harsh tone with Moses. He says in verse 17 “what you are doing is not good.” Here is Moses leading God’s people, the head honcho, the big kahun and Jethro is saying that he is wrong…? How could this be? In this just the ramblings of an old man, or is there something more going on here? This is a harsh tone, but it is one that is found throughout the scripture. It seems blatant and harsh, but is it really? There is more going on here then we would realize at times. Continue reading…

Eden has arrived

chris and eden    I cannot believe that just a couple of hours ago I became a dad.  Katie and I went to the hospital just to see if Eden was doing well, and apparently she was doing more than well.  She was ready to come out and be with us.  How exciting.  I have to say that I had two jobs when we were going to the hospital to have our baby, and I only did one of them.  I was responsible foe remembering the bag that we were going to take to the hospital (in the bag Katie had everything ready foe me including change for the vending machine), and the second thing was remembering Katie (she is a critical part of the baby having).  When we got in the car to go to the hospital I asked my beautiful wife if I should go get the bag.  She said that we didn’t need it because we were going to be right back.  I think that was the reason we weren’t sent home from the hospital.  Just for the sake of a good chuckle.

Continue reading…

New year new group

    Each year we get our ministry into full swing I get goosebumps.  I think that the mystery is the best part for me about the new year.  This year I was taken aback by the group that showed up for youth worship and dinner this past weekend.  I had a great time catching up with students that i hadn’t seen in a while and getting to know new youth was fun.

We are doing a lot of new and exciting things this year.  We are beginning a formal student leadership team, continuing our small group bible study, and wonderful new leaders helping and sharing their gifts with all of our young people.

I am sure that this year is going to bring wonderful and unexpected things.  I just can’t wait to see what they are.

See You At the Poll

SYATP

On the 26th Middletown Youth will be gathering around the flag poll at the track. All are invited at 6:45 and they will share in preayer, testamony and song to star their day off united in Christ. Today youth feel so alone and stand in the minority as people that not only claim their Christian faith, but also get up early to school and claim their identity as a disciple of Christ.

I am excited to be able to be there (serving Hot Chocolate). I am can’t wait to see all of the students on Wednesday. I might be too tired to take it all in during the event, but even though it is only 30 minutes together God will be working in great and powerful ways.