I recently completed FebFast, the charity movement which challenges you to take a 28 day break to raise funds for youth addiction. There’s 4 fasts to choose from: alcohol (in the same vein as Dry July), caffeine, sugar and digital screens; two of which are a little easy for me (and one almost impossible) so I went with sugar.
Was interested in their fundraising tips, so I’ve copied a few of them below.
Tahnee sent me a text this morning with an article on the Melbourne Cup – Super Cool Upsets in Vase
She’d pulled out Super Cool at her work sweepstakes. Pretty funny given recent events.
Originally written 31st July 2009.
A few weeks ago, Tahnee and I decided to go for a bushwalk in the Blue Mountains. We picked a track which was estimated to take four hours. Not actually too enthusiastic about walking for that long we decided we’d take the short cut which apparently appeared half way through the trek. Probably a couple of hours into the walk (when we’d discovered how different our opinions were on what constituted a “track”) we came to a seat and sat down to decide what we would do.
“Do you actually know where we are going, because this would actually be quite nice If I knew where we are?”. I had resolved myself to the fact that we would walk until we saw something worth seeing, Tahnee wasn’t so enthusiastic as much as concerned that we were only going to have to turn around at the end of it all.
Without exaggerating we probably took another ten steps before stumbling into a picnic area complete with car park, public toilets and a dozen or so tourist coaches which had stopped off to see what was clearly quite a popular lookout.
The irony was not lost on us, and how similar it can be to other areas of life. You never know how close you are to change, to things being different from what they are. There was always the choice to turn around and walk back the distance we’d become familiar with knowing where we would end up, or persevere that little further and see something worth seeing – who knows how close you are to the same?
At the beginning of the year Tahnee and I started a new youth ministry at our church (Christian Life Centre). Having grown up in youth groups the opportunity felt familiar – but the process of finding a structure that would work for our group was a daunting (and continuing) one.
The following article from Average Youth Ministry provides some guidance for new youth leaders just starting out. I wanted to share it because the first point particularly resonated with me.
Everything is built on a solid and simple programmatic structure. Your program is the skeleton, and without a good one, your entire ministry is in jeopardy. Just like humans, every skeleton is unique, but for the most part have the same parts. As you develop your skeleton, don’t try and reinvent the wheel. There is a reason that youth ministries for the past 30 years have had fun games, mixers, worship, teaching and small groups. Within every context, the flavor of this program will very, but most healthy ministries have all 5 ingredients. Whether your main program is Sunday morning or Wednesday night, or whenever, lay out your hour and a half and divide your time into 5 parts and begin to fill in the blanks. Before you know it, you have successfully created a youth ministry that builds community, grows faith, and creates space for ownership. — Benjamin Kerns, Average Youth Ministry
I’ve heard the idea of structure criticised for being restrictive or reducing the effort required (as if that were a bad thing?). So far this year, we’ve found that having a structure gives us a framework in which to play. It gives us the freedom to be as creative each week as we want to be without having to worry as much about planning. If you’re just starting out with youth ministry or have been doing it for a while, I’d highly recommend spending some time to think about your structure.
For more student ministry tips, you can read the full article here – 5 key ingredients for a thriving student ministry.
I don’t have any issue coming up with things to write about. It’s common for me to have 4 to 5 thoughts spread through my email, iphone, and scraps of paper on my desk. The problem for me is feeling confident or satisfied with how to go about writing in a way that feels worthwhile.
So instead of writing, I think about writing, and that makes me anxious. Its a problem I’ve had for a while now.
Enter Google for some inspiration, from the first page:
Here are a few suggestions you can use to develop your own voice and style for your blog. First, remember that a blog is a conversation. Try to write the way you speak… It may be helpful to speak your entry out loud before trying to type it or to read it aloud after you’ve written it. If you find yourself struggling as you read aloud or speaking unnaturally, think about what you might have said if you were talking to a friend rather than writing. — Writing a Good Blog
Back to procrastinating.
EDIT: This might be a good place to link to some blogs that I do enjoy reading (from people I actually know). No context here, sorry. You’ll have to do some digging.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Imagine David in the midst of battle, looking to the hills and hoping for reinforcement —
“From whence comes my help?”
He answers his own question —
“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth”
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
The Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
– Psalm 121 (NKJV)
As with David your help comes from God. When you question how life’s difficulties will be resolved, remember Psalm 121 and be encouraged.
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. — Psalm 103 (NKJV)
There’s a Sunday School song that goes (apologies for the cheese) …
Being a Christian can be hard. It involves doing the right thing even when you don’t feel like it or when everyone else isn’t. You can wish you didn’t know any better when facing tough situations.
Galations 6 talks about “not growing weary in doing good”
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. — Galations 6:7-9 (NKJV)
Focusing on the obligations of being a Christian can distract from the amazing benefits that are yours to remember and take advantage of.
- Forgiveness — Who forgives all your iniquities,
- Healing — Who heals all your diseases,
- Salvation — Who redeems your life from destruction,
- Mercy — Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
- Satisfaction — Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
When life starts to grind — don’t forget His benefits, remind yourself…
You are a C, you are a C-H, you are a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N
You have C-H-R-I-S-T in your H-E-A-R-T and you will L-I-V-E E-T-E-R-N-A-L-L-Y
Made me laugh – I could actually tick off quite a few.
- you would say a quick prayer asking for the forgiveness of as many sins as you can remember when the traveling prophet would start walking around in the congregation.
- you know what the initial evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit is.
- you feel uncomfortable in churches where people don’t raise their hands.
- you liked Hillsong before they were cool.
- your church was worried about Y2K.
- you’ve question the salvation of your Catholic friends.
- you’ve ‘laid’ things at the altar, but never physically left anything there.
- you’ve worried you’ve missed the rapture on more than one occasion when you can’t get a hold of your Christian family members.
- your church’s altar ministry team included “catchers.”
- your pastor would shout and sweat when he preached.
- your church had a ‘blanket’ ministry.
- your Christmas services were like a Broadway show.
- you took a water bottle with you to church.
- Kleenex boxes lined the front altar of your church.
- the phrase “IshouldaboughtaHondabutIboughtaNissan” makes you laugh and makes you feel guilty at the same time.
- when someone shouted “FIRE!” in your church it didn’t cause alarm.
- you’ve been drunk…in the Spirit.
- you would keep your eyes open during a response time to see if people were really raising their hands all across the room.
Read More — Tim Schraeder
When I first started school my teacher introduced me to Thomas, a Year 6 kid who was going to be my buddy. Thomas showed me round the playground, he use to have lunch with me. I remember Thomas telling me how cool it was that I was missing a tooth because I could drink through a straw with my teeth clenched. Once I got hit in the head with a baseball bat, he offered a lolly and sorted me out. Thomas looked out of me all through my first year of school.
So the next year on my second first day of school, I excitedly looked around the playground for my buddy – but I couldn’t find him. Another kid let me know that Thomas had been in Year 6 and had to go to high school now (my school had only been for primary). He didn’t go to our school anymore.
I remember welling up with tears. I had no idea that I would never see my buddy again and didn’t even get to say goodbye. Who would look out for me in the playground? Thomas had left me.
The book of Joshua tells the story of the Israelites entering the Promised Land after the death of Moses. Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt and through the wilderness but now he was gone. It’s interesting to read what God says to Joshua.
After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide: “Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-to the Israelites… No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. – Joshua 1:1-2,5 (NIV)
There are times in life when we can feel like we are on our own. Thomas left me after my first year of school, who knows where he is now? But God promises He will never leave me nor forsake me.