Friday, January 9, 2009
That's what we seemed to face in 2008. There were some losses as the group struggled to meet everyone where they were at in their lives. And you can't; the truth is you have to determine what your target is and aim for it, even if it means you lose some others.
It doesn't make losing others less painful. In a group that recognizes relationships as being the key ingredient that holds things together, losing some of those relationships hurt. Yet you still have to focus on the target, aim as straight as you can, and concentrate your ministry energy there.
Yet now it's time for a bit of a challenge. Our lessons have been short, simple, to the point. Now we are going to tackle The Jesus I Never Knew video from Philip Yancey. We'll have to take our time, we'll have to open up our Bibles, we'll have to recognize and be challenged by the generational differences we'll hear.
May 2009 be the year we learn, as C. S. Lewis wrote, "Safe, no He's not safe. But He is good."
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
This February found a large part of our group attending Acquire the Fire, a youth conference put on by Youth for Christ. Several of the adults “chaperoned” several of our middle-school and almost middle-school kids. Andrea, Jim, and Jessica P. got to the arena early and Jessica got us great seats in our section, just a few rows from the floor with open space below us, giving us a place to rock out.
It was a wonderful event for all of us. Ron Luce seemed to speak to kids and adults alike, the concerts were loud and heavy, and Uninhibited was an awesome worship band. As the night wore on Friday night we could feel the chains falling off our worshipping, and by the time The David Crowder band came on stage, we were ready to hop. And we were not disappointed. Crowder brought a wonderful mix of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Texas drawl and celebrative worship that had some of us dancing on the floor. The arena shook with 10,000 people pogo-dancing.
We spent Friday night at a local hotel. We focused our devotions on Jesus saying to the disciples that unless you become like one of these, a little child, you cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. We discussed what a child-like faith would look like and asked what it would be like to worship with a child-like joy. Usually at ATF it is a long night but with our mix of younger kids and older adults it was lights out
Jessica, Chris, and Lisa went early on Saturday to once again get good seats, and this time Jessica got the front rows. If you ever go to a concert or event take Jessica with you; she is quietly aggressive and awesome at getting the best seats.
We were tired Saturday but still found our inhibitions falling off as we worshipped and learned. ATF presented the drama the Bema. Some of us had seen it before and it lost a little of its power in the small venue, but it still carried a good message. Meghan joined us for the day and seemed to love all of the noise and lights and attention. We had lunch at a local restaurant close by, good food but a little expensive. By the afternoon we were throwing up our “Rawk Fist” and dancing in the aisles and on the floor. The concerts in the afternoon were geared for a little heavier rock sound and some of our more sensitive ears walked the venue instead.
The VanAndel was a pretty cozy venue for this event and it was easy to get around. You can be sure that it was filled with quite a few CRC kids and you could feel the worship growing every time the band came out. By that night you could feel the Spirit moving throughout the stadium as we let our “lights” shine. By the time the band came out for the final worship we truly felt free to run, free to dance.
I received an email from the local director the day after the event that they were not sure if they were going to return to Grand Rapids but that after the weekend they booked it for the next two years.
So, next spring, we’ll be there again, hopefully a few more of us, growing in our faith, worshipping uninhibited, and thanking our awesome God for all He has done.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Saturday, January 12, 2008
We got together at church for Christmas this year. Ang and Nate were gone and we were uncomfortable just meeting at their house. We had planned to get together, do some snooping, then go out caroling.
The turnout wasn't too big and we found out a few hours before that the church was having difficulty getting the Angel Tree gifts deliveried. Can you say Service Project? After gathering together we sent two teams out to make deliveries. One of the teams even did some caroling at some of the houses.
We returned to church to enjoy some snacks and snoops, then packed it in for the evening. More and more I am reminded that maybe the most crucial part of this whole thing is just being together, building our relationships.
Friday, January 11, 2008
Late Fall brought our first annual Men's Outing. Nate, Paul, Ray, and Jim packed up what little they needed and headed down to Indiana for a visit to the Bass Pro Shop. The trip down went well except for all the semis who kept driving right next to the van. Our hotel was literally a block away from the store. We checked in, then headed over to the Pro Shop to do a little scouting and shopping. It was truly an amazing place, filled with hunting, fishing, outdoor, and boating gear. We wandered awhile, stopping in front of the giant fish tank and checking out all the stuffed animals on the ledges above.
After a little shopping planning we drove back to the hotel. We had dinner right next door in the Quaker State Cafe, a place filled with racing paraphernalia. The atmosphere was great but the food was a little greasy.
After dinner we headed back to the hotel. The pool had adults only from 10-11, so we got our suits on and did some swimming and hot tubbing. After wearing ourselves out we went to bed. The question was who would snore the loudest, and the jury is still out.
The following morning we drove back to the Pro Shop but they didn't open until 9. With a half-hour to kill we drove around, finding the Yogi Bear park that can be seen from the highway.
By the time we got back to the Pro Shop they were open and we buckled down for some serious shopping. Some of us had some gear we had to pick up for Christmas presents, others were gearing up for a summer of fishing next year. Jim and Ray had to rescue Nate from buying a new power boat.
We still had time once we were done shopping (even with having to page Nate to the front again) so we drove a little further down and stopped at the new Cabella store just inside the Indiana border. It was nice, with even more stuffed animals, but it was also very crowded with rude Chicago shoppers. After a little wandering and all of us saving Nate from buying a new $150 winter suit we called it a day and headed back to Michigan.
All in all a good trip and one we hope to repeat again this Spring. We might even let the girls comewith this time.