Friday, January 27, 2012

What like you blend?



I'm not a crafter most of the time but tonight in the Karafanda home we melted crayons together into a heart shaped mold.

The project required using "naked" crayons broken into small pieces.  When I'm coloring with my three year old, all I find is naked, broken crayons but when needing them for a craft we (and by "we" I mean Jessica Johnson) had to take all of the paper off of the ones we were using.

The craft didn't have the results expected.  We were hoping for more of a marbled look that might color two colors at once.  What we got was more of a finger painting look.  The colors didn't really blend most likely due to a temperature/time difference.

Sometimes we try to blend things together that don't need blending.  They might compliment each other but fusing the two together just doesn't work.  A great example of this is peanut butter and chocolate.  They taste great together but put together in a food processor, you won't end up with complimentary flavors but a totally different taste.  Not a bad taste but different.

There are times when you want things to compliment each other and when you want them to blend.  We have to realize this with people too.

There are times when we need to hear amazing solos from people and other times we want to hear a great orchestral work.

What I ended up getting was the crayola equivalent of a chamber orchestra or even a string quartet.

So today as you follow what God is calling you to do, ask if you are supposed to be blending or complimenting.  It could make all the difference in how you serve Him.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Commando




"And do not go up to my altar on steps, or your private parts may be exposed." - Exodus 20:26


I'm not sure exactly what kind of underwear they wore in Biblical times but this verse leads me to think that they went commando.


There have been those rare times in life when I've worn a skirt or dress and had to walk somewhere with the fear that a) I'll end up doing a Marilyn Monroe and not looking quite so sexy at it or 2) there will be guys under the bleachers trying to see if my name is Victoria and I have any secrets.


Most of the time its not an issue.  I'm more of a jeans girl so my biggest worries are if crack kills or if my jeans qualify at mom jeans.


I always thought that clothing didn't matter to God.  God didn't care how we dressed for church - He really just wants us to go to church.  And Jesus tells us not to worry about what to wear - I try to think about that every time I get shopping anxiety trying to find the right outfit.


But even though we aren't to worry, I think that God does care about our clothes.  He cares about everything about us.  We may wonder at times why all this weird stuff is in the Bible but when we step back and take a look at it, there's a sentiment that God cares about everything we do.  Not that we need to worry about every detail but that every detail matters to God.


God doesn't want others to see our hoo-ha during a time when we are doing something sacred (like going to God's altar).  Hoo-ha viewing is reserved for those select times when we 1) are being fruitful and multiplying or B) seeing a doctor for medical necessity. 


So don't go commando at church.  And remember that God loves you no matter what, but He can still have a good chuckle when we have a wardrobe malfunction.


Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Barbie


I've never been much of a Barbie fan.  Not because I'm morally opposed to Barbie but I never had one growing up so she just wasn't on my radar.

After having two boys I was thrilled to have a girl for two reasons 1) the clothes are so much cuter and b) I was excited to play with the toys of my youth again.

Don't get me wrong.  Front end loaders are really fun to play with but fashion plates have more of a draw for me.

My little girl will be four this year but I can remember her first Christmas.  I was SO EXCITED to be able to shop the pink section of toys instead of the battery operated, noisy, transforming alien-truck-monster-spinning-battle-to-the-death section.

I lingered in the princess aisle and finally stopped in the Barbie section to see what I've been missing.  I saw Barbie, Ken, some pre-teen relative named Kelly (or something), a dream house, a mustang, Barbie as a doctor, Barbie as a Vet, Barbie getting married, Barbie's racially diverse friends, Barbie going to a Christmas party, etc

I double checked the aisle to make sure I wasn't missing something.  Where was Reverend Barbie?  Did the Southern Baptists have control over Mattel so that Barbie could be whatever she wanted to be EXCEPT a spiritual leader?

This led me to question the entire spiritual life of Barbie (who is really quite old and doesn't seem to be able to commit to a profession at all).  Who was Barbie's military chaplain when she was in the Army?  Did she ever have to call in a clergy person when she was a doctor assisting a dying patient?  Who was the officiant at her and Ken's wedding?

Why is there no one in Barbie's life to lead her into the more spiritual parts of this world?  More specifically - has no one ever shared the good news of Jesus with Barbie?

And what does it mean for my daughter that Barbie can be anything from a plastic surgeon to a McDonald's cashier and yet she has no chance of being clergy?

So I bought me a Barbie and I told her that God loves her.  I told her that God has always loved her and  wants her to realize that with God in her life she can be transformed so that the dream house and mustang aren't the limit to her success.  She can "do all things through Christ who strengthens her." (Philippians 4:13) 

I guess I did a great job because as you can see above, Barbie gave her life to Jesus and became an Ordained Deacon in the UMC.  She lives in the youth room at Hopewell UMC.  She gets her liturgical colors a bit confused at times but she (literally) sits at the feet of Jesus and hopes to see some real transformation going on in that room.

Today my daughter got a Doctor Barbie in her Happy Meal.  I smiled knowing that no matter what Barbie's calling truly is, she is on the right track.  I've seen it myself and hope to see it in others as well before my calling here is done.

Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Misguided Prayer List




“If you don't know what you're doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You'll get his help, and won't be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who "worry their prayers" are like wind-whipped waves. Don't think you're going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.” James 1:5 MSG






Dear God,


Here's my list:



  • Help me loose weight
  • Help me be successful
  • Help my kids stay healthy
  • Help my kids with their grades
  • Help my family to be happy and healthy
  • Help the sick people in my church
  • While we are at it, please help all sick people and people who are poor or treated unfairly
Thanks.  I love you.
Amen

Dear Shannon,

In regards to your list:
  • Exercise and eat healthy
  • Stay off Facebook
  • Tell your kids to wash their hands
  • Turn off the TV
  • Turn off the TV, stay off Facebook, and wash your hands
  • Visit the sick people in your church and next time prove to me you know their names.
  • I will if you will.
Thanks.  I love you too.
-G

Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Everyone needs a cheerleader

Spirituality


Working in youth ministry has been the most rewarding calling that I've followed but also the biggest blow to the ego. If the youth don't make you remember how little you actually know, then there will be a parent who will throw you a curve ball and ask you a question that only prayer can give you the answer to.

It's not easy.  There is VERY high turnover in youth ministry.  I know several who have left the church entirely due to a bad situation at one of their churches.

But I also know a few select elite youth ministers who have been doing it for years and still get joy out of their calling.  And I think I've found one of the secrets to their endurance (there are more but this one hit home this week):  they all have a cheerleader and often more than one.

Spiritual Cheerleaders:

A cheerleader can do a lot of things to help keep you going when you need a little pick me up.

1) A cheerleader gets the entire crowd roaring. Even when you're losing, cheerleaders will get the entire crowd to rally behind you.
2) A cheerleader expects you to fumble but still keeps cheering. .  Your "fans" may boo at you and throw red solo cups but your cheerleaders will still shout out some praise.
3) A cheerleader reminds you why you play the game.  When you hit those time when you forget why God calls you into ministry, your cheerleader reminds you of the passion you started with.

If you have a cheerleader in your life, thank them today for what they do and if you don't have one find one who will cheer you on with the grace that only God can put in our lives.

Proverbs 15:15
A miserable heart means a miserable life; a cheerful heart fills the day with song.


Until Everyone Hears,

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to be a big brother...

There have been a lot of baby celebrations going on around me lately.  So for those of you who have newborns and especially those of you who have a newborn with an older sibling, here is a video my son did in third grade about being a big brother.  


Even if you don't have a "brand new baby" around the house, this is still pretty darn cute.



Luke 18:15
People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. "Let these children alone. Don't get between them and me. These children are the kingdom's pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in."


Until Everyone Hears,

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I ain't got rhythm...

For those of you who think you don't have rhythm....





May you discover today what your calling is and share it with the world.


Psalm 66:1
All together now—applause for God! Sing songs to the tune of his glory, set glory to therhythms of his praise. Say of God, "We've never seen anything like him!" When your enemies see you in action, they slink off like scolded dogs. The whole earth falls to its knees— it worships you, sings to you, can't stop enjoying your name and fame.



Until Everyone Hears,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Daniel


This is Daniel.  He's a crazy, liberal Democrat.  But he's a United Methodist and engaged to a brilliant girl who has amazing taste in higher educational institutions so he does have some good qualities. 


Actually he's a funny guy with a passion for America and a passion for God.


Daniel needs a kidney.  He's too young to need one and to have any health problems but he does everything his doctors say and yet still needs a kidney.  


I'm not the best one to tell his story.  He is.  So go to http://danielneedsakidney.com/ to learn more.


Or better yet click on the donate button on that page.  You can read on his web site how expensive the procedure and anti-rejection drugs can be and how much money he has to raise and how much can get matched.



Luke 9

 1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2 He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Advice


I recently taught an adult Sunday school class.  I hadn't taught one of those since before there were Mormon billboards along the interstate.  


I wasn't quite sure what to expect but I wanted to bridge the gap between the youth and this class.  I thought about making them play capture the flag as a warm up exercise.  I pondered asking them in what way Lady Gaga's latest album was more spiritual.  I even thought about modifying a cheek sista ritual.


But in all of those cases, it was just too much of a boundary to cross so I settled.  And I'm glad I did.


I decided to ask them what one piece of advice they would have for youth or those working with youth.  Their opinions were nothing new but always good to hear.  So here we go.  I hope you can gain some wisdom from these.  I know I did.



  • Balance the three F's - Fun, Fair, and Firm
  • Be Consistent!
  • Tell the Truth - its easier than backpedaling
  • Don't let anyone tell you you can't follow your dreams
  • Seek first the kingdom of God
  • Pick your friends carefully
  • Never settle for second best
  • Stuff you say will follow you forever
  • Think before you speak.
  • Always know how valuable education is.
Daniel 4:27
Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I missed my chance...

UMC Untied Methodist Church  beliefs

A God moment and missed opportunity:


This weekend I did my emergency trip to Sam's.  I know it is time to return to Sam's once we run out of Nutella.  We were about five days past due. So after spending the minimum $200 requirement, I proceeded to the check out.  The cashier began checking us out and telling us about his own Nutella addiction when my son realized that my name on the check out screen had an "Rev." in front of it.  As this is not a standard title available at all places, he thought it was pretty cool.

The cashier took notice as well and asked, "Are you a minister? What denomination?" "Why yes I am!," my proud-self said while trying to get my three year old to stop climbing the flat bed cart where this nice young man was trying to stack 30 bags of Bugles.

"What is the difference between the UMC and PCUSA?, " the inquisitive cashier continued.

"Well I don't know much about the different Presbyterian denominations," I honestly stated.

"Well one is very traditional and conservative and the other one is pretty anything goes." he explained. (yes I know there are more than two but this is what the theological cashier at Sam's gave me so I went with it.

I had a moment.  I was being asked a religious question that might transform a life for the transformation of the world.  And here was my answer...

"Well we're pretty moderate.  We ordain women but don't ordain homosexuals." - said the female pastor with the master's degree.

God had given me the moment.  An opening that few people ever get - a willing and captive audience.  And my answer boiled down to gender and sexual preference.

I felt guilty the rest of the night.  We believe in so much more.  

I'm not making that mistake again.  Since you've read this far, I'm going to assume I once more have a captive audience.  


What does the UMC believe?  


Here are just the highlights.  Want to know more?  Let me know.


  1. We believe in a living, loving God revealed through Jesus Christ.
  2. Our faith is a choice we make that can be nurtured through a Christian community.
  3. Salvation is a gift from God.  Once we get on this road, we are on the way to perfection.
  4. Grace is wonderful but not always fair.  Even that idiot next door receives God's grace even though he's grumpy and wanted to sue you that one time because you cut down a tree. Yeah - you might be a "better" person but you both are loved by God.
  5. Faith is active - meaning if someone believes you should be able to tell by what they do.
  6. Theologically we use Scripture, experience, tradition and reason as a guide for how our beliefs interact with the world around us.
  7. Sure we disagree at times but we don't disagree with #1 so our disagreements are kind of like sibling bickering - its annoying but when it comes down to it we've got each other's back.
  8.  We have two sacraments - communion (which we can do in church as much as we like) and Baptism (which we do with God only once - cause God always keeps His end of this deal so there's no need to redo the whole thing).
  9. If you went to 10 different United Methodist Churches on Sunday, you'd probably find 10 different styles.  One might have a rockin band singing contemporary worship songs.  Another might have a gospel choir singing African-American spirituals.  You might have a preacher who uses the lectionary each Sunday or one who creates a sermon series based on topical current issues.  
  10. We do ordain women (and men too).  But we feel that all are called into service for God

Now for the beliefs you won't find on the UMC.org website:

  1. We do have The Davinci Code secrets hidden in some of our churches.  I have cracked this code and can let you in on some of the secrets.  For instance the different colors that the pastors wear on Sunday stand for different things.
  2. Food other than communion is not a sacrament but is still holy.  It is holy in a different way in America than it is in other countries.
  3. We believe that youth and children are important but the youth at my church are the most important.
  4. We are all about the numbers.  Jesus fed 5000 so we need to try and live up to this standard as best we can.
  5. Some of us go to church to be seen.  Unfortunately they don't realize God is watching.
  6. Our doors are open.  Unless you come in late or too early or want to steal our sound equipment.
  7. Our hearts are open - most likely due to our love of holy food and the doctors willing to open them up and fix them.
  8. Some of us love to sing but that doesn't mean we can.
  9. Some of us are tippers.  Others are tithers.  If you can get the government to stop talking about money, maybe we will too. (but Jesus didn't so that would be hard for us to do)
  10. Apparently some churches have a dress code but only a select few know about it.  The rest are free to dress as they wish.
Maybe if I had more than twenty seconds I could have gotten a few of these across to the Sam's guy.  But maybe, just maybe, he's an avid blogger and I can correct my fault.

Genesis 15:6
And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.


Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Can I pass for your sister?


When I first started in youth ministry, I was often asked where the Youth Pastor was.  I specifically remember taking two sixth graders to a service project and being mistaken for one of them.  

It happened.  It was embarrassing at the time but something I replay in my head now when I see a new wrinkle.

I wasn't surprised when that stopped happening as much as that I immediately when from being mistaken for a youth to being mistaken for a youth's mom.  While that doesn't bother me anymore (I know have a child in sixth grade), it did bother me when it first happened.  I guess age - no matter what the circumstances - will always bother women.

So when I started at Hopewell and began to visit some of the kids for lunch at school, I had one youth say that people would probably think that I was her mom because we both had blond hair.  As much as I would like to have her gene pool (she is slim, beautiful and talented), I really would have preferred to be mistaken for her older sister than her mom.  So i started telling everyone who asked that I was her sister.  For the most part people would be polite to me and realize I was crazy when this youth would roll her eye and say very loudly, "NO SHE'S MY YOUTH PASTOR!"  After that it became a marketing tool.  It was easier to spread the word when youth made and outburst about who I was thereby giving me an in to say something youth group related without crossing the scary church/state boundary that scares so many.

But the moment that thrilled me the most was when I was at the middle school with a different youth and a 7th grader came up to her and asked if I was her sister.  It happened and now I have something else to replay in my head (of course I did suggest that this youth's friend may need a trip to the eye doctor).

I don't think I look anything like my picture from 8th grade above but I do think I have kept a portion of my young heart in tact so that I'm still fun and faithful (even if it is only in my mind sometimes).

Psalm 103:5
He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!

Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, January 16, 2012

What are you doing for others?








A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan.

Have we not come to such an impasse in the modern world that we must love our enemies - or else? The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or else we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.


In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?'

Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Doubter's Prayer




THE DOUBTER'S PRAYER
by: Anne Bronte (1820-1849)
      TERNAL Power, of earth and air!
      Unseen, yet seen in all around,
      Remote, but dwelling everywhere,
      Though silent, heard in every sound;

      If e'er thine ear in mercy bent,
      When wretched mortals cried to Thee,
      And if, indeed, Thy Son was sent,
      To save lost sinners such as me:

      Then hear me now, while kneeling here,
      I lift to thee my heart and eye,
      And all my soul ascends in prayer,
      OH, GIVE ME--GIVE ME FAITH! I cry.

      Without some glimmering in my heart,
      I could not raise this fervent prayer;
      But, oh! a stronger light impart,
      And in Thy mercy fix it there.

      While Faith is with me, I am blest;
      It turns my darkest night to day;
      But while I clasp it to my breast,
      I often feel it slide away.

      Then, cold and dark, my spirit sinks,
      To see my light of life depart;
      And every fiend of Hell, methinks,
      Enjoys the anguish of my heart.

      What shall I do, if all my love,
      My hopes, my toil, are cast away,
      And if there be no God above,
      To hear and bless me when I pray?

      If this be vain delusion all,
      If death be an eternal sleep,
      And none can hear my secret call,
      Or see the silent tears I weep!

      Oh, help me, God! For thou alone
      Canst my distracted soul relieve;
      Forsake it not: it is thine own,
      Though weak, yet longing to believe.

      Oh, drive these cruel doubts away;
      And make me know, that Thou art God!
      A faith, that shines by night and day,
      Will lighten every earthly load.

      If I believe that Jesus died,
      And waking, rose to reign above;
      Then surely Sorrow, Sin, and Pride,
      Must yield to Peace, and Hope, and Love.

      And all the blessed words He said
      Will strength and holy joy impart:
      A shield of safety o'er my head,
      A spring of comfort in my heart.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Honor thy t-shirt...honor thy bag



My first sermon at Hopewell UMC was based on commandment #5 - Honor Your Mother and Father - a controversial one for a youth minister to start with.

I'm not sure how many of you remember but a large majority of youth act like they don't like their parents.  Some actually don't and the others know that it is uncool to show that you really do like them so for me to actually preach that you should respect your parents could put me in the "preachy" adult category instead of the "cool" adult category.

I actually said this at the start of my sermon but then did something that I consider pure genius.  I described to all of the parents a very real example of why they really are "uncool."

Since I'm a mom, I decided to pick on them first.  I explained how as women mature their handbags do as well.  When you are young you usually start with a toy purse and then graduate up to a trendy bag perhaps with a brand name.  When you get to college you usually transition into a wallet on a string - just to be practical but you also keep your stash of trendy bags for different occasions.  Upon graduation you have reached the level of professional bag that holds purse-like items and a laptop. Mommy-hood then brings on a plethora of diaper bags to choose from.  Once said baby reaches diaper freedom the bag transitions into large purse (because diaper bags are uncool if there are no diapers in them).  The large purse contains a variety of toys to keep said child occupied in any situation as well as the mandatory "germy juice" aka hand sanitizer. (of course if you were a child of the 90's your mom probably just had wet wipes and if you were a child of the 80's or earlier your mom had tissues and spit). Finally you graduate to the old lady handbag.  This is usually a leather-like bag that is not too big and not too small but seems to hold endless things that you might randomly need (like dental floss or a small drugstore).

Not to be unfair - I picked on the men as well.  Men have the evolution of t-shirts.  While it may not be as sophisticated as the handbag evolution it is still telling that men go from rock concert t-shirts to fraternity t-shirts and stay there until the dates on the t-shirts show the world how old they really are.  Then they move onto the final stage which is a plain white t-shirt (that can still tell your age by counting the bbq and pit stains present on said shirt).

Apparently my sermon had an impact.  Not because I had someone tell me that they now had new respect for their parents.  Instead I had someone tell me that they went home to change when they realized they were about to pick up their child in their plain white T and didn't want someone to guess their age.

I may not be able to transform someone's heart, but at least I can transform someone's wardrobe. 

Matthew 6:25
"If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.

Until Everyone Hears,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

How to get into heaven...


I have one youth who is in 6th grade and may be smarter that I'll ever be.  She's really surprised me with some of her thoughts and questions.  So if you're looking for a future genius, I know where one is.

One of her favorite questions is the "if I do _______, will I get into heaven?"  Or sometimes she'll pose it like, "suppose someone _______, what happens when they die?"

Some of these questions are easy to answer.  Such as, "say someone is a serial killer and they ask for forgiveness and give their life to God right before they die?"  You may not like the answer but if they truly do repent and love God then of course they'll go to heaven.

Other questions are not so easy.  What about suicide?  What about people who say they believe but don't act like it? Or people who say they don't believe but really do?

All great questions and ones that we won't really ever know until we die as well.  So what did I tell her?

The simple answer is that God looks at your heart.  If your heart is moving toward God, then you are in.  Perhaps there are things such as mental illness or other situations that prohibit you from moving toward God that I'm sure God takes into account.

The thing about God is He's a God of grace.  Grace isn't something we earn or deserve but God gives it to us anyway.  Do I think there are people in heaven who were bad on earth?  I sure hope so because I hope to be one of them.  I'm not 100% good.  I've done some bad things but I understand the God forgives and loves me anyway.

Maybe I can't write that like a genius would but maybe someday when this youth is older she can explain it to me.

1 Samuel 16:7
But God told Samuel, "Looks aren't everything. Don't be impressed with his looks and stature. I've already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart."

Until Everyone Hears,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

You're pretty funny for an old lady...


I enjoy going on car rides with the youth group.  When they are in your car three possible things can happen: 

1) They can totally ignore you and you get some peace and quiet for a bit.
2) They actually talk to you more than they would if you were sitting next to them waiting for church to start or
3) They talk to each other and forget that you are there and reveal things that you didn't know before.

This happens in families as well.  It is one of the key times that you can actually get your point across as a parent.

I was excited to be able to drive some kids to our youth Christmas party.  I had a eclectic group in the car and for the most part they made fun of my driving on the way to the party.  But on the way home they were more at ease and relaxed.  I'm not sure what we were discussing but apparently I made them laugh because from the back I hear (clearly I might add), "You're pretty funny for an old lady!"

I almost wrecked the car right there. 

"What did you call me?!!??!??"

With no attempt to apologize or even back pedal, she repeated the remark.  I started to stew.  I almost got upset.  When I started youth ministry, I would often get mistaken for one of the kids!

Then when we got back I asked her, "How old do you think I am?"  With immense joy I heard, "Oh I dunno, 36?"

A full three almost four years younger than I actually am.  I could have chosen to be upset that she considered me old (and that she considered 36 old) but I chose to focus on the fact that she guessed younger.

She may now be my favorite youth.

Youth may be admired for vigor, but gray hair gives prestige to old age.


Until Everyone Hears,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What's the deal with the sock monkeys?


The story with the sock monkeys goes like this..


Once upon a time, there was little girl named Shannon who had a wonderful pink blankie that she loved dearly. The blankie went everywhere with her.  She slept with the blankie.  She played with the blankie.  She often ate with the blankie.  They made a great pair.


That is until the one day that the blankie and Shannon had to part ways.  The blankie had to go to the farm where there were other blankies and lots of room for the blankies to play outside.


Given that the blankie was not returning, Shannon went into her room and felt every stuffed animal and lovie to see if there could be a replacement for her beloved blankie.  Although there was no match in color and size, there was a familiar texture and feel to her special sock money made just for Shannon with an "S" embroidered onto his hat.


After that moment, the sock monkey went everywhere with her.  She slept with the sock monkey.  She played with the sock monkey.  She often ate with the sock monkey.  They made a great pair.


As she got older and the sock monkey went to the animal farm where he could play with other sock monkeys, Shannon never forgot her sock monkey.  And when she was able to buy one of her very own, she purchased a sock monkey, and then another, and then another.  For it reminded her of a time in her youth when she felt safe and secure and happy.


When Shannon became a youth minister, she decorated her offices with sock monkeys.  It reminded her that with God she can feel safe and secure and happy.  However, some of her youth now think that she is crazy and have pointed out that sock monkeys are really almost as creepy as clowns are to some people.


I guess its true.  You sometimes can't win for loosing.


The Master stood by me and helped me spread the Message loud and clear to those who had never heard it. I was snatched from the jaws of the lion! God's looking after me, keeping me safe in the kingdom of heaven. All praise to him, praise forever! Oh, yes!  -2 Timothy 4:16


Until Everyone Hears,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Here's your pot



Its no fun to be a youth minister if you can't have some fun with the students every once in a while.


One night, due some restaurant synergy, one of the families at the church called to invite my family to dinner.  There's really more to it than that, but its a bit boring and involved scheming from all children involved and many texts back and forth and only was accomplished because the men of the house would not be home for dinner that night.


So I indoctrinated them into our favorite Chinese restaurant.  I have known the owners of She's Bistro in Peachtree City since I was seven.  They were the first Chinese food I had so it is difficult for me to compare Chinese food to anything else.  Sure there are some other really great Chinese restaurants out there but She's is my standard so I keep going back.  Plus I've gotten my middle child hooked on their spicy tuna rolls (I know those are Japanese) so we just keep coming back.


Enough plugging.  We all ordered and made conversation while we waited for our food to arrive.  We were a large group so it took a bit longer than if it had been a single family.  


Then came words that every youth minister wants to hear, "Man I'm hungry... (too much of a pause here made the next line so much funnier)... I REALLY want my POT!"


The high schooler from the other family had ordered basil chicken pot (it come in a cool pot as pictured above).


Perhaps you had to be there, but we were almost literally ROFL.  We continued "L-ing" for quite sometime and when her order did appear and the waitress said, "Here's your pot."  It made us all laugh again.


Its great to have private jokes with people and even better when you can share them with the world.  


So if you ever hear me say "Here's your pot."  You now know that of which I speak.



Romans 12:14

The Message (MSG)

 14-16Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.


Until Everyone Hears,

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Baggage

I've used this illustration before.  Thanks to my good friend Turff for introducing me to The Skit Guys.  They have a really cool ministry.  Happy Sunday Everyone and I hope the airlines loose your baggage (although I think that this is probably something only you and God can do).




Until Everyone Hears,

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Passion Conference


It was great to get some texts this week from some "youth" who are no longer "youth" who attended the Passion Conference.  I was thrilled to hear about how these college students had their hearts transformed for mission and how they all came together.  When one of my bud "BBGUN" got back, she came to visit me and described how awesome this particular worship experience was (see video below).  It must have been even more spectacular in person!






From 11alive.com  -


"In lines that snaked down the hallways of the Georgia World Congress Center, students waited their turn to give their own money that will go toward organizations working to prevent, rescue and restore those who've suffered.
The goal was a million dollars.
Remember, many a college student has been known to search beneath couch cushions for burger change. Not this week. By 3:30 Wednesday afternoon the goal had already been reached with thousands still in line to give."


Last I heard they'd collected over 3 million.

Until Everyone Hears,

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