Monday, December 31, 2007

Spring Calendar, updated

Feb. 8th Wyld Life 7-9pm LCS gym
Feb. 10th F.I.S.H. 7-9pm at the Webb’s
Feb. 17th X-Factor 7-9pm Block House
Feb. 24th X-Factor 7-9pm Block House

Mar. 1st Liberty Family Ski trip (tubing trip?) 8am-8pm
Mar. 2nd Parent’s meeting 9:30pm fellowship hall
Mar. 9th Wyld Life leadership 7-9pm Block House
Mar. 15th Wyld Life 7-9pm LCS gym
Mar. 16th F.I.S.H. 7-9pm (place TBA)
Mar. 23rd X-Factor 7-9pm Block House
Mar. 30th X-Factor 7-9pm Block House

April 6th Wyld Life leadership 7-9pm Block House
April 11th Wyld Life 7-9pm LCS gym
April 13th F.I.S.H. (place TBA)
April 20th X-Factor 7-9pm Block House
April 25th-26th Family 30-hour Famine (more info. TBA)
April 27th Wyld Life Leadership 7-9pm Block House

May 2-4 Youth Retreat to Camp Sandy Cove $100
May 11th X-Factor 7-9pm Block House
May 16th Wyld Life 7-9pm LCS gym
May 18th F.I.S.H. 7-9pm (place TBA)
May 25th Parents’ Meeting 9:30am in the Fellowship Hall
May 25th X-Factor 7-9pm Block House

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wyld Life Dec. 15th

Have you ever been lectured by someone? That wasn’t a teacher? That wasn’t your parent? That was a Christian? Trying to convert you?

Yeah, so one time I traveled down into D.C. to meet a friend. He didn’t care what I had to say. He didn’t care about the person I was trying to help. He seemed to want another notch in his religious belt. This is how many people perceive followers of Jesus. And why wouldn’t they if this is their only experience with followers of Jesus. But lets see if Jesus himself is like that? Does he care about other people? Is he just interested in another notch in his religious belt?

Here’s a story about Jesus:
Mark 3:1 Another time he went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, "Stand up in front of everyone." 4 Then Jesus asked them, "Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?" But they remained silent. 5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

Who knows what runescape is? It’s a free online multiplayer game where you complete quests and get items and try to advance your character to new levels so that you can compete with more skilled people.

You know some people treat religion like a game. They want to level up in following Jesus, they want to do the tougher tasks so that they can get more points, more status, hang out with holier people. They want to look down on the “newbs” and the “have-nots.” But following Jesus isn’t at all like that.

That’s what the Pharisees, the religious conservatives, were doing in this passage. They were using their religion to congratulate themselves and to look down on others.
Am I using religion to put others down and congratulate myself? I want to talk to the most religious people in here. In middle school, I was lame. I wasn’t really smart, I wasn’t really funny, I wasn’t really good-looking, I wasn’t really rich, I wasn’t really talented at anything. So it’s understandable in high school that I turned to religion for my identity. And especially in college, I identified myself as the guy who knew-better-than-you. And yet, as I learned about Jesus, I started to learn that he cared about those people that I was putting down. He wasn’t interested in righteousness as a way to have moral authority over other people. He wasn’t interested in a righteousness at other’s expense. He was interested in a righteousness that built others up instead of tearing them down.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


A couple quick announcements:

Dec. 15th: Wyld Life from 7-9pm in the LCS gym
Dec. 16th: No youth group, come to the Christmas Concert with your family
Dec. 23rd: Family Caroling starting at Oakland Manor at 6:15pm. Then we will split up into groups and go caroling in the local neighborhoods. Pick-up at the church at 8pm.
Dec. 30th: Guys sleepover at the block house 7pm-10am. Bring a snack and your airsoft equipment. High school girls sleepover at Erin Weitzel’s house 7pm-10am bring a snack. Middle school girls sleepover at Erin Donnely’s house 7pm-10am bring a snack.

christmas party talk

My favorite scripture to think about during Christmastime (or just about anytime really) is Phillipians 2:5-11 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore god has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This scripture gives us the bigger picture of what was happening that first Christmas. It gives us a glimpse of God’s plan to save the world.

Sometimes we can get frustrated by the progress of God’s plan to save the world. “If God is God,” we think, “the world should be saved by now.” So we think up better ways to help God’s plan of salvation to reach more people and convince more people to follow Jesus. Let me present to you two such plans:

First, everyone loves retreats and conferences, especially if they’re held at a cool venue. What cooler venue could there possibly be than heaven. They’ve got to have great accommodations: I’ve heard mention of mansions. They’ve got to have great food: I’ve heard mention of feasting. And they’ll have great music: I’ve never heard angels singing but I bet it’s impressive. So what better way could there be to convince people to follow God and accept his salvation than to take them to a conference in heaven. I was thinking at least give them a weekend to give them a taste of what’s to come if they sign up. So I recommend that GODcon 2008 be held in heaven. I think we’d see a lot more people coming to Jesus that way.

Secondly, scared straight programs seem to work wonders for more recalcitrant (bad) youth. Therefore I recommend that God implement a field trip to hell. Potential believers could be ushered down to the lake of fire to feel the heat from the ever-burning fires. For legal reasons I don’t suggest they actually endure torture but maybe one of the demons could demonstrate torture techniques on a current denizen of hell. This could really scare some people into believing in God and trusting in Him for their salvation.

But God didn’t do either of these things. Instead of bribing people with heaven or threatening them with hell, God came quietly, meekly, humbly to show how much he really cares about people. He came to experience the bad things we experience and to show us how to overcome. He came to be with us, to live with us and to walk with us. He came without all the trappings of glory and without all the threats of punishment so that he could see how we really felt about God.

If you’re wondering how you fit into God’s plan of salvation let me suggest one thing. Humble yourself. Don’t threaten God, he’s not trying to threaten you. Don’t try to buy God, he didn’t try to bribe you. Humble yourself before God. Try to imagine what life is like for God…and submit to him. How do you convince others to accept God’s plan of salvation? Instead of only trying to bribe non-Christians with empty promises that following God is only cool, fun, and happy… humble yourself before them. Because many times following God means suffering. Instead of trying to threaten people that they’re going to hell if they don’t shape up… humble yourself before them. Help people understand that God humbled himself for them by demonstrating it in your actions.

For me this means… listening to others opinions of me. Hearing people that are trying to give me advice. Honoring authorities over me even if I don’t like them. Trying to help people by trying to understand them on their own terms. Admitting weaknesses I have so that others can help me. Complimenting others instead of putting them down. Looking first to the interests of others rather than my own interests.