We see what we look for.
Parents look for their children in the crowd, perfectionists look for flaws and errors and shopaholics are tuned to sale signs. Accountants look for the bottom line, artists and photographers notice perfect light and cynics look for reasons to not trust. Lovers look for the one who holds their heart, truth seekers look for shades of meaning and critics look for reasons to vent. The truth is as simple as it is obvious; we see what we look for.
Do it long enough and it becomes more than a habit; the practice becomes our reputation. We can easily think of people who are sensitive to certain types of stimulus. We know, even if they don’t, that they will react to specific things. Their heart will beat faster and words will flow uncontrollably. Negatively, it is why we avoid certain people, unfriend them on Face Book, and
limit contact. Positively it is why we like to have coffee with some people or enjoy hearing their voice when the phone rings. We see what we look for and it impacts our lives and reputations, whether we know it or not.
So, when it comes to Christmas, what do you look for?
Most of us fall somewhere on the Ebenezer Scrooge scale between “bah humbug” and “God bless us everyone”. We tend to either be tired of the hype, commercialization and selfishness of the season or we tend to experience a warm glow from gift giving, music and children laughing with delight. I believe the difference of response is based on what we look for. If we are cynical, critical and annoyed we will notice many things that will feed our fire and remind us that it is all bah humbug! Conversely, if we believe that this is the most wonderful time of the year, we will notice many things that prompt us to declare: God bless us everyone. So, let me ask again: When it comes to Christmas, what do you look for?
We still live in a free country and you can choose to see whatever you want, but I encourage you to look beyond the negative and look for the eternal gifts of Christmas. You know what I mean: the Light, Joy, Peace, Love and the Hope of God. You can easily see them if you train yourself to look for them. If you do, you will avoid the bah humbugs and see instead reasons to declare God bless us everyone! Need some help? Plan to attend every Sunday through Advent and remember: you will see what you look for.
Nov 29 – Looking for Light? Communion will be served
Dec 6 - Looking for Joy? SBC’s Children’s Choir will serve
Dec 13 – Looking for Peace?
Dec 20 - Looking for Love?
Dec 27 – Looking for Hope? One Service at 10 AM
After doing hundreds of events over my time as “the youth guy”, I know that not every event we do will be the GREATEST EVENT ever.
(me as a newbie)
In my newbie years this used to concern me. I was convinced that the next event needed to be bigger and better than the last. I learned this philosophy at Bible College. The idea was an ever escalating rise in fun factor was the key to successful youth ministry. I learned how to create the big event and how to draw students into your youth ministry using these big events. This was key, if you did this well you would be a successful Youth guy. The challenge is that no one can maintain bigger and better. When the events start being less epic than your expectations the temptation is to do one of two things: 1. quit doing events or 2. go crazy trying to meet unrealistic expectations. Understanding why we do certain events is the key in maintaining a healthy standard of expectations.
The Pumpkin Olympics event is a perfect example of how we roll. This event is the brain child of Craig. There are four main activities during the night:
1. Pumpkin Carving
2. Candy bobbing in pumpkin guts
3. Mystery Buckets
4. The Trebuchet – aka. Pumpkin Thrower
The purpose for this event is to have a safe and fun event that our regular attendees can bring a friend to. It’s not a Halloween alternative or celebration event because it is almost never on Halloween. It isn’t evangelistic because we do not share the Gospel at this event. This party is all about Fun! We want the youth smiling and laughing, hyped up on sugar and excited to share what they did that night with everyone who will listen.
The second purpose of the event falls on the youth team. One of our jobs is make memories with the youth. This is why playing games and hanging out with youth is so important. The Youth Team is purposeful about making connections with friends who have come to SBC for the first time. Invite them to come again, learn their name, introduce them to us (the youth team) have fun with them. We work hard a creating a place where they can belong, be safe, have fun, and be discipled.
Please continue to pray for us, the SBC Youth team, as we build into the lives of the youth of Summerland.
(Hint: the action happens around the 30 second mark)
At this moment of writing, I am sitting in one of the lobby areas of the Banff Springs hotel at the tail end of our CBWC Pastor's Conference. What a beautiful panorama before me that lies out the window in majestic grandeur! (Check out the view from my room!) Part of this almost makes me feel guilty... considering the state of the world compared with the lavish amenities and stunning beauty that we have enjoyed these past few days.
As I consider the intentions of God in our lives; that we experience the freshness and newness of His indwelling life day after day, it causes me to anticipate His activity in every detail of life. From the tasty food on my plate, the story shared by a friend, the complaint of a congregant, the grief of a widow, the revelation offered by a speaker... or a choir of little African children, God has provided lessons and principles that prepare us for all that lies ahead.
Just ask those who hosted some of the African Children's choir members a couple weeks ago; if it added perspective and freshness to their life and family. To see the joy and wonder in those kids as they sang, danced and stated what they wanted to be when they grow up reminded me that life is meant to be lived and anticipated rather than survived or coasted through.
Freshness is characterized by newness, adventure, taking initiative, listening for a nugget, anticipating a lesson, welcoming the question of a child, gleaning truth from God's Word or even accepting correction.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold I will do something new, now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?"
Today... watch for the freshness of Kingdom life. And next time you have the opportunity, take a risk, welcome a stranger, accept a challenge, listen to a story, offer to be the conduit of God's answer to your own prayer.
Don't just 'Eat Fresh'... Live that way. It's there right in front of you.
It’s quite the question isn’t it? Depending on your circumstances it can be a positive inquiry or the aching cry from a heart that has been through too much. You can hear it come from an eager athlete or an exhausted parent. Whatever motivates you to ask it, and in whatever tone you express it, it is a question that deserves an answer; that needs an answer; that hungers for a response.
It is a question that I have heard a lot lately.
The father going through marital breakdown has asked it. The cancer patient has voiced it. The overwhelmed parent raised it. The eager follower of Christ who hungers for revival has whispered it in prayer. The pastor battling burnout and crying for personal renewal has spoken it. The confused church member who wonders about our next steps has expressed it. It is a good question to ask and it is a good question to ponder. It is however a question that I cannot answer.
I don’t know the answers to all of the now what questions that I encounter and I won’t pretend that I do. But I know Someone who does and I have been asking Him that question a lot these days. In my times of prayer I have asked: Now what? Candidly, sometimes I ask it in eager anticipation and sometimes with simple determination. I ask it and then I listen for His voice, open myself to the promptings of the Spirit and look for repetitions in Bible readings, teachings and messages. What have I heard?
Wait and Trust.
Those are two words that God has spoken to his people in deserts and palaces, in moments of crisis and delight, and in times of heartache and eager anticipation. They are repeated again and again in the scriptures, fill the lyrics of many songs and have been spoken in many testimonies. Easy to say, hard to live and even harder to find contentment through; they are nevertheless what the Lord has been saying to me these days. What Now? Wait and Trust.
I do trust Him and I have learned that He makes no mistakes and wastes no experiences. He is infinitely wise and sovereign and in my journey I have found His timing to be perfect. So, I will wait and trust and I know I am in good company. David put it in words for all of us almost three thousand years ago:
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27: 13-14
Will you join me in waiting and trusting?