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Posts Tagged ‘Camp Mowana’

Well, so much for a regular update on the status of my 101 Things list.  I haven’t even been very good at keeping up the list here at the site.  I did go back and make some updates, though – so here’s what’s new with 101 Things:

#1: Call one friend a month just to catch up
I’ve done a fairly decent job of keeping up on this one, making some intentional effort to connect with friends the good-old fashioned way over the phone.  So far, three months and at least three phone calls.

#20: Read the Bible in its entirety
Thanks to seminary classes that require a fairly heavy amount of Bible-reading, I’ve been keeping up with this one.  So far: Matthew, Mark, John and Galatians (all for classes), and Philippians (during my silent retreat at Mowana)

#30: Attend 30 On-Turf Youth Events
Three PSHS varsity basketball games, one community league indoor soccer game, and a spaghetti dinner sponsored by the PSHS volleyball teams.

#43: Complete the One Hundred Pushups Challenge
I began this program at the same time as the Two Hundred Situps Challenge.  After four weeks of the program, I am currently able to do 32 consecutive pushups.  I’m hoping to be able to do 100 by the time the next few weeks are over!

#47: Tackle the Tower
Finished!  February 7th Scott and I joined a group from PLC to Tackle the Tower for Ronald McDonald House.  It may not have been my best athletic performance to date, but I did it nonetheless!

#49: Complete the 200 Situps Challenge
Finished!  After completing only four weeks of the six-week challenge, I was able to do 210 crunches on 4/5/09.  I will be finishing the last two weeks of the program and then maintaining by doing a minimum of 200 crunches three times per week.

#52: Read and Finish 101 Books
I’ve definitely been keeping busy with this one – between reading for classes and a voracious appetite for personal reading that I’ve had lately, my list now includes the following titles:

  • The Shack by: William P. Young
  • The Synoptic Problem by: Mark Goodacre
  • Mad Church Disease by: Anne Jackson
  • She Said Yes by: Misty Bernall
  • The Way of the Heart by: Henri Nouwen
  • Holy Bible, Human Bible by: Gordon Oliver
  • Eat This Book by: Eugene Peterson
  • The Last Word by: NT Wright
  • Fundamentalism and American Culture by: George Marsden
  • The Real Billy Sunday by: Lyle Dorsett
  • Crazy Love by: Francis Chan

In addition to those, I’ve got about nine more that I am currently in the middle of reading both for class, ministry and personal enjoyment.

#53: Spend an entire day in silence
Finished!  In fact, I spent two entire days in silence while on a personal silent retreat at Camp Mowana from March 22nd through 24th.

#54: Watch 101 movies I have never seen before
Added to the last list are: Wall-E, The Final Cut, and Down With Love

#82: Go one week without logging into Facebook
Finished!  And beyond a week, since I gave up Facebook for Lent, it has currently been 41 days since I was last on Facebook.

#88: Spend at least 15 days at Camp Mowana
Two down, 13 more to go!  I’m definitely hoping to make a few more silent retreats down to Mowana during this 1001 days, and hopefully a few trips with the youth group and this goal will be more than met!

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It seems hard to believe that holy week is upon us: the jubilance of the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the dramatic events of the last supper and intensity of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal, trial and passion of Christ’s death on Good Friday, the period of solemn yet hopeful waiting on Holy Saturday, and then the glorious Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead.  It is a week that covers the whole gamet of emotion and one that deserves much more of our attention than what it often receives.  Holy Week begs for pause in our lives – pause which serves to remind us that this life is not about us.

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:16-17 (The Message)

It is in the observance of Holy Week that we are to be reminded of those events on which all of eternity hangs.  Our eternal destiny is secured by our faith in this one thing: Christ crucified and Christ risen.

May we be reminded this week of the ultimate sacrifice that was paid in behalf of our sins – as Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, submitted himself to the penalty of death as the sacrificial lamb for the sins of all humankind.  May we not make light of this sacrifice but once again be reminded of the greatest gift that has ever been given.  And may we open our hands and hearts to accept that gift.

May the remembrance of Christ crucified and Christ risen capture our hearts once again during this Holy Week.

Jesus Christ, I think upon Your sacrifice
You became nothing, poured out to death
Many times, I’ve wondered at Your gift of life
And I’m in that place once again
I’m in that place once again

Once again I look upon the cross where You died
I’m humbled by Your mercy and I’m broken inside
Once again I thank You
Once again I pour out my life

Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross
Thank You for the cross, my friend

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… or perhaps I’m just settling into the “normalcy” of adulthood.

Ever since my silent retreat at Mowana last week, I’ve actually experienced some regularity in my sleeping habits.  I’ve been in bed by 11:00 almost every night and up before 9:00 (actually before 8 most days) every day.

I feel like I have a lot to say, but not the words to say it.
There’s been a lot going on in my life lately.
God is up to some big stuff, and I’m really excited about it.

That will all have to wait for another day, though.

It’s about my bed time.

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So, it’s surprising me a little bit that the transition from full-time youth ministry at Grace Lutheran Church in Fremont, OH to my current part-time position at Parma Lutheran Church has actually gotten harder instead of easier.  Back when I started in Parma, I was loving the fact that I had dropped from working 40+ hour work weeks down to 20 hours a week, but lately it’s seeming like those 20 hours are never enough.

In a lot of ways, it’s helping me identify some of the differences between  a “job” and a “vocation”.  Dictionary.com defines a “job” as “a post of employment; full-time or part time position”.  That makes sense to me… I’ve had a number of “jobs” during the course of my life: concession stand worker for the City of Mayfield Heights, filing and for Shuttler’s Uniforms, birthday party hostess for Chuck E. Cheese’s, camp counselor for Camp Mowana, and most recently Director of Youth & Education Ministries (at Grace) and Director of Youth & Young Adult Ministries (at PLC).  All of these “jobs” have fit the dictionary definition, but only the last few have qualified as fitting the Dictionary.com definition of “vocation”:

  1. a particular occupation, business, or profession; calling.
  2. a strong impulse or inclination to follow a particular activity or career.
  3. a divine call to God’s service or to the Christian life.
  4. a function or station in life to which one is called by God: the religious vocation; the vocation of marriage.

See, vocation is far more than a job.  And for me, youth ministry is far more than a job – it’s a vocation, a calling from God to pour Christ into the lives of youth, and to walk alongside them on this journey of discipleship.  So, in essence it’s a lifestyle (and I’m sure most of you in any form of youth ministry would agree with that – or any form of ministry for that matter).

So, maybe that’s my struggle in transitioning from a full-time youth ministry “job” into a part-time youth ministry “job” – my calling remains the same, and the more time I spend investing myself in that calling, the more joy I find in it.

So, what do you do when you’re confined to part-time hours in a full-time vocation?

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I’ve been really challenged and convicted the past few weeks to examine the differences between being fully present and always available.  Are the two mutually exclusive or is it possible to balance the two?  This is a tough call for me, because I am a strong believer both in being fully present to God and people and being always available to a friend, youth, family member, etc. who is in need.  I credit some of my appreciation for being fully present to my time spent working at camp and touring with Spoke Folk.  These were both situations where we were strongly encouraged to be fully present in everything that we were doing, whether porch-sitting on a Saturday with whoever was hanging around at camp, or staying up late into the night getting to know the intimate details of a friend’s life who you’ve just met.  There is power in being fully present, and I strongly feel that the best relationships develop out of being fully present (that includes relationships with God as well as with other people!).

We live in a society today that practically makes it necessary to be always available.  We carry cell phones with us at all times (and really, who turns off their cell phone anymore?), update friends with the little details of our lives using Facebook status messages and Twitter, and are connected to the internet nearly 24/7 with high-speed internet access available pretty much anywhere we go.  So, where do we draw the line?  I’ve always been one to tell my friends/youth/etc. that they can call anytime if they need something, whether that’s in the middle of the afternoon or the middle of the night.  I try to make myself as available as possible for friends, family, etc.  I make it ridiculously easy to get in touch with me (I’m a (newly) avid texter, keep my cell phone with me at all times, spend far too much time on Facebook, am nearly always connected to Instant Messenger, and even update Twitter fairly regularly).

I’ve recently been giving some kids in the youth group a hard time about texting during youth stuff – it’s not so much a problem during “official” meetings, but when we’re in the car driving to an event, or hanging out playing games, or having coffee… it seems like our culture has taught them that interrupting any conversation to answer a text message/phone call/etc. is the norm.  It struck me the other day, though, that if I’m going to keep giving them such a hard time about it, then I should probably be able to articulate my reasoning for it. Especially since I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing with friends, and even during classes (shh! don’t tell!) lately.

I’m beginning to realize that it is absolutely appropriate to be “unavailable” sometimes – healthy, even.  Where do we draw that line, though?  Part of me wants to say that if I’m with a person (hanging out, having coffee, on a date, etc.) then I’m available to that person and that person only.  But is there ever a time in which it’s appropriate to allow for interruption?  Is it even possible in today’s society to be fully present without having our attention in some way distracted?

I think I’m going to continue wrestling with this.  I’m not even sure that there’s a black and white solution (in fact, I’m sure there’s probably not).  I think it’s an important discussion to have, though – with friends, with the youth I minister to/with, with family, etc.

What do you think?

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