Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blast From The Past


I was tagged by Margaret over at GoGo's World to do this fun meme (originally started by Lindsay.) It's so neat, because I used to post SO much stuff... before anyone was reading my blog besides my mom and my sweet friend Holly. I originally started this blog to keep everyone up on our travels and to post updates on my sweet 12-year-old daughter as she traveled without her parents in China last summer. For 5 weeks. (Oh, how I needed y'all then!!) Once I had my blog it just became the overflow of my brain. Now that a couple more of you are reading it, it would mean SO much to me for you to read some of what I've written in the past!


Instead of posting links, I've reposted the posts here so there's not a lot clicking involved for you... just s-c-r-o-l-l-i-n-g. There are four categories: Funny, Serious, Ugly, and All About Me.


Funny:

originally aired July 17, 2006



This afternoon I read the book The Purse-Driven Life by Anita Renfroe. (SO funny! Short, and perfect for a quick, summer-afternoon read, when it's too hot to think too deeply...) In it, she quotes this poem, written by an unknown author and an obvious take-off on the much loved "Footprints" poem. Although I hadn't see it yet, I Googled it and found it all over the internet!


Buttprints in the Sand


One night I had a wondrous dream
One set of footprints there was seen
The footprints of my precious Lord
But mine were not along the shore

But then some stranger prints appeared
And I asked the Lord, "What have we here?
Those prints are large and round and neat
But Lord, they are too big for feet."

"My child," He said in somber tones
"For miles I carried you alone
I challenged you to walk in faith
But you refused and made Me wait

"You disobeyed, you would not grow
The walk of faith you would not know
So I got tired and got fed up
And there I dropped you on your butt

"Because in life there comes a time
When one must fight and one must climb
When one must rise and take a stand
Or leave their buttprints in the sand."

Now, while it cracks me up (no pun intended- oh, who am I kidding, all my puns are intended) somehow it just doesn't sit well with me (ahem) . So I added to the end:

"As you sat upon the beach
You were never beyond My reach.
Your knee prints that I see beside
Remain untouched by the approaching tide

"They show you knew to call to Me
And I heard your heartfelt plea
Let Me help you to your feet
And your joy I'll make complete.

Remember, draw your strength from Me
As you battle the enemy.
You may leave buttprints in the sand
But no one can snatch you from My right hand."



Serious:

originally aired July 23, 2006


Last night, our teaching pastor delivered a message entitled, "Stars." The focus scripture was Psalm 19:


"The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge." (verses 1 & 2)

If, he pointed out, "day after day they pour forth speech," what are the stars saying?

1. He is God. (verse 1)

2. That we are not. (Isaiah 40 :25-26)

3. We are loved. (Psalm 8: 3-4)


It was an excellent, excellent message (and very timely for us as we are studying astronomy!)

As I listened, I was reminded of a similar message I heard a few months ago by Louis Giglio at a Chris Tomlin concert. There was a certain photo he showed that absolutely took my breath away, so I stayed up late last night searching the internet for it. I found it at the Hubble Site:

This image of the core of the nearby Whirlpool Galaxy, was taken with the camera on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It shows a striking , dark "X" silhouetted across the galaxy's nucleus. The "X" is due to absorption by dust and marks the exact position of a black hole which may have a mass equivalent to one-million stars like the sun.

What this looks like to me, is a reminder that "we are loved." (NASA can call it an "X" if they want... the Greek letter "chi" is a common abbreviation for "Cristos" in some New Testament manuscripts.) I love that it's due to "absorption by dust" and marks a massive black hole. My punishment was absorbed on the cross, and my sin may as well have disappeared into a black hole. What a glorious thought!

Our pastor quoted from the book, The Privileged Planet , that "Earth is located in the prime place for life, but also observation." From that he highlighted the fact that "God gave us the best platform to observe and know Him." According to the NASA website, "the [Whirlpool] galaxy is spectacular because it is tilted nearly face-on to Earth, allowing for an unobstructed view of its bright core."


Face-on.

Unobstructed view.

The best platform to observe and know Him.


This morning I am reminded afresh that the cross of Christ is a "face-on, unobstructed view" of the Father's love for us. It is the "platform by which we may observe and know Him." The cross is there, for those who will find it. And it is there to be found.





Ugly: (I categorize this as "ugly" because it was sort-of a rant)



Maybe I'm Missing Something...

originally ranted posted August 2, 2006


but is this really necessary to reach today's youth for Christ?

Don't get me wrong. I love fun. I love games. I love games with kids/youth. In fact, my husband and I coordinate the Awana club at our church which draws 400+ kids (age 3 through high school) each week, and one of the key components is the game portion of the night. We've had kids start coming for the games, then begin attending club each week, which eventually led to the entire family joining the church. Praise God! We've played games on the beach in China and in villages in West Africa. I've seen total strangers come together and, through games, build a rapport and eventually hear the saving message of the gospel. I totally get the idea of using games as outreach. But, some of it has gone too far in my opinion. And I've found out that apparently others feel the same way. Since this was on my mind this week, I did a search and found an article (in its entirety at thegoodsteward.com) that was originally published in "World Magazine" back in 2002. I think Gene Veith summarizes nicely why some of the games in today's youth groups, and one in particular that I've witnessed recently, bother me so much:

"What do teenagers learn from these youth group activities? Nothing of the Bible. Nothing of theology. Nothing of the cost of discipleship. But they do learn some lessons that they can carry with them the rest of their lives:

Lose your inhibitions. Young people usually have inhibitions against doing anything too embarrassing or shameful. These exercises are designed to free people from such hangups. For some reason, post-Freudian psychologists—whose "sensitivity groups" are the model for these kinds of exercises—maintain that such inhibitions are bad. Christians, though, have always insisted that we need to feel inhibited about indulging in things for which we should feel ashamed. This is part of what we mean by developing a conscience.
Though being "gross" may not be sinful in itself, overcoming natural revulsions can only train a child to become uninhibited about more important things.

Give in to peer pressure. Defenders of these kinds of activities maintain that they help create group unity. The way they work, though, is to overcome a teenager's inhibitions with the greater desire to go along with the group. In other words, these exercises teach the teenager to give in to peer pressure. Instead, youth groups need to teach Christian teenagers not to go along with the crowd and to stand up against what their friends want them to do.

Christianity is stupid. Status-conscious teenagers know that those who are so desperate to be liked that they will do anything to curry favor are impossible to respect. Young people may come to off-the-wall youth group meetings, but when they grow up, they will likely associate the church with other immature, juvenile phases of their lives, and Christianity will be something they will grow out of.

Teenagers get enough entertainment, psychology, and hedonism from their culture. They don't need it from their church. What they need—and often yearn for—is God's Word, catechesis, and spiritual formation."© World Magazine, 2002. To learn more about World, visit the magazine’s web site at www.worldmag.com or call (800) 951-NEWS (6397).

Though I'm leery of anything labeled "contemplative" these days (another blog topic for another day!) I found a review for the book Contemplative Youth Ministry. The review (which can be found here) has some interesting observations from the book as well as thoughts from the reviewer:


"Mark writes that youth ministry has often lacked a sense of presence, that instead we’ve concentrated most of our ministries on either the anxieties of young people or the anxieties of the adults within our churches."


"When the anxieties that drive us are those of the young people, (Church is boring, God is about conformity, Christians are boring) then we create programs and events that are all about fun and recreation, the programs attempt to be culture friendly involving frozen chickens, data projectors, play stations and mystery trips but lack the deeper, prayerful and mission action of the Christian faith."


I feel I should say at this point that I really admire those who have committed to work in youth ministry. That takes a special calling and a unique set of gifts (most of which I admittedly do not have!) I am awed and humbled by some of the dynamic folks at my church who serve in our youth ministry, motivated by hearts completely on fire for the Lord. It's wonderful to see! Now that I have a "youth" of my own, our family is directly feeling the impact of those dedicated servants.


But I feel the above authors make great points. I think there is a fine line between purpose-driven outreach and anxiety-driven wackiness. When that line is crossed, the message is lost. As I read some of the ideas offered on the internet on youth ministry websites and observe some of the games at gatherings I've attended personally, I can't help but ask myself, "Is this being done to the glory of God? Can this be done to His glory? Is any of this pointing to Jesus Christ? What are we really teaching these kids?"


Does playing Butt Charades , swallowing live goldfish , or drinking nasty concoctions from a blender do a good job of teaching: "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." (1 Cor. 6:19)


Maybe I'm missing something...




All About Me:


I will post a link for this one, since it was so recent and you probably read it anyway. If you didn't, here are 5 Things You Didn't Know About Me.


Well, there you have it. If you've read this far... thank you! Now that I've found your blogs I wish, wish, wish I had known you were there all along. If anyone else does a "blast from the past" let me know, I want to see it! God is using so many of your blogs to speak to me each day.


For now, I tag Laurel, Sissy B., and Iris.

11 comments:

lrlwreath said...

Oh goodness I will work on this =)) Thanks for thinking of me.

Laurel Wreath said...

Ok I came back to read through the whole thing and the butt prints I LOVE IT!!!!!!! Actually I enjoyed reading all them, I am going to have to go archive diving, there is some good stuff there =) Working on mine now.

Kim said...

I loved learning a little bit more about you Cyndi!

Kim

eph2810 said...

I think those are wonderful posts you have dug up from the past -- I will try to do mine on Friday, but I don't think that I can come up with a funny one - because I am not funny...
The post about the 'butt-prints in the sand' is awesome and I really enjoyed your addition to it.
I loved the post about the stars - even though they say it is an X, it looks more like a cross to me...
Regarding Youth activities - I don't don't think you are missing anything. I really don't see the point in those activities. I don't remember anything like that when our son was in youth group.

Thank you for the tag - gives me a chance to look at the stuff I have posted...

Linda said...

I am trying to catch up after just one day away from the computer (whew). I didn't get to read everything yet, but I think you "blast from the past" a really neat idea. I love the poem. It, unfortunatley, is all too true. I'm glad you added a bit of "grace" to it.
The star pictures are amazing. Just looking into the heavens on a clear night is like looking at a message from the Lord.
Have a great thursday.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

That was great and I love the butt prints poem! I love the 5 things about you too. You must be cool if you have an Ipod. I'm Ipodless:) Thanks for letting us get to know you more. Very fun!

Erna said...

Those were all great posts. I loved the one about the galaxy. Okay, there was so much more that I appreciated but my brain is about to turn to mush. LOL! The number 4 (I think it was) on the 5 things you don't know . . . okay, mucus I can handle to some degree if I'm dealing with my kids noses but the cultural issue in China . . . I think that would send me running . . . or making some kind of disgusted face. Yuck!

eph2810 said...

Okay - mine is posted :) - Hope it picked some not so boring ones...

Blessings on your Friday and always...

Chris said...

I finally had a chance to read this tonight. What great posts!
My favorite though was Star Crossed. Such good stuff!

LeftCoastOnlooker said...

Great re-posts, & so much to think about. The only one I'd read before was the 5 things.

I love the way you fixed the end of that poem.

Games - I completely agree that some games teach the wrong message & are unnecessary. We work with kids, on a much smaller scale & attempt to carefully choose every game we play, rather than throwing in a game for the sake of having a game.

Barbara Lee said...

I saw this on Laurel's and Barb's blogs a few days ago and just did mine this morning. It was fun. :)

I thought the "Butt-prints" post was funny, and loved your addition.

Those NASA photos are awesome. and the Scriptural thoughts were so good.

I struggle with youth group issues, too, having had two go through youth group and one just starting. Ours isn't as out-landish as some of those things you mentioned. But I am glad I am not in youth group any more! Those are some good things to think through. I may try to find the original World article and print it out for our youth pastor. This is his first year and he's just getting started: this may help him form his philosophy of ministry.

I don't like mucus, either. I hate to pick up used tissues someone left on an end table or missed the trash can with!

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts