Baby Gangnam Style

My wife (Hi dear!) mentioned seeing this video on Facebook the other day. I didn’t see it until today when someone tweeted it. The baby dancing is pretty funny, but the sibling’s reaction is what cracks me up. Enjoy!

The Value of a Retreat

This past weekend was spent at our local church camp at the annual junior high retreat. The picture shows the majority of our group (missing a couple of adults) and we are portraying the theme for the weekend – “Deuces.”

The speaker spent the weekend speaking out of two main passages – 2 Corinthians 5 and 1 Peter 2. The two “2s” were the “deuces” and he did a great job challenging the students (and adults!) to not just live for self, but for God and for others.

As I thought about our time at the retreat, I thought of the value of retreats. I’ve been on a number of retreats through my youth ministry experience and a retreat provides several things regular church programming/events don’t always do.

At a retreat, your group has a chance to be put in a new environment. Even if the environment is familiar (like our church camp), there is disconnection with things at home (tv, cell phones, computer, etc.).  You get to spend a day and a half with brand new people.  Staying two nights in a dorm is a different environment for our students and is a change of pace (even if the mattresses aren’t overly comfortable),

A retreat also provides new experiences.  Usually there are some large-group challenges or games that bring about teamwork among the groups.  Our camp gives us the opportunity to ride a zip-line, swing on a giant swing or play ga-ga or nine-square-in-the-air.

At a retreat our students get to hear different voices.  Normally the speaker and leaders aren’t people our students know very well.  The speaker’s style and the layout of the retreat is different from what they experience at church, so it brings a different perspective.

Retreats also create new memories.  Students remember throwing paper wads at each other or the time one of the students fell into the water while on the rope swing.  Months later the students have a shared memory of a time spent at a retreat and it can lead to discussions about other things.

We had a good weekend and the retreat opened up doors of conversation that may not have happened at home. We were able to sit around together at meal times and laugh together about various things, like watching hair strands fight each other.  Just spending time together as a group is a great benefit.  I know retreats have been around for years and certainly aren’t new on the ministry landscape, but it’s helpful to see the value in the time spent there.

Jesus in the Cheese Sauce

The following is a funny story to help you start your week. Those who teach youth group or Sunday School will find this especially humorous.

Last week I was listening to Kyle Idleman on a podcast from Southeast Christian Church. He gave a great message on the upcoming election and some suggestions for Christians on how we should be engaged in it. (You can view the message on the Sermons page of Southeast’s website.)

He told this particular story with the idea that, at times, Christians can force Jesus into everything we say and do. He even commented that when we are in Sunday School, if we don’t know the answer to a question, we should just say “Jesus.”  The answer “Jesus” will at least get you a sticker or gold star.

Here’s the story: He shared about a youth minister he served with in a previous ministry that wanted to talk to his students about ingredients to a good friendship. He decided to use macaroni and cheese as the object lesson and brought the ingredients on stage.

The first ingredient was butter, because butter makes everything better. Butter is kind and encouraging words.  Every relationships needs kind and encouraging words so we should have butter in our friendships.

The second ingredient was milk. Milk makes the macaroni and cheese healthy and milk makes us strong.  We need to have healthy friendships that make us stronger.

The final ingredient he talked about was the cheese sauce. So he had all the students together say “cheese sauce.” Then he had them repeat it louder and faster, “cheese sauce, cheese sauce.” Think about it for a second . . .  You got it, it’s Jesus!  Jesus is the ingredient every friendship needs.

While I certainly don’t argue we need Jesus in our relationships, sometimes we work too hard to find Jesus in the cheese sauce.  Hope that story made you smile.

Funny Tape Prank

Got a link to this video in an email today.  On Wednesday nights we’ve been talking about having solid friendships that can help us deal with temptations.  Friends need to have some fun, too, so thought this video would be a good transition.  We’re showing it tonight. So, probably should watch the doorways you walk through tomorrow!