Have you ever been awestruck by something? Perhaps a sight that took your breath away? For me, those times come most often when I am standing on top of a mountain, gazing out into the distance at the creation God has formed. Depending on the season, creation is either lush and green, or alive with color, or waiting in the darkness to spring back to life.
I am a worrier by nature. When things go wrong, I get anxious. When things have the possibility of going wrong, I get anxious then too. So it is comforting to know that the Lord who watches over us doesn’t sleep. God doesn’t get tired. God doesn’t get anxious.
When I was in the first grade, I couldn’t seem to keep my mouth shut. I wanted to tell everyone everything all of the time. So being asked to be quiet wasn’t easy for me. One day we had a fire drill at school and our teacher instructed us to walk quietly outside. Honestly, I tried.
I always feel the weight of the ashes on my forehead on Ash Wednesday. It wasn’t until I went to a Catholic middle school that I began participating in Ash Wednesday services. From that first Ash Wednesday service until now, it never ceases to amaze me how much I feel those ashes.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth” (Matthew 5:38). Many of us live our lives in this way. All you have to do is watch the news to see people responding in this way. For example, someone is attacked and their country responds with war.
“Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” How many times did we say this to someone growing up? How many times have you heard it before? When I said this as a kid, it was because someone had said something hurtful and mean to me, and I said it to cover up the fact that those words did hurt.
When we accept Jesus, we become a light for God. Our lives change because of Jesus. When we listen to God, we are kinder to others and we show them how much God loves them. In this way, we are a light. It’s kind of like we’re all walking around with candles.
I didn’t always feel pretty as a teenager. I went through the usual gawky teen phase, with braces and acne and glasses. There were times when I wished that I looked like someone else.
Has anyone ever said to you, “Stop what you’re doing and follow me?” That’s not quite how I became a children’s minister, but it’s close. From the time I was a young teen, I knew that I wanted to be an accountant. I was good with numbers, and people who like numbers tend to be accountants.
I had a tough year when I was in the sixth grade. One of the hardest parts, though, was not having any close friends at school. I prayed and I prayed for God to help me. And God heard my prayers.
My mother loves lighthouses. She loves to collect them and she loves to visit them. So when I was growing up, every time we went to the beach, we tried to find a lighthouse.
Talk about where you see/feel the majesty of God. Maybe for you it’s when you’re staring at the ocean and you realize how amazing God is. Or maybe it’s looking out over the mountains. Or perhaps you felt the majesty of God when your children were born. Or maybe it’s when you look up at the skies and see all of the stars.
Merry Christmas! In the weeks leading up to Christmas, we have explored what each group was waiting for. Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus and, as we celebrate, we remember that Jesus waited for just the right time to enter the world.
Today we light the last purple candle. This candle is the angel candle, or the candle of love. This candle reminds us of the love God has shown us through Jesus.
Welcome to the third week of Advent! Advent is a time of preparation, when we wait and prepare for the Christ child. Each week, you will light a new candle as we recognize the things that Christ brings to this world: hope, peace, joy, and love.
Welcome to the second week of Advent! This week, our focus lies on Mary and Joseph, a couple who were waiting for the changes that come with a big transition: a new baby.
Welcome to the first week of Advent! Advent is a time of preparation, when we wait and prepare for the Christ child. Each week you will light a new candle as we recognize the things that Christ brings to this world: hope, peace, joy, and love.
It can be easy to forget our blessings. During moments of pain, anger, or sadness, it can be easy to forget all the good things we have.
Isaiah reminds us that God is our strength. When it’s hard for us to keep going, God is there, holding us up. Maybe you’re having a tough time at school. Maybe there’s a bully who keeps picking on you and you don’t know what to do anymore.
The election is this week, and for the past several months, life has felt out of control…. And in the midst of all of this name calling, mudslinging, and other awfulness, the world is at war.
For me, it is fitting that November 1st is All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is a time of remembering those who have been part of our Christian journey who are no longer with us. It’s a day to remember the people throughout the history of the church who came before us.
As a first grader, I was a pretty big talker. I loved to talk to everyone about everything. And one day we had a fire drill at school. You were not supposed to talk during the fire drill, but I did.
It’s almost Halloween, and this time of year tends to be a bit scarier than normal. People decorate their houses to look scarier, scary movies come on TV, and some people wear scary costumes on Halloween.
There have been many times that I have put off doing something because I either thought it was going to take a while or I thought it would be hard to do. For example, I tend to put off washing pots and pans after I cook because I think it’s going to take forever.
When we ask Jesus to be our friend forever, when we tell God that we know that Jesus died for us and that we want to follow God, we are committing our lives to God. We are saying that God knows better than we do and that we will listen to God and follow what God tells us to do. We will act like Christ by following God.
When I was a kid, my stepdad promised he would take us to Europe. Years went by and eventually he and my mom got a divorce. And in that whole time, he never took us to Europe. He didn’t keep his promise. He meant well when he promised to take us, but he couldn’t make it happen.
When I was a kid, I wanted to pray for everyone. Every night as we said prayers at bedtime, I always added “God bless the whole world.” Every time we had prayer request time at GAs, one of my requests was for “the whole world.” Looking back, I realize that it may have been a little silly.
It has been fifteen years since September 11, 2001. For many of us, that was the day that the world changed. It seems like we lost something that day: a feeling of safety and that everything would be fine.
As a teenager, I didn’t always feel pretty or worthwhile. There were many times when I doubted myself, particularly as a middle schooler. I had braces and I had to get glasses in middle school, and it was an awkward time.
Have you ever helped someone you didn’t know? Or has someone come into your life at just the right time and it felt like they were sent from God? Pick one of these times to talk about with your family.
Sometimes we lose sight of our purpose. We get so caught up in what we’re supposed to do and in the rules that we forget how much God helped people and how He calls us to help others.
Tell your family’s story of faith. If your ancestors were immigrants, your family faith story may begin with something like “by faith my great-great-great grandparents left the home and land they knew and came to America in search of a better life.”
These days, it seems like every time you turn on the TV, there’s news that something bad has happened. And now, with the presidential election only a few months away, it seems like everybody thinks they have that one solution that will keep us safe.
As an only child for seven years, there have been times in my life when I wasn’t great at sharing. Even now, I want to make sure someone is going to take really good care of my stuff before I let them borrow anything.
Jesus says to ask God for what we need. He tells us to be bold and ask! Here’s the thing: it never hurts to ask for something. You may ask your parents for a new Xbox One and they may say no.
I like to be busy. If I’m watching TV or even a movie, I want to also being doing something else so that I don’t feel like I’m wasting time. So when I watch a movie or TV show at home, I also find myself looking at Facebook, my email, or even playing an online game like Candy Crush.
As a young teenager, I went with my youth group to a soup kitchen one Saturday morning to feed the homeless. Several of my friends were going, and I wanted to have fun with my friends.
We recently finished Everest VBS. As the leader of Base Camp Sing and Play as well as Summit Celebration, I was known as a Sherpa. A Sherpa is an expert guide on Mount Everest whose job it is to guide climbers safely up and back down Everest.
One of my favorite stories of giving comes from one of the children at church. At six years old, she received a dollar from the tooth fairy for losing a tooth. But she didn’t use that money to buy something for herself.
I was always terrified of storms as a child. The thunder scared me the most, and my mom could never convince me that the thunder couldn’t hurt me.
Have you ever had to wait for something that you were sure was going to happen? You wait with nervous anticipation, excited and scared at the same time. I went to Paris when I was 16.
I was at school when I got the call that she was gone, and a friend of mine found me crying in the hallway. He comforted me and then we went our separate ways.
God is different from everything else in our universe. He is the Creator, and the only One who is holy. I am most reminded of God’s holiness during communion and during Holy week.
When we were kids, my sister hated school. She didn’t want to do her homework or study, and so there were a lot of times when she didn’t understand things. But when she was in Middle School, she had a really hard time with math.
Several years ago on a weekend retreat, I gathered with a group of teenagers in a dimly lit room to share an Agape Love Feast. Earlier, we had set up the room with candles, a plate of bread, and a large cup of grape juice.
I love birthdays. I love celebrating my birthday and celebrating other people’s as well. There’s something about a birthday. One of my favorite birthday celebrations actually took place at camp.
New chapters are exciting, but also a bit scary. Moving to college was an important step for me, and it was part of being able to do things on my own. The disciples face a new chapter of their own that begins in the book of Acts.
In November 2014, a 90-year old pastor was arrested in Florida for feeding the homeless. You read that correctly: he was arrested for trying to help the homeless. The city of Fort Lauderdale passed a law saying that it was illegal to share food in public.