June 2016

Hey all,

The school year approacheth! The summer is flying by, as per the usual. Here is a quick summary of the events of the summer around here, starting with June.

First, I wrapped up Wednesday night lesson series on “The Art Of Neighboring” with an in-depth study on communion. Sarah was teaching a ladies class on “The Theology Of Food,” so for the last class we combined them and talked about where food and neighbors meet, which is communion. It went great and was a good end to that series.

Then I launched into a funny kind of a series with our college students for the summer. Summers are always hit-or-miss with attendance, but we have a half dozen or so students still in town, so we kept our weekly studies rolling. I asked what they wanted to talk about the answer was “Hell,” of all things. They also wanted to know how Dante's “Inferno” colors our view of Hell today, which is a random sort of a study, but that's what they wanted to know. So, as quirky as it is, I ran with that ball and we had a “Hit Or Miss Dante's Inferno Vs The Biblical Description Of Hell Summer Series.”

It was just as weird as you are imagining right now, but it did serve as a good springboard into tackling the topics of God's justice, God's mercy, free will, and the whole negative side of eternity, which is a hot topic with young folks today. Our “Everyone Gets A Medal” culture often runs into trouble with Hell, so it was a good study.

The real big news from June was Faith's Vacation Bible School. Every year Faith puts on a Vacation Bible School that draws around 100 people in a town of 500, so it is always a big event. They drive a big hay wagon around town and pick the kids up at the start of the evening, then they have classes, skits, songs, homemade snacks, and then they load them up on the hay wagon again and drive around town dropping everybody back off. It is loads of fun!

The Shiloh Road Church Of Christ youth group came up again this year and helped out. They brought their new youth minister, Kyle Graham, on his first trip to Faith's VBS. I taught the teens again this year with the help of Cody Skogen and Tony Garza. The topic was Joseph's rise “From Prison To Palace” and covered the themes of trust and hope.

We had a pretty good time of it. For one class, I brought out some flash paper. We all wrote things that we've done that we wished we hadn't, sins and failures and that sort of thing, and watched them disappear in an instant in the face of God's grace (and a lighter). You've never seen kids so engaged with a class. One girl jumped up and screamed when her paper flared up, burned bright, and disappeared without a trace, just like our sins. And isn't that a lovely thought for all of us?

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

-Psalm 103:11-12

After the VBS, it was a fairly quiet month. I took some vacation time and headed off for a family reunion for Sarah's side of the family. I started a “GoFundMe” page for our campus ministry and attached that to our new website, which is looking good by the way.

We also hosted a youth group from Topeka, KS for a couple of days. Every three years or so, the youth group from the Central Church Of Christ head up to Canada for a mission trip and stop over in the Black Hills for a couple of days on the way up. We set them up with beds and couches for a day or two while they stretch their legs, sight-see, and get ready for the last half of the trip north. We hosted around 20 people, so it was a bit of a job, but is always nice to reconnect with the body of Christ from elsewhere. One of the quirks of our belief in local church autonomy (that is, we don't believe there should be one big church that tells all the others what to do), is that we tend to get little removed from each other sometimes. We tend to get caught up in the here-and-now, so it is wonderful to be reminded that the body of Christ reaches across the globe. Even as far away as Kansas and Canada!

Anyway, that's all for now. You have a great day!