Hey everybody! November 2016
I hope this letter finds you happy and healthy today. We've enjoyed a nice long Fall, but now that Winter is finally here, it is a mess. We have colds, sneezes, and fender-benders as far as the eye can see. You all be careful out there! However, despite all that, we have had another good month around here with a God-honoring activities.
One of the things I've been excited about recently is a slight up-tick in the number of students making it from the campus ministry to the church building. We have several of our students who come all the time, but this month we had a couple of new faces visit. I'm trying to foster as much overlap between the congregation and the campus ministry as I can, so it is great to see that start to come together in a small way.
Our biggest event in November was the Gillette Youth Rally. I got the honor of being the keynote speaker this year. D.j. Hayden, Kyle Rogers, and Pete Idema taught classes as well and Josh Walker lead us in worship. The theme was “Spiritual Spinach: Looking at the Scriptures with Popeye the Sailor Man.” You can see some giant cans of spinach in the first picture and some of their costumes in the second one.
It was a fantastic time; those Gillette folks throw a great youth rally. And I now know way more about Popeye than ever before. The theme verses was 1 Corinthians 15:10 which says:
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them - yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”
- 1 Corinthians 15:10
The idea was to use Popeye's old saying,“I y'am what I y'am and that's all that I y'am, I'm Popeye the Sailor Man” to illustrate what Paul was talking about when he said, “But by the grace of God, I am what I am.” Both guys had a clear vision of who they were and what gives them strength.
So Friday we talked about finding our strength in the grace that Jesus gives us. Saturday we talked about avoiding evil and practicing spiritual disciplines as a way to grow closer to God and cultivate that strength. And Sunday we talked about how no one lives up to the picture-perfect “Good Christian” image that we have built for ourselves, but that God still uses us despite and through our failings. It was all very grace-oriented and I was happy to be a part of it.
As a side note, the Sunday of the youth rally, my car was destroyed. There were no injuries, thankfully. I was asleep in the house while my car was parked on a quiet residential side road on a clear and sunny Sunday morning. A 17-year-old in a Hummer, with no insurance, came around the corner going fast enough to total my car, throw it into the car in front of me, and throw that car 30 or 40 ft down the road into a fourth car. It was a mess. I wanted to end the youth rally with a bang, but that wasn't at all what I had in mind. The Gillette folks were very gracious though and invited me to come back and crash at their place any time I liked. The moral of the story is, be careful when parking on quiet residential side streets.
After that, things quieted down around here a bit and it was business as usual. I helped out with the Faith youth night again, which is going great. There are a lot of folks with big hearts out there and they are working hard for those teens. They started planning a Teen Lock-In for December and are talking about having Thomas and I head out that way for that one too. I ran another Bible study or two with our group and we are just about done with the book of Luke. Our “Let's Start Talking” team started putting their fund raising plans into action. Then everyone headed to their homes for Thanksgiving and I got in some quality family time, which it also important.
Around the same time, the students and I were planning our “End Of The Semester/Christmas Party.” We were having trouble scheduling it since December gets super crowded with finals and parties and travel and all that. Several of our students couldn't make it no matter when we put it in December. So we decided to have it on the last Monday of November and it was a lot a fun. We played that gift exchange game and, for the first time ever, no one stole a single gift from anyone else and most everyone was happy about what they got. It was crazy!
The coolest part of these little parties is watching the atheists, the believers, and the unsure all hanging out playing happy wholesome games together. There is something holy about that.
Anyway, thanks for reading and you have a great day!