Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Congrats Class of 2014!

I'm pretty pumped to share a list of songs that youth workers from Stillmeadow shared with me for our graduating seniors! There's some old and new stuff here, but all inspiring and challenging. And I've included their notes to the seniors below too!

YouTube Playlist here.
Spotify Playlist here

Jesus Freak by DC Talk  (Herb)
Because that’s what you are. May your life smell like the fragrance of bacon being prepared on the campsite at Ricketts Glen. (where we went for Excursion)
Help Me Find It by Sidewalk Prophets (Bonnie)
Going out into the world on your own can be pretty scary and confusing. Ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way.  Colossians 1:9b-10

Times  by Tenth Avenue North (Aubrey)
There will always be chaos outside of you in the world, and sometimes inside of you too. I pray that you'll re-member in the "times that you doubt him (God), the times you can't feel, the times that you question that His love is real," you'll know in the deepest part of who you are that He says, "My love is over, it's underneath, it's inside, it's inbetween." All you need to do is draw near...even a millimeter...and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8). Much much love!

Speak Life by Toby Mac (Jess)
In every situation you face, you have the power to speak life or speak darkness into others. Be the light!

Broken Hallelujah by Mandisa (Chas)
There are days that you will feel like your life is "in a thousand pieces." In those moments, turn it back to praise...broken as it may be. God is a good, pieces putter-together-er.

Find your Wings by Mark Harris (Patty)
"I pray that God will fill your heart with dreams and that faith gives you the courage to dare to do great things." This world needs you to dare to do great things!

Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns (Lisa)
I praise God for all of you!

Defender by Kings Kaleidoscope (Evan)
Throughout this next step in your lives, there will be times when things simply get overwhelming. But always remember that Jesus is our defender and our redeemer. We have been redeemed not by perishable things like gold or silver, but by the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb. Through this redemption, we are free to live. Our defender in times of trouble will never leave or forsake you.

Carpe Diem by August Burns Red (Pastor Wayne)

Your Love Never Fails by Newsboys (Titus)
Just hearing the hope and promise of God when we may feel alone or defeated. His love will always be there. God will never fail us; His love endures forever. When life’s toils hit us hard, or when we have a champion’s day. God is with us and loves us every step of the way. Be strong and courageous, your heavenly father is rooting for you.

 Do Something by Matthew West (Kim Noel)
Graduates, you all have the power to do something...something that will help this World in little ways and big ways. God gave you this power, so go out and use it, and make a difference for HIS Glory!!

My Lighthouse by Rend Collective (Deb Staley)
As you leave the protective atmosphere of high school and your parent's home, may you always remember that Jesus, like a lighthouse for the seaman, will always be there shining in the darkness, waiting for you to trust in His promise and he'll be ready to carry you safe to shore no matter what the situation, He is the peace in your (and my) troubled sea of life here on earth.  One of my favorite things to do is to "go fast and far" in my boat with my family and enjoy the calming water and beautiful creating that God has provided for my pleasure and peace.  I love you and will continue to lift each of you in prayer daily.

Take Everything by 7th Day Slumber (Nate Voorhees)
Remember to do everything you do as if you are doing it for Christ, and that worship is more than a style of worship. It's the way we need to live every second of every day.

Word of God Speak by Mercy Me (Don Strausbaugh)
As all you graduates go out into your big new worlds ahead of may find yourself at some point at a loss for words where you will just need still and know that He is with you, and then rest in His holiness...daily!!! The washing of the eyes to see His majesty is another part of that song that we all would do well to remember daily also! Blessings…

More Heart Less Attack by NEEDTOBREATHE (Mike Ames)
There will be many situations in life where forgiveness and mercy aren't the knee jerk reaction as followers of Jesus. It's how we need to react.

Bring the Rain by Mercy Me (Julie Callender)
Remember that rain only makes us grow, storms make us strong, and our God will always see you through every challenge in life, and use them to grow you into Oaks of Righteousness Isaiah 61:3b It has been an honor sharing in this last year of your high school journey, only the beginning...

We Are by Thousand Foot Krutch (Matt Forsythe)
We are the hope and the light of the future. We are one together with Christ's love.

Dare You To Move  by Switchfoot (Heather Kidwell)
It's a song about having faith and acting on your faith in God while people around you may not. During those times when you're feeling alone or defeated, it reminds you that God has put you where you're supposed to be and that you are supposed to do great things and be a ministry all your own.

Lose My Soul by Toby Mac (Jade Frederick)
Always remember that you are clay in His hands...and that NOTHING this world offers can take the place of God's presence in your life & heart!

I Will Go by Starfield (Natalie Staley)
Be willing to say yes and go where God leads you and as you are following his will for your life allow him to shape and mold you into the person he has made you to be. College or the workforce is the next step of where he is leading you, allow God to use you in whatever way he wants to while you are there.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Making the Most of Your Senior Year (aka Punching Senioritis in the Face)

This post is for friends who are in their senior year of high school. 

The senior year of high school can be one of the most awesome years of your life. You’ve gotten into your niche in academics or sports or band or whatever at school.  You get to do college visits!  You get to do crazy fun stuff with really cool friends!

It can also be one of the most stressful.  There’s relational stress with friends.  There’s emotional stress as you figure out what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. There’s physical stress with late nights and big assignments and lots of activities.   And there’s that awkward tension with your parents as you try to figure out how to be an adult and they try to figure out how to let you be one.

And it can also be one of the most blah.  When some people get to their senior year there’s this weird feeling of “blah” that settles on them.  They have a hard time finding motivation to get important assignments and responsibilities accomplished.  Some people call it “senioritis.”

Whatever your year has been like so far, here are a couple tips to make the most of the rest of it.

1. Enjoy it!
With college on the horizon, it’s easy to become far-sighted during your final months of high school. That’s why you should be careful to not miss the amazing moments sitting right in front of you. Your senior year can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable years you’ve had yet. Enjoy the special times and opportunities that will surround you. Takes lots of pics and videos.  You’ll only be a high school senior once — hopefully — so get out there and make some memories.

2.     Think Long Term—Don’t  grab at short term thrills
How are you giving up long term good for a present thrill? Think about your decisions with money, school, and even sexual purity. Don’t sacrifice God’s great plan for you for a temporary pleasure. Many who are sexually active or involved in drinking or recreational drugs in high school pay a heavy price down the road.  It’s not always easy to say no, but it is worth it. You may not feel like continuing to follow Jesus and doing the right thing now, but remember, “No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). It will be worth it in the end.

3.     Leave a legacy
As your thoughts and plans become more and more focused on next year, remember that you still have work to do where you are now. You are a senior. You are a leader. God has called you to be where you are “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). Don’t try to fast-forward to college. Instead, make your senior year count. Seek God for courage and strength to make a mark for Him and leave a legacy behind you.  Find a way to make a difference and then do it!

4.     Mentor a younger student.
Remember those high school seniors you used to look up to a few years ago? Now’s your chance to be that person for someone else. Take the opportunity to build some positive relationships with those who are younger than you and to be a role model for them. Whether you’re on the football field, in the classroom or at your church, you just might be surprised who’s watching you, and you never know how much of an impact you could make on their life.

5.     Thank a mentor
There have been lots of people who have helped you get where you are.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, youth workers, have all put energy and sweat in order to help you get where you are.  Take a moment to think about who has impacted you.  And then thank them.  Tell them what it was about their life that impacted you the most.  Believe it or not, your word of encouragement might be just what they need that day.

6.     Spend quality time with your family.
You likely won’t be seeing your family as often once you move off to college, and many college freshmen are surprised by how difficult this turns out to be. When your little sister wants you to play a game of Sorry with her or your parents suggest a trip out for ice cream, say yes and cherish the time spent with them. There will be days next year when you will wish you had the opportunity to enjoy those kinds of moments together.

7.     Let Jesus be your mentor, friend and guide—PRAY A LOT
This really is the most important.  Jesus wants to involve you in His mission to redeem this world, in His plan to show his love to all people.  Do not push Him to the side in your efforts to enjoy your final year of high school.  The more you ignore Him, the easier it will be to ignore him.  But instead of that, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1b-2a) Fix your mind and your heart on Him.  Allow Him to mentor you, to be your friend and to guide you through this school year.  This means spending time in prayer, talking with him, listening to him.  As you do that, he will shape you into the person you need to be for this time and prepare you for whatever comes next.
This list has been inspired by and adapted from two interweb articles. Here they are:

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

20 Ways to Grow Spiritually with Your Teen in 2013

As I was thinking and praying about this upcoming year, I began thinking of ways that my family can grow spiritually together in the year 2013 and then I thought about ways that families at Stillmeadow can grow together too. It's important for me to say "together" because I really believe that my role as a father is not just to teach my children, but also allow them to teach me.  By learning from them I affirm that they have something to contribute and encourage them to do so!

So here is a starter list of ways that teens and parents and children can grow in Christ together in 2013.  

Pray Together

  1. Pray for your school district officials and teachers. Find a list of people who serve in your district, put it on the fridge and pray.
  2. Take time each day to look at the news headlines and choose one or more situations to pray for.
  3. Go for prayer walks in your neighborhood.  What's a prayer walk? It's when you walk and pray for the people or places that you pass or that God comes to mind.
  4. Pray over the prayer requests listed in the Stillmeadow weekly bulletin.
  5. Ask your parent or teen how you can pray for them. Then do it. Right there. Right then. And through the week.
Serve Together
  1. Find a way to serve your parent or teen in a way you normally don't.
  2. Choose a ministry to serve in together.
  3. Bake cookies and give them out to neighbors.
  4. Visit a shut in from your church together.
  5. Serve at the York Rescue Mission with the Stillmeadow youth ministry. We go the first Friday of every month (including THIS Friday!)
Engage Scripture Together
  1. Tell your teen or parent what God is teaching you through the Bible and ask what God is teaching them.
  2. Memorize a scripture per week.  Want good verses to memorize? Just check the back of your bible or google "Scripture Memory Verses" and you'll find a ton of places to start!
  3. Read a passage at whatever meal you regularly eat together. You can find great memory plans on Bible Gateway or on the YouVersion Bible App
Practice Gratitude together
  1. Take a moment each day to thank your parent or teen for something they did.
  2. Write thank you notes to the teachers and volunteers and supervisors in your life. List specific ways they have blessed you.
  3. Write thank you notes to fire fighters and other civil servants.
  4. At each meal or before school or bed have every one share one thing or person they are thankful for.
Do Justice Together
  1. Adopt a compassion child as a family.  You can go through Nazarene Compassionate Ministries or Compassion International.
  2. Buy double the ingredients for one meal a week and leave the doubles in the Stillnaz Food Pantry or at the drop bin in the front of your grocery store.
  3. Strategize and practice random acts of kindness together.
This is just a starter list.  There are many other ways to grow together.  If you think of some, I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Invitations to be still

Was just looking through some old notes and found this compilation of scripture invitations to be still.  It seems that drama increases and things get busier as the holidays arrive.  These scriptures are great invitations to remember that there is more to life than the craziness that's around us.

Exodus 14:13-14
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Nehemiah 8:11
The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day."

Psalm 37:6-8
He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
       the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
       do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
       when they carry out their wicked schemes.
Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
       do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Mark 4:37-39
A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Psalm 46:9-11
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth;
       he breaks the bow and shatters the spear,
       he burns the shields with fire.
"Be still, and know that I am God;
       I will be exalted among the nations,
       I will be exalted in the earth."
The LORD Almighty is with us;
       the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Zechariah 2:11-13
"Many nations will be joined with the LORD in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the LORD Almighty has sent me to you.  The LORD will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land and will again choose Jerusalem.  Be still before the LORD, all mankind, because he has roused himself from his holy dwelling."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Jesus Creed for Students

Every year at Stillmeadow, we have a special Sunday service to honor and pray for our graduates.  In a way it is a sending service, as the graduates are preparing to continue their education or enter the workforce.  As part of the sending we want to give them a gift that will be a reminder of God’s discipleship call on their life.  Usually we give them a book.  But in choosing a book I usually have a couple requirements.  First, I want to give a book that is accessible, that any of our graduates can study.  Second, in accessibility, I don’t want a book that waters down Jesus’ call to a radical way of life.  Third, I want a book that is engaging, with practical application and real-life scenarios and stories…something to which any of our graduates can relate.  And I think I found another book that does all three of these: The Jesus Creed for Students.

The Jesus Creed for Students is a condensed version of Scot McKnight’s much larger, much longer book that came out in 2005.  Scot partnered with Chris Folmsbee (head of our very own Barefoot Ministries) and Syler Thomas to make the content of the book available for youth.  I heard about the book on Chris Folmsbee’s blog, where he invited folks to get the book for free in exchange for a review.  And I’m glad I did!

Here’s the basic synopsis: The Jesus Creed is Jesus’ response to a basic question, “What is the greatest commandment?”  To this Jesus replies, “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31). Our church has joined many others in summing this up: Love God, love others.  To Jesus, this is the most important thing.

So in the first eight chapters of this book, the authors take the reader through the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7) and show how “love God, love others” weaves through the fabric of the entire sermon.  And it’s done very well.  And the authors avoid legalism, one of the easiest pitfalls of our faith, by wrapping up the final chapters reminding the readers that this call to love God and love others only happens by the work of God in our broken lives.  They invite the reader to truly learn from and be shaped by the person of Christ, not just an idea.  And finally the book concludes with a call to be a boundary breaker, a person who courageously follows Christ wherever He leads.

One of the best parts about this book is that the authors are not just handling ideas, but calling for changed lives.  And they give structure for that, inviting the reader to recite the Jesus Creed at the beginning of each chapter and the Lord’s Prayer at the end of each chapter.  And they don’t leave it at that.  They encourage the readers to make those a part of every part of their day.

Although I am excited to give this to our graduates, I believe this book will also be useful for current high school students as well.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Next Sunday Morning STU Series

So, we have Stillmeadow Teen University (STU) every Sunday morning at 9:30, when 6-12 grade students get together to study scriptures together and to grow in Christ together.  It's pretty sweet.  I've been teaching the middle school boys for the past couple months and am LOVING that!

Anyway, we just wrapped up our previous series jumping through Matthew.

Now, we'll be examining what Stillmeadow calls her five core values: Connect, Celebrate, Commit, Contribute and Communicate.  (Yes, they are all "C" letters.)  Essentially, we believe that Jesus modeled these five things in his faithful obedience to his Father, and we want to do the same as a community (another great word that starts with "c").  Since this is "core" to who we are at Stillmeadow, we thought it'd be "cool" to have a series breaking these down with the teens.

If you'd like to see the Student Guide that we're handing out to our students, follow this link.

One of the things we're trying out is giving students a scripture for each day that is connected to the theme of the week.  This way they can be prepared when they come on Sunday.  Not everybody does it, but those that do have expressed that they get great reward from it.  We even send out text reminders of what scriptures we are reading each day.

If you'd like to receive texts with the scriptures for each day (found in the student guide), click on this link.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Stations of the Cross 2011

The Stations will be open from 6-9PM every night during Holy Week.  That's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The Stations of the Cross are an excellent way of remembering what Jesus did for the whole world when he endured the scandal of the cross.  Each station gives a scripture and a piece of art or an object to reflect on the scripture.  Our youth have put energy into the artwork and into construction of some of the scenes.  They've been doing this since 2006 and I'm excited about this year too!

If you don't come to our church, you can still come!  Our address is:

400 Stillmeadow Lane
York, PA 17404