A Gift from God?

 If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Heaven is for real.  Absolutely true.  But is this story for real?  Did Colton Burpo really go to Heaven and meet Jesus, his great grandfather, and his sister who died in a miscarriage?  Does the painting made by a girl who has had visions from God and confirmed by Colton to be accurate really depict the likeness of the second person of the Trinity?  There were a couple of things in his account that troubled me, but I think you will be doing yourself a disservice not to pick this book up at your library or bookstore, read it for yourself, and make your own judgment.  Be sure to click on the images for more information on the Burpos and on the girl behind the painting.

Part Deux

Okay, it looks like I focused a great deal on one small aspect of camp last time, but hey- it was new, and I enjoyed my role as director as much as how the skit went.  How about something a little less focused?  A lot of the camp activities was same-old for me, but how else could some thing be after seven years, even with a new cabin each year.  The camp staples were there- archery, riflery, crafts, competition games, food, bedrest (Michigan law- an hour each day must be spent in bed during the day to avoid overexhaustion).  Some things are new every year, like the Zorb this year as I already mentioned.  Also new this year was a game in the courtyard called gaga-ball (nothing to do with the pop star, actually a game imported from Israel) and one in the swim front area called nine-square, though we never played the latter.  Also new this year was the almost daily rain.  Years past have had no more than a couple days with some rain, but until the last day we had some rain every day.  Last year that rain canceled our wacky water sports instructional, but it was replaced by- a different wacky water sport the entire camp engaged in.  What they did was lay a tarp across a large portion of the game field and create a giant slip ‘n’ slide.  On it they had races and wacky games like an extreme duck-duck-goose.  Well, we had one time like that this year as well, during our canoeing time and free time after that.  That time started out normal, mind you.  By the time we actually got into our canoes, however, the rain started.  Meh- a little rain never hurt anyone.  But then it turned into sheets of rain accompanied by thunder.  Whoops- time to get out of the water.  No one overturned their canoe, but by the time we were ashore it sure felt like it.  We spent the next 15 minutes or so in a shelter before heading out, ending up in the tarp-encrusted game field.

Erm- so much for unfocused I guess.  Let’s see now.  Besides raining out part of an instructional, one of the competitions got rained out, except that time we all raced for the shelter of the lodge.  Our infamous counselor hunt also was nearly rained out, but it did stop in time for the hunt.  Last year I hid so well that no one found me.  This year I made it easier for them.  A group of three leaders were hidden as it turned out not very well, and I went downhill from them.  All the kids had to do was look down and there I was!  Then they had to climb down a steep hill to get to me- mwa-ha-ha-ha.  Well, once they saw me not a single group passed up the chance, but not all saw me oddly enough.

At the end of the week, the students were given an opportunity to give testimonies about their week at camp, and I was happy to see two of my own cabin go up to the microphones.  There they talked about accepting Jesus if they did, rededicating themselves, how they learned what kind of heart they had (shallow, crowded), and how they wanted a fruitful heart (see the parable of the seeds being sown on different soils).  A testimony that really touched me was from a boy from Iowa who started his testimony out with “I thought I knew God, but I really didn’t.”  I may be paraphrasing a little, I don’t remember the exact words.  How many of us think we really know who God is only to find out through some teaching somewhere, or some action by someone, that we really don’t know Him at all.  That’s the point where God enters into our lives as He revels Himself, and we either gladly grab on to the life preserver he gives us, or we utterly reject it and spend the rest of our lives trying to manage on our own.  Has He revealed Himself to you?  Did you grab on, repent, and become His adopted child?

I will leave you with these few pictures and videos from camp.  By the way, did anyone catch the title of my last post?  It is from a song we sang daily at camp, one where I witnessed the Holy Spirit at work more than some of the other songs, Like a Lion from the Passion Awakening album.  The Youtube video is at the end.

Gaga ball: dodgeball with nowhere to run!

 

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Just a minute to win this…

 

Help- I’m upside down!

 

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Humans + Foosball = life-sized foosball

 

 

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Now this is a worship time!

 

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

My God is Not Dead, He’s Surely Alive

‘E’S BACK!  Yes, I have returned from the state of Michigan to learn there was a tornado in the area while I was away.  Two towns away, with little damage and no casualties, so not exactly those news breakers of weeks past.  Moving on, in addition to the additions and subtractions they make from year to year (i.e., the Zorb this year replaced mountain biking), there are always differences in the kids and the weather.  Each group of campers is different.  I had ten boys in my cabin this year, and a junior leader who was one of my 4th/5th grade kids at church (not camp) from years past.  I have had the sweetest kids you could know, and some, well, not quite the other end of the scale but leaning that way.  Sometimes strongly.  The most difficult one I had this year was mostly trouble at bedtime, not wanting to stay in bed, his own bed, etc.  During the day he was great to lead.  I originally had nine boys, but one was added at the last minute so in addition to the nine 5th graders, I had one 4th grader.  I won’t be able to form a strong relationship with him however, as his family will be moving out of state soon.  Nor will I have any relationship at all with another, who came as a friend of one of our students.  He has Christian parents however (and he already accepted Christ), unlike another guest I had a few years ago who came from a decidedly non-Christian family, though he did accept Jesus during his week at camp.

One of the new things this year was a talent show.  I made sure to sign up for a skit, though I did come prepared with some songs from Oliver! in case we had to sing.  You see, there was only one slot available each night for skits.  This will have to be tweaked a bit for next year as no one signed up for the first night.  Too little rehearsal time?  Together we decided to do a backstage audition scene, though looking like an Idol episode with three judges holding their product-placement IBC root beer bottles.  We came up with a script the first couple days, tweaking it even at the last rehearsal.  I assigned three judge roles, one being kind of a mean one (yeah, you know…); six contestants in three acts (one became a security guard instead during a tweak); and one cameraman who dropped out when he wasn’t feeling very well on the day of performance, giving me his line which didn’t quite work out as it was meant for a cameraman, not someone yelling from offstage.  The one who didn’t want to even do a skit turned out to do a great job as a judge.  I would say that they wrote half the script adding great ideas like a group doing a purposely bad “pattycake” routine, calling themselves the Pattycake Pros, or PPs for short (remember the audience/participant ages!).  We also had a male diva contestant named Justin B-[eye]-ber, who the judges naturally mispronounce.  The mispronounced name was my idea, but the kids came up with the contestant idea among others.  He was dragged off by the security guard after hitting a judge, only to return later chased by that same security guard.  The kids added being chased by some girls at the end, so we borrowed a few from a girl’s cabin who would chase him thinking he must be the famous pop star, where he once again shouted that he was B-[eye]-ber, not B-[ee]-ber.  The most amazing addition they came up with was changing my generic “Jesus Rocks” at the end of another bad performance (making it a smashing hit in the judges eyes as a result instead of another flop) to a bible verse from the lesson earlier that day about not fearing, finding comfort in God instead.  I believe the verse was Psalm 27:1.  That was the Holy Spirit talking through the boy who came up with that change!

This post is getting kind of long, and I have to get a couple things done before I go to bed, so I will leave you with this video from the Zorb activity.  This answers the question, “Is it safe to be in front of a moving Zorb?”

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

Looked Big to Me

Oh come on, don’t you like quizzes?  I know all of you loved quizzes in school [dodges tomato].  Seriously though, only one taker?  Come on lurkers, you don’t have to comment, just check out the videos two posts below and take the easy quiz.  No grades here, nothing to go on permanent records if you answer wrong.  Just step right up and give it a try!  Answers in one of the next couple posts. 🙂

.

This week someone from Florida flew down to train with me on the use of the handheld computer, something that the office there was apparently never trained on for some reason.  He was placed in a hotel near me, right across from my church in fact, and is riding with me all week wherever I go.  I have to tell you, this guy is on fire for Jesus.  Like me, he serves in children’s ministry at his church which is apparently set up slightly different from mine (and many others) so he has kids from ages 6-11.  Perhaps he was sent not just to learn from me, but the other way around too.  I invited him to my small group last night and when there, he didn’t just sit back and listen, but was actively engaged in the discussion.  It was interesting to learn that like another in my group, he is an Annihilationist, one who believes that there is no active eternal torment for those who don’t accept God’s offer of  salvation through Jesus, but instead they are simply destroyed.  His children, of course, still have eternal life in Heaven.  Myself, I would love for this to be true but I know I must be careful to not try to read this into the scripture if and when I study this topic in detail.  One of the things I have thought is that *if* God has chosen ahead of time those He is going to save (part of the Calvinist doctrine, I’m not sure about this interpretation of Scripture), that is we can only come to Christ if God calls us, and if He calls us we cannot fail to come, if this is true then it would seem to be wholly unfair, and seemingly against the nature of God to not just deny us eternal life in heaven (more than fair for our rejection of Him) but to purposefully send us to be actively tortured by the one who was given the boot from Heaven for his rejection of God’s authority.  Of course, if we do have any say in the matter as Scripture *also* seems to say, then this argument falls flat- we deserve what we chose.

.

Anyway, I have gotten far beyond the point of this post.  So today, we joined my coworker Rene again, and we practiced with the cars Rene and our other trainee were working on.  He is slowly learning, but is enthusiastic about it.  In fact, he is enthusiastic about everything- a very positive outlook.  Well, on our way home, when about to turn on route 14, we noticed a thick plume of black smoke rising.  I didn’t think to much about it, but as we drove, an ambulance and a fire truck headed in that direction.  About 15 minutes later we passed it just outside (I think) Barrington- I didn’t think it would be that far away and the area the smoke, now worse, was coming from looked really big.  However, we still couldn’t see what was actually happening.  We drove through the thin layer of smoke that reached the road, but that was it.  I figured it would be in the news, but so far I couldn’t find anything.  Well, it looked big enough for news to me.  I just pray for all involved.

.

I also pray that my car does not need an expensive repair.  The “service engine soon” light just went on today and it is in the shop now to be looked at tomorrow.

Okay, okay

I can’t stay mad at all y’all (that’s how a Southerner says it, right?)  so here’s some sub news.  Monday and Tuesday I was in near-city district again, and will be back there again tomorrow.  3rd grade was the name of the game Monday, and one of the first things I noticed was the teacher’s computer, or rather what was taped on (click pics for larger size):

How awesome- the teacher is a Christian and not afraid to show it! 🙂 . Once class started, I found she had a good group of kids making it a much easier time than 3rd grade last week.  I also got two breaks in addition to lunch- art in the AM and PE in the PM.  Besides the monitor dressing, probably the most memorable part of this job was the huge spelling packet we had to grade- without a key!  Seriously, this packet was about a dozen pages, front and back, for around 24 pages of work.  Using some time in the morning and some time in the afternoon, we were able to get through maybe half of it.  It took longer than it should have because I had to think about the answers before I said them.  It’s 3rd grade work, but that doesn’t mean the answers come instantly.  I have corrected work without a key before, but usually it’s math and usually just me grading papers, not the whole class.  At least in those situations I made a “key” by grading one studen’t paper then using it (at least the correct answers) as the key for the rest.

Tuesday I subbed for art in the open middle school and was pleasantly surprised to find I only had five classes.  There was a second art teacher who taught two classes before going to the elementary school next door.  Actually, she had a sub too, but you get the picture.  All periods were pretty easy.  The 6th-grade just got a video.  We watched one of the HBO Artist Special movies.  I picked the Rembrandt one.  These movies, or at least this one, really don’t talk much about the artists’ work, but instead take the artist and his setting, and make it into a historical fiction story utilizing a boy or girl somehow to make it more appealing to kids.  7th and 8th grade were in the middle of projects so they just continued to work on them.  I actually ran into the daughter of my church’s camp and one-time youth director- I guess I know what town his family lives in now. 🙂

Today- just a half-day in PE.  I had the option of changing it to a full day in kindergarten, but I really didn’t want to drive all the way there (one of the further schools in near-city district) and, well, you know me and younger grades, especially when “ELL” shows up in the job description. 😉 . For PE we just played scooter tag, which was just a sharks and minnows tag game on scooters, where two at a time are taggers and anyone they tag have to sit down but may tag others as they pass.  The gym becomes quite the minefield for survivors after awhile.  It was fun.  I had planned on getting gas for the mower after work and doing a quick job on the lawn, but probably because of the scheduled walkathon at the school (okay, not really) it started to downpour just as school finished.  Since rain is scheduled for the next several days I guess I will have to wait a while longer.  Oh, well.

He is risen!

Just a quick note to say (in pictures shamelessly ripped from here and here):

.

Happy Easter!

.


Happy (celebration of your) Birthday, Jesus!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
.
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
.
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
.
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
.
-Luke 2:1-21 (ESV)
.

Merry Christmas!