Blog, Inspirational

Be The “Upper Hand” For Christ: Know The Details

I have heard it said, it has become much harder to keep young adults and youth in church. Too many things are competing for their time and the priority is not there. Plus the social changes going on right now are making the millennial back away. Then I am asked, how do we, a smaller church, have so many generations? My answer is: We teach them. They are equipped, not entertained. Let me explain…

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Image used from “God’s Not Dead Bible Study” http://www.GodsNotDead.com

We are a small church. We do not have a rock band or fancy lights. We do not have the most recent songs on the radio playing the second you walk in the door and we still use the phone tree to pass along prayer requests. Email is being used for those that prefer email, but we still greatly rely on the phone tree. Yes, all the things I listed above are great things. I love going to a great worship service just as much anyone. In fact, I love visiting churches when Marshall has his Sunday off and we get to worship together (that is a VERY rare event for pastors and their spouses) in a style I grew up with. But is that ALL that makes up the Church?

But let me tell you what we DO have. We have a strong foundation. Our foundation is Christ. We teach the complete 360 degree view of the Bible; not just what makes us feel good. We do everything in our power not to cut verses to make them sound justified to our own gain. And we certainly make mistakes! We are not perfect.

As long as our youth and young people know, we (the leaders), give them as much information as we can and as many resources as we can, then God takes over from there. We equip; we teach. We train them to search for answers. That is our goal. We want them to think for themselves.

If we are not learning, we are not growing and we will never understand how our spiritual maturity is suffering because we are not actually absorbing and understanding facts; just concepts.

Concepts are great; do not get me wrong. But the details, that is were evil likes to fight the youth. Challenging their thinking, making them second-guess anything and everything they have ever known growing up. Evil loves the silence. It is the silence that happens when a best friend gets in a fight with them over what they believe and why, then they struggle to respond. The silence is where evil wins. When they can’t defend their beliefs, they can’t understand the attacks.

How can we battle evil in this world without details? That is like showing up to a fight in dress shoes or high heels. You will make one move to protect yourself and fall flat on our face because your feet had the wrong foundation. It was slippery, you fell basically on your own and the opponent takes advantage of that and has the upper hand. Game point.

Teach your youth. Teach them to be resourceful. Teach them to ask questions, then ask it again to someone else, then ask it again to the barista at the coffee shop, then ask their pastor. Let them know “why” people’s answers vary. Interpretation of scripture is hard, I will be the first to say it. But until you fight to understand and learn the details, the conversation will almost always turn out like this…..

Person: “Why do you belive that?”

Youth answers: ” Because so and so said it… or I heard someone say it on Sunday”

They never answer with ” I believe………, because when you look at the book of ____ in the Bible……. and then I read a book from a theologian named…… and then a  commentary from …… which assisted me to understand…. ”

See the change?

Be the change. Know the details. Grow to be the “upper hand” of Christ in the fight.

 

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Inspirational

Spring Cleaning! This Includes Your Mind

Blog Spring 2015

If you ever think you are alone when feeling down during the winter, believe me when I say this, “You Are Not Alone ! ” Everyone experiences this in one way or another.

During the winter months, people forget how much they actually need the sun. Friends living up North, especially in PA, tell me stories about companies putting Vitamin D lamps into their offices to make sure employees get some exposure to sunlight during the “Gray Season”, even if it is artificial.

Due to the weather, we often find ourselves stuck in doors, or having days upon days of cloud coverage that prevent the sun from shining on us. Soon we start to feel down, cranking, edgy and overall just EW!

So with Spring quickly approaching us, I came up with a “Spring Cleaning” for your mind. How Fun! People do cleanses for their body to stay healthy, why not do a mental one? Once winter is over, take this day the first opportunity you can and get. Do not put it off!

First let me state: I am not a doctor. I am not a scientist, a nutritionist nor do I suggest anyone doing any physical activity without being cleared from their physician. Shew, now that, that is out-of-the-way…. 😉

Last Saturday, it was our day.  The sun was out, the temperature was about 70 degrees (basically a heat wave from what we have had the last few months) so my husband and I took an “unplugged” day to be outside. We hiked, walked, played with the dogs, grilled outside and just talked. It was the perfect day.  Now, when I say “unplugged” day, are phones are still on due to the nature of our work, however, we make a valiant and conscious effort to not be on them. Only in an emergency. If you have the ability to turn your phones off, I HIGHLY recommend it. The temptation is gone at that point.

During our “unplugged day” we talked about everything from, what the last year has been like from my tonsil surgery, people we lost through the year 2014, special events (EASTER!!! YAY!) on our calendar that are coming, what we were going to eat for dinner ha! and anything else that we could possibly come up with. I feel when we do this, it is a full mental cleanse for me and for him. Basically, we talk until you are “talked out” . And for me, literally I lose my voice by the end of it and can’t talk anymore. It is awesome!  However, there is one rule to this day. For every topic you come up with, if it is sad,  you have to counter that story with a special/happy memory that also included the same topic.

Let me give you an example:

Talking about a passing of a family member:

Talk about them! Talk about how much you miss them. Talk about how it makes you angry or sad. Talk about how you feel it is unfair or “how could this happen?”. Let it out. Do not hold those feelings in.

Counter story: Then when you are finish, start talking about your favorite memories with them. The ones that brings an instant smile to your face or makes you laugh even when tears are pouring down your cheeks. I feel the worst thing you can ever do after loosing someone, is stop talking about them. Too many times I have seen this done with families and it ends up hurting the other members of your family even more. Everyone grieves differently, but I highly encourage to make an effort, when you are ready, to talk about them. Once you are done, you will feel amazing. It is my version of a mental cleanse. Take something sad or angry and challenge yourself to end on a happy note involving the same situation.

When you have these conversations outside, in the sun, walking or doing something active, you will be amazed at how it makes you feel. The winter makes it much harder to let things out or have the ability to move past something due to the effect Vitamin D has on your body and mind. Because it is cold outside, we tend to just sit in the house and dwell on thing. This is NOT good. So take action. Do not let Old Man Winter get the best of you!

With Spring time comes hope, new life, a fresh start. Take time with a loved one and try talking about things you have kept hidden inside during the “Gray Season” and let the sunshine be the thing that warms your tears and turn them into laughs of love.

Take time to “unplug” and do a mental cleanse. Because without it, things will continue to hold you back, not allowing you to enjoy the amazing things that are ahead of you….

Love and Blessings,

Deanna