Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Eve & a message


Christmas Eve Service.
8pm.
At the church.
Bring your family & friends!
Come prepared to participate in our responsive reading (which we've rehearsed once. eek!)
It is the youth group's gift to the congregation!
I hope you will all help out!!
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Contents

1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Uh, That's Funny?
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART
Wild Night: Light in the Dark


"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified." (Luke 2:8-9)

I think most of us tend to root for the shepherds in the Christmas story. They represent us. No matter what role you played as a kid in your church Christmas pageant, none of us are angels. And though we're all learning to have faith like Mary, none of us will ever have her experience exactly.

No, we're the shepherds -- just living our everyday lives and suddenly terrified to realize that God has noticed us and overwhelmed to understand that the message He is delivering is Good News. For us. And it's happening right now.

Like the shepherds working the night shift, we live in the dark. And like the shepherds, God's light broke through the darkness of our fallen world with a spectacular opportunity: Believe in Jesus and live in great joy.

Don't be afraid the light. It's a good thing.

Think: Have you ever tried to imagine what that night was like for the shepherds out in the dark? Why do you think the shining "glory of the Lord" was so terrifying?

Pray: Thank God for making sure you heard the story of the shepherds and the angels so you could understand Jesus better.

Do: Think about reading Luke 2:1-7 to get caught up with the story again.


A Daily Devotional from PlanetWisdom.com, copyright 2009 Youth Specialties/Zondervan. Used by permission.

2. SURF REPORT
~ Movie Review of Avatar
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/movies/reviews/2009/avatar.html

~ Book Review of "Marked"
http://www.planetwisdom.com/books/review/marked/

3. FORGETTABLE FACT
A snail can sleep for three years.

4. POTENT QUOTABLES
Those who wish to sing, always find a song.
~ Swedish Proverb

5. UH, THAT'S FUNNY?
Q: What goes up and down without moving?
A: Stairs.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Girls Only Event!


Attention girls!
You won't want to miss this great opportunity!
Lighthouse Church in Toledo is hosting a one day event focused on all the topics only girls face.
There will be worship time, breakout sessions and great women there to mentor and encourage all of us.
The cost is just $20 (and includes lunch.)

Check out this website for some more information!
And be ready to let me know if you and your girlfriends are interested in attending.
We might even be able to work out a sleepover at my place following the event. :)

"Signature Girls Conference brings girls, junior high through college aged, together to worship God and experience relevant truth. The Signature Conference stirs the girls to action and acceptance of who they were created to be in Christ. Through dynamic worship, mentoring groups, breakout sessions, and powerful teachings, girls will be encouraged, inspired and changed to be more like Christ."

I would LOVE for ALL of my girls to attend!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Caroling

This Sunday night we will be Christmas Caroling as a ministry to two of our church members who are shut-ins. We will meet at the regular time (5:30) and hopefully have enough time after caroling to have our regular gathering discussion time and small groups. We will finish at 7:30 as usual.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dare2Share 2010::details

If you or your friends haven't yet signed up for Dare2Share: Blaze conference there's still time! Be sure to check out the website for tons more information on what it is, where it is, and more!

The cost of registration is currently $54 and hotel cost is $15. In addition there will be a need for approximately 2-3 fast food meals and any souvenir money you wish to spend. More information will be sent your way soon, but I wanted to make sure everyone knows about this opportunity.

So make sure your parents have read this letter especially for them. You can read it too for more info. :)
and check out this promo video.


Sunday, December 6, 2009

YS Newsletter::on song



Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Uh, That's Funny?
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

Thanks For What: Just Sing Already!
"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:16)

Do you like to sing? I don't always dig it. For one thing, I'm not very good. I don't really enjoy the sound of my own warbling. I'd much rather listen to you (unless you're just as awful as me).

Also, after mumbling my way through a bunch of songs in every worship service since they let me out of the nursery, I suddenly wondered one day, "Why in the world do we do this? What a weird thing, now that I think about it. Couldn't we do something else for 20 minutes?" Then I read this verse.

Oh.

And in the process of trying to get over myself (and trying to sing right out loud without caring what you think), I discovered that saying thanks in a song really helped me to express to God how thankful I felt in a way that words by themselves can't quite accomplish. Apparently, that's exactly what God wants me to do.

Think: Do you like singing, in general? Do you like singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together with other Christians? Does singing like that help you to feel more grateful to God?

Pray: Ask God to help you to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your heart to Him?

Do: Remember this verse the next time you have a chance to participate in singing with a group of fellow Christians.

A Daily Devotional from PlanetWisdom.com, copyright 2009 Youth Specialties/Zondervan. Used by permission.


2. SURF REPORT

Movie Review: Surrogates


Music Review of Fireflies from Owl City


3. FORGETTABLE FACT
Got gas? 40% of all indigestion remedies sold in the world are bought by Americans.


4. POTENT QUOTABLES
Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I'll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I'll give you a stock clerk.
-- J. C. Penney

God gives us dreams a size too big so that we can grow in them.
-- Anonymous

5. UH, THAT'S FUNNY?
Q: How do you get a kleenex to dance?
A: Put a little boogey in it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

YS Newsletter::on thankfulness

Contents
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Uh, That's Funny?
=================================

1. SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART

When Plans Change: Start Where You Are

"But Jesus said, 'You feed them.' 'With what?' they asked. 'We’d have to work for months to earn enough money to buy food for all these people!' 'How much bread do you have?' he asked. 'Go and find out.' They came back and reported, 'We have five loaves of bread and two fish.' " (Mark 6:37-38)

Problem: Lots of people; no food. Solution: Send the people off to buy food before it gets too late. At least, that was the perfectly reasonable plan the disciples came up with. Then in today's verses, Jesus said, "No, I want you to serve them by doing the impossible."

The disciples were tired, hungry, and under-funded. They got stuck on the impossible part: "We don't have the resources." Jesus rejected that answer just as quickly as He rejected their plan: "Count what you do have."

Maybe you've had a similar experience. God has nixed your Plan A (and your Plan B) -- either through your circumstances or your parents or the weather -- but He still expects you to follow His plan. And it feels impossible. And you clearly don't have the resources.

You have a choice: Give up or expect God to use what you've got to do the impossible.

Think: How often do you feel like it would be impossible to do what God wants you to do? Do you tend to give up or jump in even though you don't have a good plan to make it work? How does that usually turn out?

Pray: Ask God to help you to trust Him to provide everything you need to do what He wants you to do -- even when you can't see, yet, how it will all work out.

Do: Ask your parents or youth leader or some other, older Christian if they've ever seen God provide a solution in an impossible situation.
**
A Daily Devotional from PlanetWisdom.com, copyright 2009 Youth Specialties/Zondervan. Used by permission.


2. SURF REPORT




3. FORGETTABLE FACT

There are 10 human body parts that are only three letters long. (leg arm hip eye ear toe jaw rib gum lip)


4. POTENT QUOTABLES

"Praise God even when you don't understand what He is doing." - Henry Jacobson

"If you want to change your life, try thankfulness. It will change your life mightily." - Gerald Good


5. UH, THAT'S FUNNY?

Q: What is a vampire's favorite fruit?
A: Neck-tarines

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Concert. OCC. and YS Newsletter

We filled a total of 10 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Go us! Blessing others with the abundance we have been given. What a great feeling! (Not to mention we had a blast putting it all together!) As you know, there is the need for $7.00 to be included in each of the boxes to help with shipping costs and such. I wrote one big check for all ten of our shoeboxes so if you haven't already given me your $7.00, please do so asap. (If you don't know who you are, ask.)

Last night we served a potluck dinner to the residents at the Monroe Salvation Army. It was a fantastic time and the first of what we hope will be monthly service opportunities! Keep your ears open for that information!

Our Bible Quiz team--made up of Chris K, Ashley, and Michaela--came away with a FIRST PLACE trophy on Saturday. What a great reward for all your hard work and dedication...and not to mention the fact that you guys are just a really great team! Keep it up! Next month's quiz is in Bad Axe, MI and we will most likely need to drive up to stay the night in the church on Friday night December 11th-Sat. the 12th.

Mel's 24th birthday is Thursday. :)

FRIDAY is THE big day! Nevercast, Matt Moore & Burn the Ships are IN CONCERT.
At Monroe FMC.
Doors open at 6pm
Concert starts at 6:30pm.
Concessions (candy bars and water bottles) will be available for $1.
Tickets are $5.
Who's bringing EVERYONE they know?!!!


--------
and looking ahead to December:
GIRLS NIGHT! December 4th-5th all girls are invited to an 80s Spa Night at our house!
Let me know if you have any great ideas for games or spa activities or recipes you want to make together!
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In this newsletter::
1. Something for Your Heart
2. Surf Report
3. Forgettable Fact
4. Potent Quotables
5. Uh, That's Funny?
=================================

  • SOMETHING FOR YOUR HEART
Praise Week: He Loves Us?

"Praise be to God, who has not rejected a my prayer or withheld his love from me!" (Psalm 66:20)

What exactly does God owe us? Maybe it's too easy to say He doesn't owe us anything. He did create us, after all. And He is just to His creatures, giving good gifts to all.

But He does not owe us love. We do not have the right by default to have the God of the universe love us and hear out prayers.

David ends his praise psalm -- and our praise week -- amazed that God, the God of all, has not rejected his request. In fact, God has proven His love for one among the billions in time and space again and again.

Does God love you? Does He hear your prayers and answer them? Then let's praise Him today.

Think: Why do you think it's so easy for us to get bored with the idea that God loves us and listens to us? How much does that matter to you?

Pray: Praise God for loving you and responding to your prayers because you come to Him in the name of Jesus.

Do: Look forward to your next opportunity to praise God.

[A Daily Devotional from PlanetWisdom.com, copyright 2009 Youth Specialties/Zondervan. Used by permission.]

  • SURF REPORT


  • FORGETTABLE FACT
In the average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator.

  • POTENT QUOTABLES
Let Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.
- Theodore Roosevelt

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.
- W.J. Cameron

  • UH, THAT'S FUNNY?
Q: What kind of key do you need to get into the jungle?
A: A Mon-key


Monday, November 9, 2009

OCC, quizzing, serving, concerts

We had a great time last night filling our shoeboxes to be sent to all the corners of the world! Thanks to all who participated.

Operation Christmas Child:
shoeboxes are due next Sunday! You have three responsibilities: 1) collect/save/earn the $7 shipping cost per box. 2) write a letter to your child recipient and 3) find a picture of yourself and/or your family to include in the box.

Bible Quizzing: This Saturday, November 14th @ Westland FMC. If you are in Monroe, please meet us at our house at 7:15am. We will then head to Milan FMC to pick up the remaining quizzers. Please be ready at 7:45am. We should return between 4 and 5pm. Students will need $3 to cover the cost of lunch at the church.

Salvation Army: We will be joining the church in serving a potluck dinner at the Monroe Salvation Army. Meet at the church at 5:30pm (regularly scheduled youth group time) and whenever we are done serving, we will return to our house to finish youth group through 7:30pm.

Nevercast: The concert is quickly approaching! Invite every one of your hundreds of friends!! :D The more people in the audience the more fun we'll have! It's only $5 at the door and there will be a small concessions stand open with candy bars, water, etc. For more information check out the facebook event site:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On OCC & Church & Concerts & more

We're baaaack. Kevin and I had a fantastic time at the four day National Youth Workers' Convention. We missed all of and are excited to get back into the swing of things and start applying ALL we learned (which was ALOT!) :D

We will see you at 5:30pm for youth group this Sunday!
Oh and don't forget about the Sunday morning service. Please invite your family--your parents and siblings--to join you at the church service @11am. Sunday School is at 9:45am (there are adult and teen SS classes.)

Have you been building your collection of items for your Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes? They are due November 15th and we are looking to head to the Dollar Tree this Sunday. Who needs to make a trip to the store with us? If you do, be sure to bring at least $10 to purchase the items needed to fill your shoebox. You can also purchase a clear plastic shoebox for $1.

For the four of you who have signed up to help serve at the Milan Rotary Dinner be sure you are dressed in White shirts and Black pants and at Father Joe's Catholic Church at 5pm.

The Nevercast Concert is quickly approaching. Have you invited ALL of your friends? Have you received permission to hang fliers up in your school hallways? The concert is November 20th. For much more info check out the event invitation on facebook. At least 5 local Christian radio stations will be posting the concert info on their community bulletin boards and possibly announcing the concert on the air.

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PS: be sure to check out the new photo links along the right column! Click on the pictures and you'll find the complete photo album.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Updates. And Milan Rotary Dinner Info.

This Friday is Light the Night at the church from 6-7:30pm.
Dress up.
Help out.
Have fun!

Kevin and Mel will be in Cincinnati at the National Youth Workers' Convention from Friday until Monday.
There is No youth group this Sunday, November 1st.

Starting Sunday, November 8th, we will having Bible Quizzing Practice during Sunday School time @ 9:45am. Even if you're not quizzing right now, getting in on practice times might change your mind. You can jump in at any time! Our next quiz is Saturday November 14th.


We will be serving at the Milan Rotary Club Dinner on Saturday November 7th.
Arrive at Father Joe's Catholic Church (or ride to Milan with us) by 5pm .
Wear black pants and white shirts.
Be prepared to help in these ways:
Coat checking.
Valet parking (only with a license).
Clearing tables.
Washing dishes.
We must have at least 8 students helping. Who's in?????

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Shoeboxes & Wisdom

So who has been taking the challenge we gave on Sunday?
The "go without your weekly luxuries and save money to fill a shoebox for a child who desperately needs it" challenge.
Operation Christmas Child is an amazing experience.
You get to bless a child in a needy country on the other side of the world.
You maybe have a part in changing that child's life forever--if they believe the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is presented to them.
You may get to contact this child and learn more about them through letters.
You have the opportunity to challenge yourself.
To give up Taco Bell. To order water instead of pop when you're out to dinner. To save the money you might spend on that candy bar. or those french fries. or that nail polish. or those shoes. or that energy drink.
To save save save your money (or the money you normally spend out of your parents' wallets).
And to put that toward filling a shoebox.
Full of goodies.
Stuffed animals.
Hard candy.
Coloring books.
YoYos.
Soap bars.
Tshirts.
Toothpaste.
And so much more.

So start collecting your shoe boxes RIGHT now.
Bring them in to youth group each week.
These can be real cardboard shoeboxes or the plastic ones from the store.
And in the meantime (between now and November 16th) start collecting items with which to fill these boxes.
If you buy things little by little it won't hurt your wallet quite as much. :)
You can start a pile in our youth room of the things you're going to fill your shoebox with.
And then we'll fill them and wrap them together.
Oh! And don't forget about the $7 cover charge that must be included.

Let's challenge the adults and bring in even more boxes than last year!
-----------------

In other news don't forget our ongoing topic for discussion--wisdom and foolishness.
And be thinking this week about what those have to do with our friendships.
Next week should be quite a challenging discussion!
Be looking up more information in the book of Proverbs (near the middle of your Bible) on wise versus foolish.
KNOW what we're talking about!
Dig in!

If you have questions, you know where to find us!


-------
P.S. I have officially booked our hotel for Dare2Share
It's amazing! Check it out here.

And please let me know ASAP if you or a friend has not yet registered for Dare2Share or would like more information!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

HAPPY First day of School. :)

1. 2009 National Christian College Fair
free admission & financial aid workshop.

Toledo:
Wednesday, Sept. 23, 6:30-8:3pm
Toledo Christian Schools
2303 Brookford Dr.
Toledo, OH 43614

OR

Detroit:
Thursday, Sept. 24, 6:30-8:30pm
Franklin Rd. Christian School
40800 W. 13 Mile Rd.
Novi, MI 48377

For more info: www.nccf.us or call 1-888-423-2477

2. EverydaySunday and Like Jonathan in concert at Spring Arbor Univ. THIS Friday.
  • leaving from our house at 4pm
  • stopping at the Parlour for dinner/ice cream (bring $$)
  • touring SAU campus
  • jamming at the concert at 8pm ($5)
I need to know by Thursday who is definitely attending. And we will definitely need extra vehicles. So ask your parents if they want to come and drive some teens with them. Or if they will allow Kevin or I to drive their vehicle for the night.

3. Dare2Share $44 and pre-registration form due by Sept. 15!!!

4. Crot's Corn Maze: Sunday Sept. 20th. leaving from our house at 5:30. Bring $5.50.

5. CarWash--FREE: Saturday, Sept 26th. 2-5pm. Monroe Tractor Supply Co.
You NEED to get sponsors.
You definitely need to mark this date down because I can't wash all the cars alone!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fun stuff

update: Thursday
Sweet event for teens this weekend @ the Ida Festival. Head to the teen event tent from 4-9pm for free food, prizes, Wii tourneys, live entertainment, and more!

---------------------
Thanks for all who came out and participated and helped with the Softball Night. Another success!

1. schedules. We would love to have a copy of each of your sports schedules, music events schedules, ballet recital schedules, etc, etc, etc. The reason for this is...we heart you guys. And we love checking out your wonderful talents in action. Whether you play the flute or dunk the basketball or spike the volleyball or hit one out of the park or sing in the choir or whatever, we'd love to know about it.

2. personalization. decoration. We think it's about time our basement (aka your youth room) get a little personality. Wouldn't you agree? We want you guys to make it yours by bringing your favorite posters to hang or some school paraphanelia or personal artwork or photography or whatever. Get creative! Make collages, paint pictures, do some graphic design.

check out this awesome design Chris & Isaac came up with in their own room! It's made from all the cd jackets pieced together. So start collecting paper cd covers:


3. corn maze we are planning on going to a Corn Maze on Saturday Sept. 19. fun stuff, right? There are a couple options that we have to choose from. Your input is important:

$5.50 Crots Corn Maze--Ottawa Lake (35 minute drive) (the one we went to last year)
$9.50 Corn Maze Fun--Dundee
$10.00 Farmer Charley's--Monroe

Now, here's the deal. Crots is the cheapest but it's a bit of a drive. Dundee is expensive and is just a corn maze. And Farmer Charley's in close here in Monroe and the $10 includes tons of stuff--like bonfires, hayrides, flashlight mazes, and more. You can check out each of these websites by clicking on the blue links above.

4. bonfire We're hoping to have a bonfire within the next month or two. Be listening for details. You won't want to forget your marshmallows! :D

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Let it be Known!

1. Softball Game & Hotdog Roast--this Sunday @ 6pm.
Invite everyone you know.
Bring your own equipment (balls, bats, mitts, helmets, etc).
Spectators should bring their own chairs.

This is a youth group sponsored event so if you can arrive @5:30 (we'll probably be at the church by then) and help set things up that would be awesome!

2. Concert on the Plaza @ SAU--Friday, Sept. 11th
Like Jonathan.
Everday Sunday.
The Parlour.
Spring Arbor University tour.

(ps. Those blue words are all LINKs to their websites!)
Leaving from our house @ 4pm Friday.
Bring $5 for the concert.
And $5-10 for dinner & ice cream (or pack your dinner!).
We'll take a tour of SAU campus.
Then jam at the concert starting @ 8pm.
Bring extra cash if you want souvenirs.
We'll be back around midnight. (We may be able to drop you off if you live in Monroe.)

We're going to need extra drivers/vehicles. Parents, you are welcome to come and if you can lend a vehicle and/or drive some students let us know ASAP.

3. CARWASH. Saturday, Sept. 26th 2-5pm
Hopefully in the new Walmart Parking Lot. That will be decided soon.
Get sponsors!
Compete with each other.
The money you earn goes to YOUR account--for Dare2Share and The Mission Trip.

4. Dare2Share. Feb. 5-6. Columbus Convention Center (Ohio).
Registration is $44 if you pay before Sept. 17th.
After that it increases to $54. Then up to $69.
I'll be ordering tickets on the 16th. So if you want to come I'm going to need your fee.
Save your money. Don't buy your daily coke. Or that new sweatshirt. Or skip your fastfood addiction for a week.
Hopefully some if not all of that $44 will be repaid to you once we've done our carwash!!!
So RAISE money for the carwash!!

Parents, I have informative letters about Dare2Share as well as release forms that will be sent home shortly. For more information see their website: http://www.dare2share.org/columbus.
Justify Full



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Calendar stuff

There is SO much on our Spirit Fire calendar! Do you still have the "upcoming events" handout we gave you Sunday? Is it on your fridge or in your file of calendars just like we talked about? I hope so! :D

This week is VBS! Thanks so much for all of you who are being such fantastic volunteers. These kids will not forget our ministry to them!

Coming up this Sunday: Welcoming New Students (especially upcoming 7th graders!)! Join us at our house at the usual time--5:30pm. We'll head out to Nortel Lanes (on Telegraph Rd.) for 2 games of bowling. Each game costs only $1 and shoes are $1 which means you need to bring $3. We're also getting pizza, so bring your appetite too! Your parents can pick you up from the parsonage around 7:30pm.

Coming up this Wednesday (not today...but next week): our first official Bible Quiz Practice! All are welcome to join us--the more people involved the more fun and the better the practice quizzes are! Come out and give quizzing a chance! We're all still learning all the ins and outs of this competitive way to memorize God's Word. It would be to your advantage if you are well versed in I Corinthians chapters 1 & 2. Read over those chapters at least once each day and try to really know the information in those chapters.

And besides all the great activities that are listed on your take home calendar and along the side of this blog, we have added a concert at Spring Arbor University. Friday, Sept. 11 @ 8pm SAU is hosting Like Jonathan and Everyday Sunday in concert on the Plaza! We plan on leaving around 4pm in order to have time for a stop at The Parlour as well as time for a Kevin-and-Melanie-led tour of SAU campus. You'll need $5 for the concert and $5-10 for ice cream and/or dinner at the Parlour. We'll probably get back to the parsonage/church around 12:30am.

Oh, and speaking of concerts, don't forget about the Nevercast concert here at the church on August 21st @ 6:30pm. Invite EVERYONE you know!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Voting:: yours matters!

If you weren't with us on Sunday then you missed out! We had some really awesome and intense discussions and debates over whether a person can believe in God and evolution at the same time...and then we ended off with a debate on abortion in the case of a rape. I told you it was intense!

The point of these conversations are to get you guys thinking. Everyone lives in their own little "bubble" of established beliefs, but we feel that everyone should also be challenged in their beliefs and learn of the other beliefs that exist. If you're having a conversation with an atheist or a Wiccan or an evolutionist, your opposition will be much more reception and respectful of your opinions when you make an effort to understand what they believe to be true. THEY have thought it through. Shouldn't you???

As we mentioned on Sunday, we want youth group to be a place where you can learn and discover issues that YOU are most interested in. What topics are most important to you? What do you wish you understood about the Bible? or about the origins of the Christian church? or about the opposite sex? Or about how to have real faith? Or how to explain your beliefs to your friend who just lost her dad to cancer? See???? Our topics for learning and discussion could be anything and everything!

So....let's do some voting! Give us your opinions. List one thing or twelve things. But they must be things YOU want to learn about.

possible topics might include:
church history
world religions (Islam, Buddhism, etc. or your choice!)
other church denominations (Jehovah's Witness, etc.)
Bible Study (any specifics of YOUR choosing--book studies or topic studies; Ezekiel, creatures spoken of in the OT., etc)
controversial topics (abortion, gay rights, genetic alterations, etc.)
teen issues (dating, peer pressure, sex, etc.)


ps. we're hoping to have the bonfire this next Sunday but either way we ARE having youth group. at 5:30. on Sunday, August 2nd.

pps. due to lack of interest, lack of transportation and the upcoming craziness of VBS week, we are going to cancel the trip to the Fest. Sorry guys. But here's the cool part. What if we have a great bonfire and possibly an over-nighter on the 8th? Then go to church on the 9th. :D thoughts on that?

ppps. bible quizzing needs to get underway quickly. Does sunday school time (9:50 on Sundays) work for those of you who want to quiz? Unless we decide on a different practice schedule come THIS SUNDAY to start practicing/preparing.

Monday, July 20, 2009

We need to hear from YOU on lots of cool Stuff!

It was so good to be back together last night! We missed those of you who couldn't make it. I have a few important items that you are definitely going to want to pay attention to and write down and talk to your parents and make some decisions. :)


1. Bible Quizzing is going to be starting pretty much NOW. Come to Sunday School (9:50am) next Sunday to make sure you're in on all the action. We'll be working on memorizing (and hopefully understanding) First & Second Corinthians.

The commitment of becoming a Bible quizzer (open to anyone in 7th-12th grade) includes:
-weekly quiz team practice (at the church. during Sunday School. every Sunday.)
-a minimum of 15 minutes per day of studying on your own time.
-one Saturday per month at a Bible Quiz (held at another Free Methodist Church in Southern Michigan...leaving around 7am that Saturday and returning around 4-5pm)

If you or your parents are interested in knowing more info either talk to Kevin or myself or check out this website: http://www.fmquizzing.org/

Let us know ASAP if you are definitely up for this challenge and competition!
The following people have said "YES":
Katie, Chris K, and Devon.

I have heard a "maybe" from: Chris F., Brittany F., Megan and Shelby.

2. The FEST is coming up quickly! Join us for a drive to Eastern Ohio (about 3 hours away) on Saturday August 8th. Official departure time to be announced later. We will spend the night hanging out at Melanie's parents' house. Then Sunday is the FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! concert from noon until 8pm. We will then drive home and return to the church around 11pm (or possibly earlier).
It IS free but you will want to bring $10-20 for a meal or two at fast food as well as any band merchandise you might want to buy!

Again, I need to hear from you ASAP if you're coming for sure. I know Chris K, John, Katie, Megan and Devon are definitely coming. If I'm wrong about that list let me know and if you want your name on that "for sure" list let me know!

3. The day after the Fest begins Vacation Bible School:: Crocodile Dock at Monroe FMC. August 10-14 from 6-8:30pm every night!
We need YOUR help (leading groups of kids, helping with games, helping with snacks, helping with music, etc, etc, etc.) and we want YOU to bring lots of kids (ages 4 through grade 6) to come to attend this FREE VBS!

Come to church next Sunday (at 9:45 for Quizzing practice) and stay after church for a really quick meeting about working at VBS!

4. Nevercast is coming to Monroe FMC! August 21st they are putting on a great concert for us and every single one of our friends! The concert tickets cost $5 in advance and $10 at the door and ALL of the money earned will go directly into our Jamaica Missions Trip fundraising pot!

So INVITE EVERYONE!!!!!

Ask Chris Kaufman for more information!

5. this message is for GIRLS ONLY: (don't worry, guys, you will get your chance too!)

I would love to plan a girls only overnight some time soon. I'm wanting to know what night would be best for you! Before school starts, after school starts?

You can come spend the evening with each other and with Melanie doing things girls do best. :D I plan on finding some great dvds that will give us some great time to discuss issues that you are dealing with in real life and don't worry there will be plenty of laughs, fun games and movies, and tons of good sleepover food!

Monday, July 6, 2009

1. volunteers needed! Jill (Devon's mom) is coordinating a car wash to help raise money to send Miss Wheelchair Michigan to the National Competition. Where do you come in? She needs you guys to help wash cars!!! here are the details:

when? Saturday, July 18th from 1-4pm
where? Monroe Home Care Shoppe (474 N. Telegraph Rd.)

Will you be there to help out?!!! This will be a great way to use your service gifts as well as to get the hang of washing cars for a possible Youth Group Jamaica Missions Trip car wash later this summer! (Unfortunately, I can't be at Jill's car wash as I'm going to be at a Women's Conference in Cleveland, OH..but I really hope we can depend on you guys to help!)

2. There is NO youth group this Sunday, July 12th! (We'll be at family camp at Somerset Beach!)

3. Church Picnic @ Somerset Beach THIS Sunday, July 12th at 2pm. It'd be sweet to see you out there!

4. There will be Youth Group on Sunday night, July 19th! See you THEN! (or if you come out to SBC at all during Family Camp--7/11-7/18--we'll see you there!)


5. We need help with ideas for advertising the NeverCast benefit concert that will be here at the church August 21st. Do you have any great ways to get LOTS of people to attend ($5 for tickets in advance, $10 at the door). Talk to Chris K. for more info on the band!


Monday, June 29, 2009

Softball Awesome-ness

I don't know about you guys, but the softball game turnout last night really blew all my expectations out of the water! We were hoping for enough people to make two teams and boy! did we ever exceed those numbers! At one point I counted almost 60 people and I'm sure I missed some coming and going! Wow! Way to invite friends and family! Way to get involved! Everyone's participation made the event truly "sponsored by SpiritFire"--you guys owned every part of it!

Check out Softball Night Pictures here.


John, thanks for being the head grilling chef! We seriously couldn't have pulled the "food" portion off without you! You did a great job and I appreciate the fact that a teen was grilling instead of giving the responsibility to the adults.

Katie, thanks so much for all the picture taking you did. I knew I could count on you to capture some great moments. I'm so glad you were there cheering us on!

Shelby, despite the fact that you were royally upset you couldn't play the full game, you were an irreplaceable part of it. We needed you back there making calls and catching! And then...you came out and took some great swings! Thanks for letting us run for you. :)

Travis, without your hard work in mowing and weed whacking and trimming we really couldn't have pulled this event off at all. Thank you dad for us too! You guys are really appreciated...especially for braving that heat last week!

Chris K, thanks for stepping up to help out with pitching and making calls and for being a great team player! Even the smack talk between you and your mom kept the game entertaining! lol

Chris F as well as John, Chris K, Katie and Heather and Brittney helped out a lot by coming early and helping us set up and staying later to help us clean up.

Kevin and I got lots of great feedback from this event and we're hoping we can pull something like this off again! What do you guys think?

I loved having all the teens and kids and adults intermingling and competing and talking and cheering and of course eating. That's what the church is meant to do--be ONE body (of Christ)!

As far as next Weekend goes:
-you and your families are all invited to The Eccles' 4th of July party!
1pm at the parsonage
bring some food to share
bring your own meat to grill
bring sporting equipment--we'll be playing lots of games!

-there is NO Sunday School.
-at this point we are still planning on having youth group Sunday night the 5th at 5:30pm. If something changes, I'll let you know asap, but there are so many weekends this summer that we have to cancel, I'm hoping to meet despite the holiday weekend.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Softball Game!

hey everyone! I hope you all enjoyed last Sunday with your dads and made them know how much you love and appreciate them!

The main purpose of this update is to reminder you of the BIG event coming up THIS Sunday! Do you remember what's happening? At 6pm Sunday, June 28th WE--the SpiritFire youth group--are hosting an All Church Softball Game & Hotdog Night!

PLEASE COME! And brings all your friends (and your families)! It's the perfect chance to invite those who might not be comfortable in the whole church scene! NO "church" involved this Sunday! Just hotdogs and softball!

If you can come around 5:30 to help set up and stay for a bit afterwards to help clean up that would be awesome!

RECAP:
  1. Softball Game in the field behind the church
  2. 6pm THIS Sunday! (come at 5:30 to help)
  3. Hotdogs & Chips & Drinks provided
  4. Bring lots of equipment--bats, balls, mitts!
  5. Bring Friends & Family
Questions? You know where to find me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

good times.

I just thought I should let you all know that I had a blast at youth group on Sunday! I was totally stoked to see three new additions and of course you "vets" were just as amazing as always! I seriously love hanging out with you all. Ultimate Frisbee was great, the food was good (minus the completely burnt pizza!), our future plans are totally exciting, and our conversation and challenge time was as intense as always. Thanks for participating!

Just a quick reminder:

June 21st--Father's Day! BBQ after church! NO youth group!
June 28th--ALL Church Softball Game & Hotdog night
August 8-9--night at Mel's parents' house and THE FEST!

Also, keep your ears and eyes open to announcements concerning some possible upcoming fundraisers for our 2010 Jamaica trip!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Something I had to re-post

Just because you guys might be interested. Don't forget to check below to see my other post from yesterday in case you guys missed it. I don't send cool emails when I update...maybe Mel will take pity on me and send one for me.

I've been trying to boil down my faith to something that I can easily explain that doesn't rely on Christian-ese. When I'm surrounded every day by people who literally laugh at the thought of a God that has a relationship with people...referencing the Bible to explain why Christianity is my "world view of choice" just doesn't seem to work well. Go figure.

So when you're not allowed to reference the Bible...what does Christianity boil down to. And if there is a God, why bother following Him? If He cared, wouldn't he let you know? Why hide, right? And why in the world would you wake up on Sunday morning to listen to some crazy guy read from an old, error prone book, just to tell you that the world came into being over 6 days, and is less than 10,000 years old?

Valid questions, I've got to admit.

Sure, we know that Jesus died for our sins, and we know that God loves us, and we don't want the people around us to burn in h-e-double hockey sticks, right? The bible says that we shouldn't lie, shouldn't kill, and it definitely gives us the responsibility to go into Iraq and bomb Sadaam out of power, right? He was a bad guy! Maybe these are all true, maybe they aren't...but the point is that those are all hot button issues that will get you ignored if you assert them with evidence that starts with "The Bible says that..."

As Christians, we've got to quit talking to each other so much. Fellowship is important, I get that. But when Fellowship Halls are more used than the altars...we have a problem. When Fellowship halls are only used for Christians to get together, and not for communities, "unsaved" friends, and people wether or not they belong to the church, why are we meeting on Sundays again?

Now don't get me wrong...I love learning about Jesus on Sunday morning, and Jesus taught in the synagogue "as was his custom" so we know that the Big Guy thought that church and meeting as believers was important. But I think that Jesus spent far more effort on the sick than the healthy...and I bet he didn't quote the Law to the Gentiles. Not because it didn't apply, but probably because He knew better than today's church does that the people who don't respect God already won't respect that old book that is supposedly "written" by him.

I think we need to simplify our view of Christianity. It's not about systematic theology, excatalogical speculation, and certainly not dogmatic teachings of one denomination over another. I wonder if Jesus would head over to the Playboy Mansion to try to chat with Heff about God. I wonder how many churches today would condemn any public evangelist who went into the Playboy mansion. I wonder how concerned Jesus was with "avoiding the very appearance of Evil." Yes, to clarify that one a bit. I don't think Jesus engaged in sinful activity...but that doesn't mean that he didn't go to a (likely shady) party with tax collectors that got him severely judged by the religious establishment of the day.

Jesus was simple. Jesus was clear. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We want to get to The Father, we go through Him. God isn't into this whole complicated business...we live His way, we go to heaven. No debates over Eternal Security, Denominations, whose church condoned slavery 150 years ago...none of it matters.

So here's my take on Christianity. You may feel like I left something out, but I challenge anyone to find something wrong with it.

1) God made us for a relationship with Him
2) We (as humans in general) ran off
3) God sacrificed Jesus to restore our relationship
4) EVERY rule in the Bible is there for our benefit, because He knows what we need better than we do.
5) Our job is to follow those rules, because it's in Him and in fulfilling our purpose that we are truly happy.

Not lying, not coveting, not stealing, killing, or being a jerk to the cashier in line in front of us. It's all for our benefit. Jesus put it well. "Love God with everything you've got. Love people as much as you love yourself." (the Kevin Paraphrased Translation) It's that simple, and I'm sick of people getting wrapped up in the details.

So you want to know how to talk to an unsaved person about God? Tell your own story. I guarantee that we all have a story about that time that we committed a sin and it screwed us over. Tell them about a God that loves us enough to give us all the answers we need. He made us for a relationship with him. We messed up, so he made a huge sacrifice to fix it. If we want to, we can live His way and be happy.

Who wouldn't want that?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Song to Listen to

I may be showing how old I am...but some of you have heard me talk about this song before, and how much I like it. So I decided to throw a link to an MP3 of the song up on the web so you all could download and listen to it. Here's the URL


This is a song that you've got to know the words to fully appreciate, so I'm going to post the lyrics below. The song is by a band called Five Iron Frenzy (which broke up a few years back) that you guys may or may not have ever even heard of, but they wrote a number of songs that really changed the way I looked at my Christian walk when I was in high school. These guys are great.

And now, for your reading pleasure...I present the lyrics to "Dandelions" by FIF.

In a field of yellow flowers,
underneath the sun,
bluest eyes that spark with lightning,
boy with shoes undone.
He is young, so full of hope,
reveling in tiny dreams,
filling up, his arms with flowers,
right for giving any queen.

Running to her beaming bright,
while cradling his prize.
A flickering of yellow light,
within his mother's eyes.
She holds them to her heart,
keeping them where they'll be safe,
clasped within her very marrow,
dandelions in a vase.

She sees love, where anyone else would see weeds.
all hope is found.
Here is everything he needs.

Fathomless your endless mercy,
weight I could not lift.
Where do I fit in this puzzle,
what good are these gifts?
Not a martyr, or a saint,
scarcely can I struggle through.
All that I have ever wanted,
was to give my best to you.

Lord, search my heart,
create in me something clean.
Dandelions
you see flowers in these weeds.

Gently lifting hands to heaven,
softened by the sweetest hush,
a Father sings over his children,
loving them so very much.
More than words could warrant,
deeper than the darkest blue,
more than sacrifice could merit,
Lord, I give my heart to you

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

*proud*

I am crazy proud right now. Bursting at the seams even! I just found out this morning from Pastor Dale that two of our very own teens--Chris and Megan--have volunteered to fill the need of teaching children's church on Sunday mornings! How cool is that?! Leave it to the youth to step up when the adults don't. :D So many of you are getting more and more involved in the life of our church as a whole and that is just awesome! Each of your are discovering your gifts and putting them to use--whether it be working in the nursery, helping with technology, being on the worship team, volunteering for potlucks and other church service projects and so much more. Keep up the great work. God is setting aside some amazing rewards in heaven for you. :)

You guys are setting an amazing example and doing a great job of stepping out on a limb trusting that God has a great plan for you. Way to use your spiritual gifts and fully live out the truths in I Timothy 4:12--

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

Thanks, Chris and Megan for following God's prodding in your lives. Let Kevin and I know if you need any prayer or guidance or advice. We will help as we can.



Monday, June 8, 2009

a little bit of this and that. oh and it's almost Summer!

:::How's life? School is nearly out and I'm pretty sure if I were sitting next to you right now as I said "school is nearly out" you would shout for JOY! :D I hope you're holding out strong through these last few days! Keep doing your absolute best. And remember the end is in sight!

PS. I'm super proud of each of you especially where school is concerned. You work hard and I'm constantly impressed with your brilliance! :) Each of you have special areas of giftedness and I'm loving being a part of your lives as you discover those talents.

:::Have you been shining Jesus lately? Are you friends noticing those little differences in your life that point them to the only ONE who can change us to be like Him?

Are you in the Word? What are you reading right now? Guys, how is the book of Mark going? Girls, what books are you exploring? Are you loving it? Is it challenging you? What are you learning? How is your life changing because of it? Do you find yourself coming up with questions that need answering? Well...write them down and ask me (or someone else who has a knowledge of Scripture!)

:::Summer Camp anyone? Somerset Beach is the place to be. Here are the dates for youth camps:


Young Teen Camp I (grades 6-8) June 14-18
Senior Teen Camp (grades 9-12) June 21-25
Young Teen Camp II July 26-30
Young Teen Camp III August 2-6

If you have any questions about camp or about SBC or about summer or about life in general, you know how to find me. :)

:::Youth group is ON for this coming Sunday, June 13th! See you then!

PS. Anyone willing to bring a snack for all of us?????

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Enjoy!

It was great being with all of you again on Sunday night.  We really do miss you all when we're not together!  :D  I'm looking forward to the great activities coming our way this summer, and hopefully we'll also have a few weeks of regular ol' youth group time too!  Thanks for understanding our need to take an anniversary trip and graciously encouraging Kevin and I to get away together this weekend.  We really appreciate you guys!  

Remember these days:
June 7th:  no youth group
June 14th:  YES!  we have youth group!
June 21st:  Father's Day...NO youth group
June 28th:  Youth Group sponsored All-Church Softball Game and Hotdog Night

August 9th:  The FEST in Ohio!  Keep an ear open for details!  Check out the website:  http://www.thefest.us/

For now enjoy a few pictures (thanks to Katie!) of our awesome girls against guys soccer game! :D

::shelby shows us how it's done::
::toe to toe combat::
::and Megan said she couldn't play soccer!::

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Summer Activities

Hey everyone!  Even though our May meetings are kind of few and far between (there IS youth group this Sunday!), I've been looking ahead to the summer months and trying to plan some fun out of the ordinary events for you and your friends to enjoy.  Here's what I'm looking into:

A day of service with the Jackson, MI mission agency called Together We Can Make a Difference
PuttPutt or Go-Karts or Ice Cream in Monroe
The Fest in Cleveland, Oh on August, 9.  It's a free music festival featuring Jars of Clay, Branden Heath, Matthew West and Nicole C. Mullens.  And opening for Jars of Clay is a Jackson area band called "Like Jonathan" and the lead singer is one of my friends!


I don't have any specific dates nailed down, but I thought I would give you all a look into the future and get your thoughts on these potential plans.  Would you love all of them?  Do you more or different or better ideas? Are there any specific weeks are that just plain "bad" for extra events (because your family is out of town or something)?  I'm thinking most of these activities will be during the week since you'll all be bored to death on summer break! ;)  Let me know asap and I'll be posting information as soon as possible.  

Don't forget to check the calendar of events posted in the right column.

And how is the Bible reading going?  Girls, have you picked a book to read through?  Does anyone have any questions?  Or comments? or insights into what you are reading?  Share! :)

ps.  Happy belated birthday to Shawn!!  Sorry we missed it

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mothers and more

1.  Mother's Day is THIS Sunday!  This means 3 things:  First, there is no youth group.  Second, you should bring your mom (and the rest of your families) to the 11am church service and stick around for the potluck lunch!  And third, are you planning on doing something wonderful to celebrate and thank your mom?  I have some ideas for you if you're at a complete loss:
-wake up before mom and fix her breakfast in bed.
-put together a "coupon book" of tasks or favors you will do for her when she uses a certain coupon.
-buy her flowers (maybe her favorite flower)
-buy or make her a card--this one is essential as far as I'm concerned.  Even if you do nothing else, letting your mom know in words how much you love and appreciate her is priceless.
-buy a picture frame and put a really great picture of you and your mom in it.
-make lunch or dinner for her--give her Mother's Day "off" of her normal duties.
If you still want other ideas, let me know and I'll come up with more. :D  I've been at this for a while. 

2.  With 2 weeks off in a row (thanks to my illness...boo!) I just wanted to remind you all to be faithfully meeting with God.  Guys are reading through Matthew (I believe...) and Girls, you should pick a book of the Bible* and try to read through a chapter a week--working through a few verses each day.  Let God speak to you and talk with him about your struggles, your achievements, anything!  
* When choosing a book of the Bible I would recommend starting with one of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) or one of the Epistles (Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, or Colossians) or Psalms in the Old Testament.  Philippians and Psalms are definitely two of my favorite books for times of devotions.

I can't wait to get back together and do some more group debates and conversation.  That was so great a couple weeks ago!  Kevin will be running youth group "solo" on May 17th as I'll be in Canada with my best friend for her wedding shower.  (so sad I'll be missing you all!)  And then the next week (May 24th) is off because of Memorial Day.  

Check the calendar to the right -->

Keep in touch while we're apart, ok? :)  
and see you on Mother's Day!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Recapping our Awesome Sunday and stuff for Next Week

1.  I forgot to ask if anyone would be willing to provide us with a snack this next week.  Let me know asap if you can.  Chris K, thanks for bringing a great snack this past Sunday.  

2.  This past Sunday we had 3 on 3 softball--that proved to be hard work, competitive, really hot, and definitely FUN!  Shelby, thanks so much for bringing your softball gear.  What does everyone want to play next week?  Softball again? (I like that idea!!)  or something else?  If I don't hear suggestions for next week's sport then I will plan on softball and ask all of you to bring whatever equipment you have--especially gloves!  We'll have to count on Shelby again for most of the equipment, but something tells me she won't mind too much. ;-) 

3.  child sponsorship forms will be available to you next Sunday.  If you believe this is a way God wants you to serve, then come prepared to commit to a monthly donation amount (decided by YOU...$1, $5, $25...whatever you can definitely give every month!)  

4.  After we cooled down from a very rousing game of softball, we all headed to the youth room where we had one of THE BEST conversations and debates and question time ever!  Kevin posed as our "Atheist friend" and our goal was to converse with him about our belief in God.  Challenging topics ranged from heaven and hell, to the purpose of our lives, to the reasons we go to church, and what if someone never hears the gospel.  

Everyone showed great participation, raised amazing questions, and respectfully debated one another's points.  This is a fantastic way to challenge and strengthen our beliefs (the whole range of them!) while learning what it could be like to have real conversations with our friends about "the reason for the hope that we have" (I Peter 3:15).  

Tune in next week (and hopefully many weeks to come) for more riveting discussion. 

Come prepared with tough questions and let's keep the conversations rolling!  I can't wait!


P.S.  Now would be a great time to start inviting your friends--whether they already know Jesus or not!  We're playing sports, eating snacks, and discussing topics that are most important to YOU!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

last week, summer schedule, child sponsor, and more!

1.  To those who were at youth group this past Sunday night, thank you for your participation and your attention and we discussed the necessity of praying for our friends to be changed by Jesus Christ.  As the weeks go by, we will continue encouraging one another through stories of success and failure as we learn how to share the Gospel message of Jesus through our conversations or reactions and our deeds.  We will work hard to fully understand the message of the Gospel and then take that understanding to the next level--being able to carry on conversations and debates with friends (specifically un-saved).  We will also focus on memorizing the ways that God has personally changed your lives--the testimony of the work God does can not be refuted.  

Pray for your friends.
Pray for your personal passion for your friends and your deepening relationship with God.


2.  I will have a summer schedule posted soon, but in case you haven't heard we are planning Sunday Evening Sports for the summer months.  Every Sunday evening during the summer, we will meet at 5:30pm for a time in small groups and then from 6-7:30 we will head out to the field for activities such as softball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, and more!  This is a great opportunity to invite your friends--whether they already know Jesus or not--because sporting events are a very un-threatening environment where we can all hang out and get to know each other (and maybe have the opportunity to share about God's love while waiting in the batting lineup).  

Stay tuned for more information!!

3.  Mark your Calendar:  There will be NO SpiritFire on the evenings of:
Mother's Day      May 10th
Memorial Day weekend May 24th
Father's Day June 21st
Family Camp @ SBC July 12th (and possibly July 19th as well)

4.  Sponsor a Child:  I would like each of you to be in prayer and careful consideration to decide if you would like to contribute money monthly to help sponser a child around the world.  Whether it's $2 a month or $15 a month, you will be committing to donate this money faithfully--knowing that a child's life depends on that money!  Are you willing to sacrifice a few extra bottles of pop or a trip to McDonald's or that awesome new bathsuit or that must-have new video game????  Come prepared next week to commit to a monthly donation to sponser a child.  

Jesus calls us to give of our money cheerfully and to care for and support the widows and orphans of this world.   

5.  Snack next Sunday (April 26th):  Thanks Chris Kaufman (and Pam!) for offering to supply us with a snack for next week!