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Creating a LOW 2 NO budget Retreat with Maximum Impact!

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

This past weekend was our second year to host ONE Retreat for our Fusion Students.  All of the prayers, recruiting, planning, and dealing with last-minute changes all came together when that first student arrives with a huge smile on their face excited about the weekend. As a leader, it can be challenging to offer a life changing event, let alone, a retreat, when money is tight.  However, it can be done.

Here are a 3 things I have learned over the years:

1. STAY LOCAL!
The temptation is always to go somewhere else and not utilize the facility and people who are within your own church. Students don’t mind grabbing a sleeping bag and crashing on the floor of someones house, they just enjoy the time together. But this not only creates momentum in your group, it allows others within your church get involved in the weekend! This creates a church wide vibe about the Student Ministry.

2. USE YOUR OWN LEADERS!
The temptation is to bring in known speakers, worship band, and even professional leaders. However, doing so, limits the ripple effect from the weekend! The speaker will leave to speak somewhere else, the worship band will lead worship somewhere else, and the professional leaders, more than likely Student Pastors you may know, will return to their Students within their Student Ministries. The only people who remember details of the retreat are the students and a handful of leaders.

When you use your own leaders, it allows what happens at the retreat to affect other areas of your ministry. It brings the student and their leaders together because they have shared in the same experience. Conversations can be deeper, laughter can be richer, and commitments can be stronger.

3. USE RESOURCES WISELY!
The temptation here is to be over the top! However, over the top cost a lot of money and limits who can afford to go to a life changing weekend. A lot of cost can be sucked into facilities, transportation, food, housing, equipment, print materials, and personalities. Much of this can be minimized by using resources wisely!

With today’s technology you can use a podcast of some of the best speakers in the church today at the click of a button. There are people/parents of teens in your church that would open their homes for students to stay in over the weekend. There are other volunteers in your church that would be willing to cook some meals for individual groups, or participate in a large cooking team for each meal. Parents, Leaders, and other Church Members can provide transportation to & from the Church to the Host Home and an afternoon activity if you choose to have one. When it comes to facilities and equipment, they are already set up because you use them every week!

These are just some things that I’ve learned over the years as we try to maximize our resources to create life changing events for students. Please note, having low to no budget, or using any of these steps doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality. You just provide high quality with minimal cost and more participation!

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ONE Retreat – this Weekend & we NEED YOUR HELP!

January 10, 2011 Leave a comment

As you know, ONE Retreat is this weekend!!!!  We have a great weekend planned for our students, but we also have some very urgent needs as we head into the weekend.  Because we take registration up to the last minute, we are in need of some Host Homes for Friday and Saturday Night. 

If you would be willing to let students sleep on your living-room floor, have spiritual conversations in your home, as they draw closer to God, and some even surrender their life to Jesus, then we need your help!!!! We will do everything we can to make this a positive experience for you! If you can help by opening your home, please e-mail Helene Millsap ASAP!

Secondly, Steve Adkins is looking for some help providing Breakfast on Sunday Morning for all the students that will attend this weekend. He has it down to an art and would love to have you help and participate in what God will do in Big Ways this weekend.  If you can help cook on Sunday Morning please e-mail Steve Adkins ASAP!

Lastly, because this is such a big weekend, will you join me in praying that God would convict, correct, challenge, & change our students and adults from the inside out!?! We want this weekend to be life changing as we focus on different aspects living in an “Unstoppable” way!

 

SEVEN – week 1: Gluttony

October 25, 2010 1 comment

SEVEN
Gluttony
10.24.10

Galatians 5:16-25

WHAT IS GLUTTONY?

  • Gluttony is EXCESSIVE eating and drinking!

The Bible names gluttony as a sin associated with wastefulness, stubbornness, rebellion and disobedience. It exists on the same level of drunkenness (Deut. 21:20-21).

“The parents must say to the elders, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious and refuses to obey. He is a glutton and a drunkard.’ 21 Then all the men of his town must stone him to death. In this way, you will purge this evil from among you, and all Israel will hear about it and be afraid.”  Duet 21:20-21

In fact, gluttony is more dangerous than drunkenness because it goes on with no one taking notice.

Gluttony is not the indulgence of sinful things, but the over-indulgence of things lawful. In food, drink, even recreation and work – gluttony, in principle, involves the mistreatment of the good things that God has given us.

Gluttony is seldom, if ever, admitted to, confessed and repented of because it is the norm. Think about it for a minute, how many times have we stuffed our faces and then boasted about how sick we feel after-wards.  But if we’re not careful …

  • Gluttony can lead to OBESITY!

Top ten Fattest Countries

1. Nauru
2. Federated States of Micronesia
3. Cook Islands
4. Tonga
5. Niue
6. Samoa
7.Palau
8.Kuwait
9.United States
10.Kiribati

Top ten Fattest States

1. Mississippi
2. Alabama
3. Tennessee
4. West Virginia
5. Louisiana
6. Oklahoma
7. Kentucky
8. Arkansas
9. South Carolina
10. Michigan tied with North Carolina

Texas is #13

It all starts with a chubby baby,

then leads to an overweight kid,

that turns into an overweight adult,

that hangs out with overweight friends.

Truth be told, something needs to change. This is something that we have allowed to get out of hand one small bite at a time.  As Christ Followers we need to be setting the example instead of stating excuses.  But before we can, we need to understand why its important.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT NOT TO BE A GLUTTON?

1. Our bodies are the TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!

“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

2. We are called to have SELF-CONTROL!

“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” Galatians 5:22-25 (NLT)

“A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.”  Proverbs 25:28 (NLT)

3. So we don’t cause others to STUMBLE!

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33 (NIV)

HOW DO I AVOID IT?

1. THINK right!

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” Colossians 3:2 (NLT)

2. EAT right!

“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.” Daniel 1:8 (NLT)

3. EXERCISE right!

“Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2 (NLT)

Be who YOU are!!!

October 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Saw this a couple of weeks ago at Student Life Refuge! It’s just a simple reminder that I sometimes forget!

Love is Forgiving

February 7, 2010 6 comments

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)

I have to be honest I am a score keeper.  If someone hurts me, I want to hurt them … or I wish that they would get what they deserve by something bad happening to them.  I know, I am sick and need help, but thankfully, I am learning about how important forgiveness is and how it affects me.

Today we’re talking about the fact that Love is Forgiving.  If we are going to have the face of love, we are going to have to understand why forgiveness is important.  Today, I want to give you 3 big reasons.

WHY IS FORGIVENESS IMPORTANT?

  • It makes me right with GOD!

Sometimes we look at our life and we say, “I am not that bad.” I haven’t stolen anything, killed anyone, or been arrested.  The worst thing I may have done is told a white lie or cheated on a test.  I’m not that bad. however, regardless of how good we are the Bible says,

“For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

You see all of us have the same problem, we can never be good enough on our own to meet God’s standard.  But the good news is that Jesus steps on the scene and changes everything.

“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT)

When we understand that Jesus would come and die a painful death, so we could experience forgiveness and have a relationship with God, it helps us realize how important forgiveness is and allows us to see how much we need a Savior.  God offers forgiveness to anyone that asks.  The Bible says,

“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” 1 John 1:9 (NLT)

No matter what we have done, God can and will forgive us when we confess our sins to Him and repent from them.  Why is forgiveness important … because it makes us right with God.

  • It makes me right with MYSELF!

Many times I am my own worst enemy.  I’ll lay in bed at night and replay over and over the things that I despise about myself.  I’ll ask God to forgive me, but for some reason, I can’t seem to forgive myself.

But here is what I am learning, when I ask God to forgive me … He does.  He forgives me no matter what I have done.  But not only does he forgive … the Bible says that he forgets that thing I have asked forgiveness of.  Look what it says,

“And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:12 (NLT)

You see God is much different than we are.  Once we ask for forgiveness, He forgets about it. But for some sick reason, we like to play it over and over and over in our heads and we never experience the true freedom that forgiveness offers.

Listen, the next time you’re reminded about something you have asked God to forgive, just remember Hebrews 8:12 and remind yourself that God has forgiven and forgotten that sin.  Then begin to reprogram those thoughts so you can experience  the freedom that forgiveness offers.

  • It makes me right with OTHERS!

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.”  Colossians 3:12-14 (NLT)

Sometimes people will do messed up things.  Their selfishness can cause us great pain.  Their words and actions can cut us deeply and I’ve learned that sometimes it’s the people closest to us that hurt us the most. When things like this happen typically our first response is anger.  We hold a grudge and want to lash out at them.  We want to hurt them like they have hurt us.

But Forgiveness does something different.  When we choose to admit that that was messed up, that we have been wronged, then, we can truly forgive them.  Despite our own hurt and pain, we can choose to forgive and experience Gods Supernatural Peace.  Sometimes we never experience this, because we hang on to the hurt and pain caused by someone else instead of forgiving them and allowing God to be glorified in our pain.

I found this video inspired by Mary Karen Read.  Mary was a student killed in the Virginia Tech shooting. This captures her last journal entry before her life was taken expectantly in a powerful way.

“Forgiveness doesn’t change the past, but it does enlarge the future.” – Mary Karen Read

When I was 22 years old, I learned something about forgiveness.  Personal story.

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT)

When we choose to forgive someone that has wronged us, it speaks louder than anything we could every say or do to seek revenge.  It frees us from carrying the hurt and pain, but it’s also a testimony of God’s love and forgiveness to those watching.

I want to share another video that captures the importance and testimony to the power of forgiveness by James E. Faust.  When I watch this I think of sitting and listening to my grandfather who was a strong Christian and a very wise man.  James was a politician, and a leader in the Mormon Church.  However, what he shares in this video is truth (it can be backed up with Scripture) and we must remember that all truth comes from God, regardless of where that truth comes from.  Take a look for yourself,

Forgiveness is a powerful thing!  And the questions we have to ask ourselves today are: Have I experienced Gods forgiveness, will I allow myself to move past a sin that I have asked God to forgive, and will I show others forgiveness that I have experienced myself?

Forgiveness is a choice.  You can choose to be bitter, angry, and full of rage, or you can choose to be forgiving, and ask God for His Supernatural Power so you can forgive and experience His Supernatural Peace.  My prayer is that we, together, would choose to be forgiving, first by understanding and experiencing Gods Forgiveness ourselves.

I put in your notes some action steps that will help you begin to have the Face of Love concerning this idea of forgiveness.

ACTION STEPS

  • EXPLORE God’s forgiveness!

Everyday I learn something new about God.  It’s ok to ask question and seek answers.  I encourage you to explore the things you don’t understand or know anything about.

  • EXPERIENCE God’s forgiveness!

Everyday I mess up, and I need to confess all my stuff to God so I can experience forgiveness.  Once I ask God to forgive me, I need to trust that He has forgiven me and remembers my sin no more.  I need to stop beating myself up over something that God has wiped clean and forgotten about.

  • EXPRESS God’s forgiveness!

I need to show forgiveness to others around me even if they don’t ask for it!

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)

I know its a lot to think about.  But if you want to have the Face of Love, you have to understand that Love is Forgiving and we are never more like Jesus than when we forgive other!  Let these words of Jesus seep deep into our hearts this week.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34-35 (NLT)

Don’t miss this!!!

February 2, 2010 1 comment

I’ve seen it all!

January 29, 2010 1 comment

If you’re involved with teenagers you understand this video!!!

EXCITED that the Fusion Team gets to head to Chicago in February for the Simply Youth Ministry Conference!  Going to be a great time of learning, laughing, and team building!!!