1. Mission Trips Bring Youth Groups Together.
If you’ve ever been on a weekend student retreat, you know how that experience can build community. Teenagers ride together, play together, eat together, stay up late together, get up tired together… “Together” is a powerful word. Think of “together” as glue – the more broadly it’s spread, the better a youth group will bond. Mission trips apply “together” to students’ sense of adventure, their desire serve, their relationship with God, their daily experiences, their broken comfort zones and much more (including these things below!).
2. Mission Trips Broaden Perspectives.
Teenagers might be more connected than ever with what’s happening around the world, but have they seen what it’s like to live below the poverty line in small-town America? Or experienced the energy and exhaustion of inner-city living? Or felt the heartbeat of Native America beaten across the taut surface of a drum? Pulling teenagers from their typical context helps them understand that the world is larger that their daily lives would have them believe. By beginning to understand another setting, their own context comes into truer focus.
3. Mission Trips Challenge Comfort Zones.
Beyond broadening perspectives, mission trips demand that teenagers participate. Painting a house, playing with kids, serving a meal, sleeping on an air mattress, experiencing a new culture – these are a few examples of ways comfort zones are crossed. But when coupled with intentional processing and worship, mission trips have the unique ability to challenge students’ comfortable perceptions of God and the world. Faith steps beyond the doors of the church and demands to be applied to real-world living.
4. Mission Trips Empower Students.
God is doing incredible work through the Church. The energy, authenticity, fresh perspective and passion teenagers bring are a vibrant part of that church. Done well, mission trips help students take ownership and initiative. Eyes are opened. Passions are ignited. Possibilities are exposed. Pursuits begin. Mission trips help teenagers see what they are capable of. But first, the Church chooses to believe in the incredible opportunity of being a teenager – not a possibility to be met “someday,” but a boiling potential just waiting to overflow.
5. Mission Trips Create Sacred Space.
The Israelites used to build monuments by throwing together big piles of rocks to point at later and say, “That signifies God’s faithfulness in our nation.” For many teenagers, mission trips represent a time and a place when God worked in and through their lives. More than a mere mountain-top high, these sacred spaces both anchor students in their faith and propel them forward in their relationship with God. Even in times of trouble, teenagers often point toward their mission trip experience and say, “That signifies God’s faithfulness in my life.”
It’s getting worse, or maybe I’m noticing it more now that it’s illegal. On any given day, I see numerous people either slyly, or blatantly texting, or being on their phone. Usually it’s an inconvenience to me, due to someone not noticing the light change and I have to sit through another red light.
Liz Mark’s story really struck me. Although your kid texting while driving might inconvenience me, it could change your family forever.
Please watch Liz Mark’s Texting and Driving Story and talk to your driving age children about it. – Greg
From truthnotes.net Posted
My parents forced me to eat three times a day growing up. No joke. Three times. Every. Single. Day. And it wasn’t always stuff I liked, either. Matter of fact, I complained a lot about what my mom made. “Ewww, gross! Sauteed zucchini? Seriously? Mom, you know we hate this stuff!” So as I approached adulthood I made an important decision. Since my parents forced me to eat while I was growing up, I decided I was done with meals. Oh, here and there I’ll eat out of obligation. I mean, family traditions like Thanksgiving and Christmas, yeah, I’m there. But daily eating? No way. I’m done.
Set in any other context, excuses people make for not going to church sound completely ridiculous. But set in the context of Christianity, people say these things in all seriousness while others nod sagely in somber agreement.
My son told me a few weeks into school that he didn’t like the teacher. He wasn’t getting excited enough about learning, and he didn’t really feel connected to the other kids in his class, so I told him he never had to go back to school again. Who wants to waste their time going somewhere where they aren’t being fulfilled?
We’ve never forced our daughter to stay off the road when playing. We don’t want to restrict her imagination. We allow her the freedom to make her own choices in life.
Okay, Ruth. Come on. That one was just ridiculous. No loving parent would ever say that. That’s a safety issue- a matter of life and death. Exactly. And that’s just my point.
Church isn’t a place you go to get pumped up about life. It isn’t entertainment like a movie or concert. It is literally a life and death matter. Eternal life. Just as a loving parent wouldn’t allow their child to wander in the road or to quit school, a loving Christian parent also does not give the option to their children about going to church, learning Bible stories at home, and praying together. Do your kids always jump for joy when they hear you say, “Time to get up! Let’s get ready for church!” No. They won’t. Do they get excited for school every morning? Hardly. But you still make them go. Why? Because you are the parent and you know what’s best. Even when they complain, you serve them healthful meals and limit their junk food intake. You set boundaries for their own safety when playing outside. You insist they go to school because you’re looking at the long term picture. And you are right to do those things. How much more so are you responsible for doing all you can to secure their eternal well being?
Yes, kids can be brought up in a loving Christian home and still turn away later. That’s on them. But you, parents, have a task of the utmost importance. God has placed these precious children into your homes for such a brief while. You have them with you for perhaps 1/5 of their lives. Set a strong foundation while they are under your roof. Take them to church. Make sure they understand that they are sinners and that Jesus is their Savior. They are never too young to learn this. My one-and-a-half year old sees a cross and excitedly shouts, “Jesus!” Don’t use the excuse that “they wouldn’t understand this.” Try them. I don’t understand it all myself, but I still believe. And you’d better believe that the Holy Spirit works in their hearts effectively. My children sometime amaze me with the insights they pick up during devotions or Bible readings. The strength of their faith often humbles me. Once when I was having a terrible day, my oldest asked, “Can I pray with you?” He was nine at the time. He knows there is power in prayer. He perceives that sometimes there’s nothing he can say that will make it better, so he’ll just go straight to the One who does have that power. Do my own kids complain about church? Yes. Do they tell me it’s boring? Sometimes, yes. They say the same things about school. But church and school are different environments for a reason. School is centered around learning and thus has its own schedule and structure. Church is a hospital for sinners. That would be all of us, mind you. You, me, the drug dealer a few streets away- all of us are sinners in need of a Savior. So what do we do at church? We confess our sins. Why do we do this at the start? To “wipe our feet” before entering God’s house, so to speak. Then we are assured of forgiveness. We hear God’s Word. We sing hymns proclaiming what Christ has done for us. We hear sermons where our pastors preach Christ. We don’t go to church to hear what we have to do to gain heaven. No, Christ did it all. 100%. We can’t do one thing to merit salvation for ourselves. That’s why we hear sermons about Jesus and not about us. We take the body and blood of Jesus in Holy Communion for the strength of our souls. And we depart refreshed to serve God by serving our families, friends, and neighbors in Christian love.
So parents, don’t give in to outside pressures telling you not to force your kids to go to church. Don’t give in to them, either, when they complain about it. Because at some point an amazing thing happens- that kid who complains about church grows up and takes his or her own kids to church every Sunday. Going back to my opening analogy, believe it or not, there came a point in my own life where I realized I actually liked sauteed zucchini (although I never would have admitted that to my mother). Keep at it, parents. Just as we need three meals a day for physical strength and nourishment, so do we need regular worship to refresh and strengthen our souls. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make breakfast.
PHOTO IS BAYLEE BY ALLY MAURO
Here are 7 ways a husband injures a wife…without even knowing it:
From Ron Edmondson, Ronedmondson.com – http://goo.gl/Jo8QzJ
Cuts her out of the discussion – When you act as if she isn’t even there or wouldn’t understand what you’re talking about, she feels a part of her is detached. She sees the marriage as a partnership…in every part of life…even the parts she may never fully understand.
Fails to notice the difference she makes – A woman doesn’t want to be appreciated for only what she does. She wants you to appreciate who she is, but you can admit it – she does a lot. Whether it’s decorating the house or making sure the clothes are clean…or that you have your favorite soap…a woman wants to know what she does is valued by you.
Underestimates the small stuff – You only said “this” but it was “THIS” to her. And it hurts. You may even think it’s funny. She may even laugh. But it is often building a wall of protection around her heart each time you do. The key here is that you can’t talk to her like you might talk to another guy. She hears and feels deeper than you do. Words can and do hurt.
Speaks with curtness – When you talk down to her, as if she’s somehow less than you, you bruise her spirit. Deeply. And, you know she’s not less than you…you don’t even think she is…she just can’t tell that sometimes based on your tone and the way you talk to her.
Corrects her as she’s talking – This could be finishing her sentences or speaking for her in the company of others. She feels demeaned and devalued when you present her to others as if she can’t compete with you in original thought…which you know isn’t true. (My wife is much smarter than me.)
Acts suspicious – Don’t misunderstand or misapply this one. When you hide information, even when you think you’re protecting her, you cause her to question your motive. When you protect your calendar…or act like you are upset at the question “What did you do today?” or “What did you talk about?” or “Who was that?” when someone calls, it gives her an eerie feeling something is wrong. And, that hurts.
Admires other women over her – She sees you looking. She may even understand your highly visual make-up. It hurts her, however, when a glance becomes a stare…especially when it happens everywhere you go…all the time.
A wife’s heart, no matter how independent or strong she is, is tender in places. Lots of places. She can bruise easily in some areas of her life…especially the places that involve the people she loves the most…like you. A husband who understands this is more careful in how he speaks and responds to her.
Most husbands I know would never injure their wife knowingly. They want to be her protector. Men, when we don’t realize the damage we are doing to our wives emotions, we invalidate every desire we have to be her defender. I always like to use this thought as a reminder: Would I ever allow another man to speak to or treat my wife like I am doing? She’s a precious gift guys…let’s treat her well.
Here are 7 ways a wife injures her husband (without even knowing it):
From Ron Edmondson, ronedmondson.com – http://goo.gl/HokL36
Put him down in front of other people – Most men will not counter this type of humiliation in public…if ever. They will simply take it…and hurt. If they do eventually address it it will be out of stored up resentment…maybe anger…and it won’t be pretty.
Go behind him when he tries to do something at home – When you always show him how much better you can do things than he can do them, his ego is injured. When he fixes the bed…for example…and you follow behind him showing him the “correct way” immediately after he finishes, he is reminded he doesn’t measure up to your standards.
Constantly badger him – If he doesn’t do what you want him to do…and you remind him. Again. And, again…it never accomplishes what you think it will. In fact, it injures him with the opposite result.
Use the “you always” phrase…excessively – Because…he “always” does… Not really, but when you accuse him that he always does…sadly, it only helps build him into a man that always will.
Hold him responsible for your emotional well-being – Acting as if he’s the reason you feel bad today…and every other day you feel bad…puts undue pressure on him he doesn’t know what to do with. And, you don’t have to tell him. Subtly, just be in a bad mood towards him…without releasing him from guilt. He’ll take the hint…and own the responsibility. He will think it’s his fault even if it’s not. And, he caries that pain.
Complain about what you don’t have or get to do – He has a desire to fix things. He wants to be a provider. Every man does. Some attempt to live it out and some don’t. But, when he’s trying, doing the best he can, yet he feels he isn’t measuring up…he’s crushed. When you are always commenting on what other women have…that you don’t…he carries the blame…even if you’re not intending it to be his.
Don’t appreciate his efforts – Want to injure a man? Refuse to appreciate the things he feels he does well. It could be work, a hobby or a trait, but he feels part of his identity in the things he does. When you don’t find them as “valuable” as he does, his ego is bruised.
The reality is a man’s ego…self-confidence…sense of worth…is greatly tied to his wife. Just as a woman’s is to her husband. We can be fragile people. Some more than others. And, some seasons more than others. Understanding these issues and addressing them…with a third party if necessary…build healthier, stronger and happier people…and marriages.
I understand some women, especially the equally or more wounded women, are going to take offense to this post. I get that. I’m prepared for that…I think. All I can say is that you can’t measure my heart or my intention. As I said, I aim to help. You can’t address what you do not know. If you are guilty of any of these, the response is up to you. If not, well, thanks for reading to this point in the post anyway.
Here are 7 ways we injure a child — without even knowing it:
From Ron Edmondson, ronedmondson.com, http://goo.gl/lGbKDw
Unrealistic expectations – Ephesians 6 tells the father not to “exasperate the child”. I was guilty of breaking this command at times. Unrealistic expectations often build perfectionistic tendencies in the child and often creates co-depency traits. I sometimes expected more of my boys than they were old enough to do at the time. I expected perfection from them too often. A 10 year old boy is a 10 year old boy. Now, there should be some non-negotiable standards of behavior for a 10 year old, but at 10, kids make mistakes. Why should that surprise me? I’m still making mistakes at 50 years of age. Sometimes I wish I would have lightened up a bit on my boys.
Lack of priorities – When everything and everyone else in life has more value than the time a parent spends with a child they know it. And, it hurts them. They may not even know how to verbalize what they are missing. They aren’t always wise enough yet to look at their life and see how important they should be in a parent’s week. They only know they wish they had more time with the people they admire the most. Someday they’ll know what they missed.
Sharing more than they can handle – Children do not have the emotional capacity to handle everything an adult deals with in life. Whether its an upcoming weather situation or a tragedy in the news or it’s not being able to make monthly personal expense, we create unnecessary fear and anxiety in our children when we share too much information. I’m not suggesting we shelter our children. Actually, I lean more the opposite way. We were very open and honest with our boys, but we were careful how, what and when we shared with them. We thought through the way in which we shared information, being very careful to share only what was needed and in a way that provided clarity not fear.
Giving everything – We sometimes set children up for disappointment in the real world when they never have anything remaining on their want list. Years ago I heard a statistic that most children get the majority of what they want these days — that wasn’t always the case, but as adults, few of us get all that we want. If we aren’t careful, we cause children to struggle with contentment in life, because they don’t know how it feels to wait for what they want.
Over protecting – Children need to learn to fail. There will be a day when can’t shelter them from the world. The more we let them make mistakes when we are still able to help them recover, the better they will be prepared when they no longer live under our roof.
Under protecting – This world is evil. Children don’t have your experience. They aren’t ready to make all the decisions that come their way. Many parents delegate too many choices to their children. There’s a time to give them freedom to choose, but when it’s a matter of moral right and wrong, especially in the earlier years of a child’s life, parents sometimes have to be the bad guy.
Missed teaching moments – We sometimes ignore the power of a moment and we may never get it back. Devaluing the importance of “now” causes many parents to miss the best opportunities for teaching life-changing principles. That moment of discovery is huge for a child. It starts by knowing what you want to teach your children — the values you want them to hold — and constantly looking for life situations that allow you to plant them in your child’s heart.
I realize I’m stepping into dangerous territory when I enter into someone else’s parenting. My only aim is to help. I know parents desire to parent well. But at my age, I’ve made enough mistakes I’m starting to learn from some of them. Before I start to forget them I thought I’d share. Apply as necessary.
Let me also say that grace is always available in your parenting — and it’s never too late. Even adult parents can make changes for good in their parenting. I’ve shared before that my father wasn’t always there when I was growing up, but he taught me how to finish well better than anyone could have done.