Friday, July 29, 2011

Friday - Leaders Profile

1). Song of the Day: Ashes Remain - ♫ Everything Good ♫

2). Leader - Mike Maroney
POSITION - Associate Pastor at North Platte Calvary
HISTORY - Graduated from Trinity Bible College, pastored in Thedford, Mullen, and Valentine
GRADUATE - Ellendale High School in 1998
HOBBIES - Football, NYM Events, Gaithers Music

3). Ministry of the Day: A Place for You - the blog of our Youth Ministries in Ogallala, NE, authored by Heather Gill.

4). Link of the Day: 42 Tasks - The task management app you've been waiting for!

5). Quote of the Day: 'The reason some of our ministries stop growing is because we have' - Jeffery Portmann

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Rain Day. It is also the birthday of Ryan Braun, famous Milwaukee Brewer Baseball player, from 1980. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married in 1981.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thursday - Testimonies

1). Song of the Day: Hillsong Live - ♫ Rise ♫

2). Blog Entry: Testimonies
- Last month the Teen Bible Quiz team from Northfield Church flew to Dallas, Texas for the 49th Annual Bible Quiz National Finals. Luke Hamilton placed ninth as an individual high scorer in the Challenger Division. The most glorious moment came when he was announced as #1 in the Dramatic Quoting. Streamed live before the entire world, Luke dramatically and perfectly quoted John chapter 9 and brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation.
- Melissa Parker was also awarded a $500 National Bible Quiz Scholarship, which she intends to use in her pursuit of a nursing degree at North Central University in Minnesota. And to top it all off, Coach Linda Parker also came home with a $15 gift certificate to Olive Garden for placing 3rd during the Novice Adult Quizzing.

3). Ministry of the Day: Omaha Midnight Run - A ministry oriented night run for young adults in Omaha.

4). Link of the Day: TribeSports - Record and celebrate your sports performances, interact with other athletes from most every major sport.

5). Quote of the Day: 'There's more to being king than getting your way all the time.' - Mufasa, The Lion King

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Milk Chocolate Day. It is also the birthday of Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, from 1954. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that 9 miners in Pennsylvania were rescued from an underground mine collapse in 2002.

Darin Stroud, KS DYD (in 'Jesus is my homeboy' shirt), sporting a machete for yard work on a missions trip to Haiti

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday - Leaders Corner

1). Song of the Day: Rush of Fools - ♫ Your grace found me ♫

2). Blog Entry: Leaders Corner
- Last weekend I had the privilege of leading a group of PK's (pastor kids) on a retreat in Omaha. We stayed at a hotel in a nice part of the city. I was the only leader with a group of about 13 students. I split them up into rooms evenly, with my own room in the middle. I made sure we had each other's cell phones, and each night I asked them to stay in their rooms no matter what. They also knew my room number so they could contact me in a moment's notice. We felt entirely safe, but I took these steps just to be cautious with other people's children.
- I'm glad I did. The last night there, we had a late night group of party people move into a room next door to us, very loud and unruly. About the same time, a strange man started leaving suggestive notes outside the door of a girls room. And a student tried to get into my door while walking around in the hall, sleepwalking. All of these situations were handled with ease because of the precaution steps I had set up.
- It pays to plan ahead and be cautious. We must be responsible leaders when we are taking care of other people's children. Lead others the way you would want to be led yourself.

3). Ministry of the Day: The Lens Man - a website from the media director of the Ohio District, Josh Stephens

4). Link of the Day: Pony Pony Pony - one of Josh's videos, a promotion for their annual Pony Express relay at Ohio Youth Camps

5). Quote of the Day: 'Promise me you won't forget about me, ever. Not even when I am a hundred.' - Christopher Robin, Winnie the Pooh

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Walk on Stilts Day. It is also the birthday of Linda Parker (Teen Bible Quiz Director), a distinction she shares with Eddie McElhannon (senior pastor of McCook Assembly of God), Sarah Heider (new Children's Pastor with her husband at Grand Island Northridge), and Peggy Fleming, the famous American Ice Skater, from 1948. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that the Korean War Memorial was dedicated and opened to the public in Washington DC in 1995.

Church Devotion Groups at Youth Camp 1

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

1). Song of the Day: Needtobreathe - ♫ Drive all Night ♫

2). Blog Entry: Bible Trivia
- Congratulations to NAYR11 for being the only comment chosen as our winner from last week's trivia. He is now up to $5 in prize earnings - way to go!
- Here's the trivia for this week: How many of Jesus' 12 disciples were martyred for their faith? Remember, we will draw from all of the correct comments for the $5 winner, which can be used towards any NYM event or piece of merchandise.

3). Ministry of the Day: Omaha City Life - a sight to post testimonies and praise reports from great events happening in the Omaha area.

4). Link of the Day: Remind! - Don't miss any of your favorite TV shows

5). Quote of the Day: 'Every year on your birthday, you get to start new' - Sammy Hagar

6). Miscellaneous: Today is a reminder that July is National Ice Cream Month! It is the birthday of Bill Trumblee (NE Church Planter in Central City), a distinction he shares with Kevin Spacey, famous American actor, from 1959. Finally it is the anniversary of the day that French became the official language of Quebec in 1977.

Some girls from the PK retreat, trying on helmets

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday - Life Lessons

1). Song of the Day: Deluge - ♫ Open up the Sky ♫

2). Blog Entry: Life Lessons
- This past weekend I had the great privilege of leading our PK's (pastor kids) on a retreat to Omaha. It was a blast hanging out with them. We went to Westroads Mall, the Zoo, and a Storm Chasers baseball game. The weekend went great, seemingly without a hitch.
- The last night in town I had a strange incident. In the middle of the night, I heard someone trying to get into my room. They were using a card in my door and trying to open the door handle. I quickly looked through the peep hole and saw one of our students standing there.
- I opened the door and asked what he needed. He stepped back, visibly confused, and mumbling. He went to his door and began to try to get in. I asked what was up, and then realized that he was asleep. A hotel worker was going by at the same time and mentioned that she had seen him in the same strange state down at the front desk on the main floor just a few minutes ago.
- In all the years I had been a youth pastor and the several trips and retreats we took, I never had a sleepwalker until now. Thankfully, God protected us and had the student back in his room safe and sound. It's never too late to think through every precaution and be prepared for unexpected events.

3). Ministry of the Day: Young Adult Ministry - check out this blog about 5 questions YA's ask themselves, to help understand ministry to this important age group.

4). Link of the Day: - is your own ebook library in the cloud, accessible from anywhere and almost anything.

5). Quote of the Day: 'Many of the things that seem impossible today will become realities tomorrow.' -Walt Disney

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Merry Go Round Day. It is also the birthday of General Henry Knox from 1750. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement ending the 36 year war between them, in 1994.

PK Retreat at the Henry Doorly Zoo, July 2011

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday - Leader Profile

1). Song of the Day: Needtobreathe - ♫ Slumber ♫

2). Leader Profile: Brent Davidson
History: Studied at TwentyFourSeven Leadership Academy in Alabama
Position: Youth Pastor at Southridge Church with Troy Vandament in Omaha
Family: Grew up in Knoxville Tennessee
Hobbies: Frisbee Golf, Soccer

3). Ministry of the Day: DreamYear - Personal coaching limited to 12 people; Weekend retreats hosted in various cities; And a subscription program with on-line resources and lessons.

4). Link of the Day: Fanhatten - An app that shows some of the newest movies and television programs you can watch free online

5). Quote of the Day: 'You may not like yourself, but God loves you' - Mark Oberbeck

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Rat Catchers Day. It is also the birthday of Alex Trebek, famous host of the TV show Jeopardy. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that Wiley Post conducted the first solo flight around the world in 1933.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thursday - Testimonies

1). Song of the Day: Petra - ♫ We need Jesus ♫

2). Blog Entry: Testimonies
- Last week I had the chance to speak at the Ohio District's Junior High Camp. There was a room full of girls and every girl in the room was filled with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Another young student had a leg that was born crooked and he never walked straight but God healed him and he showed me with a straight walk around the sanctuary. During the altar time, a dorm of students came to me to testify that one of their friends had been sitting down during most of the services because of severe problems with his back. After praying for healing, God touched his back and he was able to participate in all of our activities without any pain whatsoever. A dorm leader was concerned about an autistic young lady in her room, feeling she wouldn't be able to stay focused in services. She was one of the first volunteers I pulled up for an activity on the first night, and the dorm leader testified that from that moment she paid full attention and was completely involved throughout the week.

3). Ministry of the Day: Ekidz Worship - check out a great sight for free songs for kids

4). Link of the Day: Togetherville - another wonderful social website that is safe for kids

5). Quote of the Day: 'Know what to eliminate, know what to retain, know what to wait on and evaluate, know what you want to add.' -George O. Wood

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Get to Know Your Customers Day. Today is the first day of our annual PK retreat for Nebraska students. It is also the birthday of Lance Loven (senior pastor of New Heights Church in York), a distinction he shares with Ernest Hemingway, famous American author from 1899. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that the first humans walked on the moon in 1969.

Spirit Life Church Devotional Group from Youth Camp 1

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday - Leaders Corner

1). Song of the Day: Remember - ♫ nothing is impossible with God ♫

2). Blog Entry: Leaders Corner - Your roots
- 1 Samuel 19:18 - 'When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel...'
David was going through a difficult time, and the first place he ran for help was Samuel. Samuel was the prophet that called David out of being a shepherd, and anointed him to be the next king of Israel. He was a spiritual father to David, and David remembered him in his time of need.
We all go through difficult times in our lives. Some are very trying and might last longer than others, but this is common to us all. It's important in those times to remember our spiritual parents and return to them for support, friendship, prayer, and help. Who are the people you can run to in a time of need - and do they know it? Who are the people that should run to you in a time of need - and do they know it?

3). Ministry of the Day: Victory Boxing Golf Tournament - a golf tournament in Omaha next month to help raise money for the powerful Victory Boxing Club's ministry in South O.

4). Link of the Day: Imbee - a safe social network for young kids, a possible alternative to facebook and other media sights.

5). Quote of the Day: 'There's a security in the encourager that allows his mentor to become his leader' - Terry Brown, NE Secretary/Treasurer

6). Miscellaneous: Today is National Lollipop Day. It is also the birthday of Chris Murdock (DYD of the West Texas District), a distinction he shares with Sir Edmund Hillary, famous New Zealander explorer from 1919. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that Hank Aaron hit his record 755th homerun, the final homerun on his career.

Jay Dunston, recent NCU graduate, worshipping at Youth Camp 1

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tuesday - Bible Trivia

1). Song of the Day: Another great song from ♫ Ohio Jr. High Camp ♫

2). Blog Entry: Bible Trivia
Once again, we will host our bible trivia challenge worth $5 to the winning comment. All correct comments are considered, and a random one is drawn for the prize. This happens every Tuesday, so stay tuned to the blog to see if you won
Here's the trivia for this week: In what year was the first version of the King James Bible printed?

3). Ministry of the Day: - a wonderful website full of 4 years worth of ministry materials for youth ministers in today's day and age. Perfect gift for a new youth pastor!

4). Link of the Day: Track 1 - A fairly inexpensive yet widely used background search to screen volunteers

5). Quote of the Day: 'It's hard to tell someone what to do if you haven't already done it before' -President George W. Bush

6). Miscellaneous: Today is one of the first days of National ZooKeeper Week. We have a Nebraska Camp De-Briefing Meeting today in Grand Island. It is also the birthday of Stuart Scott, famous ESPN sportscaster. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that the great fire of Rome began in the year 64.

Students praying for each other during pre-service prayer at Youth Camp 1

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday - Life Lessons

1). Song of the Day: My fav song from Ohio Jr. High Camp last week - ♫ God Be Praised ♫

2). Blog Entry: Life Lessons
- Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a Jr. High Camp in Ohio. It was a blast and I love ministering with Jr. Highers. They are so genuine and driven to have fun in everything they do.
When I speak, I involve plenty of different methods to help keep their attention for a long period of time, as well as hoping to give them information in a creative way which they will retain later on. Most students go nuts trying to volunteer to participate in a game, or catch some of the prizes I'm throwing out, or try to guess a trivia question from a previous message.
There was one student that caught me off-guard though. He was hanging around the stage most of the week so I figured that he wanted some of the free stuff I throw out. Instead, he approached me and asked if he could HELP ME throw them out. He didn't want the prize, he wanted the responsibility of throwing them at people. I believe it was a desire to serve (and possibly a desire to throw prizes at people as hard as you can as well). When was the last time you had people volunteering not to be the customer, but to serve them?

3). Ministry of the Day: Flatland Podcasts - Listen to recent messages from Bart Wilkins and Jeff Baker, pastors of a dynamic church in Omaha, NE.

4). Link of the Day: Wonders and Marvels - a scientific website that posts random entries about interesting and unusual phenomena

5). Quote of the Day: "Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." — Albert Einstein

6). Miscellaneous: Today is Global Hug Your Kid Day. It is also the birthday of Kent Anderson (Rural Compassion Missionary) a distinction he shares with Machine Gun Kelly, famous American gangster, from 1895. Finally, it is the anniversary of the day that Nadia Comaneci scored the first perfect '10' score in Olympic Gymnastics competition.

Random Worship Shot from Youth Camp 1

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 15.2

We made it to Kansas City! Now, to collect our bags and  catch a bus to Lincoln!

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 15.1

After a 3 hour delay in Dublin, we just landed in Chicago! Trying to make a tight connection to Kansas City. Please pray that all of our bags make the connection! [Edit: Flight delayed until 5:10pm..)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 14

Free Day! After attending church this morning, we had an amazing day touring the north coast! We leave here at 3:30am Ireland time (9:30pm Nebraska time) to begin our long journey home! Unless we encounter delays, my next update will likely be from Chicago, to let everyone know we're back in the USA!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 13

If I hadn't kind of blown off the blog update yesterday, I might have today! It's late, we only have one day left, and the next 48 hours are going to be a whirlwind!

Yesterday began with prayer and devotions, as always. Pastor Jake Evangelist, one of the California team leaders, shared from Colossians 4:14 and 1 Timothy 1:12. Afterwards, the playground construction team left to finish up their project while the rest of the team left to do some flyering in the city center and on street prayer locations.

Kids Week Day 3 went amazingly! We had about 100 less kids, but this weekend is considered a "bank holiday weekend", as next Tuesday, "The Twelfth", is a bank holiday, and families may take off Friday and Monday to extend their weekend. Overall, Kids Week was a huge success!

Last night, we met at the Verbal Arts Centre to hear Andi Oakes, a worship leader and recording artist from England, do some music and talk about depression. It was SO GOOD! Here are a few of his thoughts:
  • "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." 1 John 4:16
  • integrity is bridging the gap between the you that's on the inside with the you that's on the outside.
  • You can't get rid of a bad thought. Once it's in there, it's in there. BUT, you can replace it with a new one!
  • Imagine you're born in a boat. You go with the flow - where the current. Sin gives you oars/the thought that you're in control, and mainly you try to row backwards. "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10) means you give up your oars.
This morning, we had a bit of a slower start, praise the Lord! Pastor Brian Somerville, led devotions. He started with an illustration, which I wouldn't normally spell out, but is worth repeating here...

“I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, somewhat clownish. A tiny twig of the facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, had been severed. She will be this way from now on.

I had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; nevertheless, to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.

Her young husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed and together they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight, isolated from me, the moment is a private one.

Who are they, I ask myself? He and this wry mouth I have made, who gaze at each other so generously, so lovingly. The young woman speaks.

''Will my mouth always be like this?' she asks.

"Yes, I say, it will. It is because the nerve was cut." She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles.

“I like it,” he says, “It’s kind of cute.”

All at once I know who he is. I understand and I lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a God moment. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate to hers, to show her that their kiss still works.”

Here are a few of his thoughts:
  • Sometimes, we have to twist ourselves to kiss the world with the love of Jesus. We have to reshape our own thoughts, our own habits, our own ideas to share Christ's love with our community.
  • We used to follow an evangelism model of "Hell and Tell", but far more effective is the approach of "Kiss and Tell". Kiss them with the love of Christ, then tell the how they may be saved!
  • "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Jesus twisted and contorted his body, while we were still sinners, to kiss us and let us know that He loved us. His kiss still works today!
After devotions, we did a LARGE street program at the Guildhall Square and handed out 2000 hospitality bags, inviting people to church tomorrow!

This afternoon, the entire team went up to Rosemount Community Centre to the official opening of the playground one of our teams built this week! Deputy Mayor Kevin Campbell personally oversaw the ceremony, individually thanking each of the team members who worked on the project with a very nice certificate.

Tonight, we had a relaxed evening at a local Starbucks, with a local band.

Prayer Requests:
  • As we wind down this trip, some things we thought were funny in the beginning, really annoy us now. People begin to get on each others nerves and get a little testy! Pray that the final hours of our trip don't unravel what God has done in and through us on this amazing journey.
  • Pray that buses, flights, airport and customs navigation all goes smoothly! It's quite a task to move 50 people, synchronously through the travel process.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 12

All is well. No update tonight! The team has an opportunity to capitalize on some extra sleep time tonight and I'm going to cash in on it! A thorough update awaits tomorrow!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 11

We started the day with morning prayer and devotions, led by Remingon Cox, one of the leaders on the California team. The text used was Colossians 4:2-6. Interestingly enough, that's not the first time God has spoken that passage of scripture over us on this trip! One of our students also spoke from this passage during our pre-trip training!

After devotions, we did some I Heart Derry flyering in the city center. Afterwards, lunch and Kids Week Day 2! Like yesterday, about 300 kids were present today! Praise the Lord! Also, the playground construction project was all but completed today! A few finishing touches and it will be done early tomorrow!

Tonight, we had the amazing opportunity to host Moya Brennan (Irish folk singer and songwriter, previously with her family band named Clannad), in concert as a part of the I Heart Derry Festival we're helping Cornerstone City Church put on this week.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 10

Wow! Day 10! And to think, we really only have 3 full days of ministry left!

Not a lot new to report today. It rained last night and off and on all day today, which make working on the playground project quite a mess, but they got the equipment set today and will hopefully finish the landscaping around it tomorrow!

One of our teams went back to an area they did a street program at yesterday and were invited back to today. Over 100 kids were there today and invited to Kids Week!

Our first day of Kids Week programming and 300 kids showed up! Yesterday, one of our teams did a street program in an area where only 2 kids showed up. In fact, they followed the team from their home area to another neighborhood, then promised to attend Kids Week. It was great for our team to see them there today! When welcomed and thanked for coming, the little boy's response was, "Well, a promise is a promise!"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 9

This morning's devotions were brought by missionary Michael McNamee (CEO, Convoy of Hope Europe). Convoy of Hope is helping fund the playground restoration/building/construction project we're working on this week. Here are a few thoughts:
  • Psalm 2:8 "Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the ends of the earth as you possession." Do you really believe that you only have to ask?!
  • If we only live by what we see, nothing is ever going to happen!
  • What we are doing this week is not a game. The people of Derry need what we have: Jesus!
The rest of our day was spent flyering, doing street parties to promote Kids Week (starts tomorrow!), praying with people on the streets, and working on the playground project.

A couple of testimonies:
  • A lady who received one of our flyers called the church. She'd had a bad experience with church in the past and is dealing with some addictions. She set an appointment with the pastoral care team! Please pray for this lady!
  • One of our street programs occurred at a location that has been well known for its violence in the history of the Troubles. They happened upon a group of kids (20-30) doing a summer program and were invited back tomorrow, when they expect there to be 130-160!
We could have 500-600 kids at Kids Week tomorrow! Pray that it goes smoothly, and that the hearts of the kids, the future generations of Derry, will be turned to Jesus this week!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 8

We're getting to a point in there trip where our daily routine is pretty well set and doesn't change much from day to day.

We started the morning with devotions and prayer. Typically, we start that time with a little song called, "Alive, Awake, Alert, Enthusiastic". This morning, in honor of our Independence Day, we started with a little star jump competition. (For the song, or a star jump demonstration, ask one of our team members when we get back! There's also a pic above!) Pastor Brenton Fessler, one of the California team leaders, led morning devotions. Here are a few thoughts:
  • In Exodus 3:6, when God says, "I am the God of your ancestors - the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" it reveals His faithfulness.
  • If you read on in Exodus 3:7 we learn that Moses wasn't the only one to see the misery of God's people - God saw it too!
  • Often we take matters into our own hands instead of letting God handle it! (Exodus 2:11-12)
  • What do we need to trust God with that we left behind in America?
  • What do we need to trust God with that we're facing here, this week?
After morning devotions and prayer, our teams split up and did some flyering to promote Kids Week, some community service/clean-up, and continued with the playground construction/renovation project. We had lunch on site, consisting mostly of various forms of chicken salad sandwiches, a bag of crisps (i.e. potato chips), a chocolate bar, a piece of fruit and a bottle of water. After lunch, teams continued with their various projects before having supper at the food court in the mall. After supper, we did some additional flyering and neighborhood street programs before returning to the dorms tonight.

For those who prayed for healing for our ill team members yesterday, they seem to be doing much better today! Thank you for your continued prayers!

In one week, we'll be home! This is the part of the trip were we can look back on how well the trip started and really prepare for how it will end. No one will remember how it started. Everyone will remember how it ended! We must finish well! We must buckle down, dig deep, tighten up, give it all we got and leave it all on the field as we close out the week. Please pray for our continued strength and endurance as we set out to finish strong the race set before us!

PS - I finally got some more pictures uploaded! Day 4 pictures can be found HERE! Day 5 pictures can be found HERE!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 7

Sunday! We started the day with a great morning worship service at Cornerstone City Church with Brian Houston, of Belfast. Also, Pastor Bruce brought an amazing message on one of the I AMs of Christ in John 14:6. Jesus was responding to the question, "How can we know the way?" Here are a couple of thoughts from the message:
  • Unless you walk in the way, you cannot understand the truth or have life!
  • People may not hear the truth from us unless they see the truth in us. Truth is not fully taught until it's fully lived.
  • You might think your city is too dry for Christ to do something in it. Dry is good for a fire!
  • God wants to bring you into a season of grace to do what you thought was impossible.
  • Jesus is the ultimate peace bridge!
After the service, we got to hang out with other church members, having tea and coffee in the atrium. We then had lunch and split into teams for our afternoon ministry events. First, we held a couple of street parties, doing dances, painting faces, clowning around, painting fingernails, and handing out balloon animals and flyers to promote Kids Week next week. Afterwards, we went flyering before our evening service.

Tonight, we heard from Pastor Gary Garcia, one of the California team leaders, who has been here several times, including the very first Kids Week 11 years ago! Here are a couple of thoughts from the message:
  • Our lives are full of God moments - moments where we say, "that could only be God."
  • Four things that can cause us to miss God moments: 1. Fear. 2. Listening to the wrong people. 3. Lack of grace. It's amazing what God can do when we forgive someone! 4. Our own junk that gets in the way.
After our evening service, we had pizza back at the dorms and did another street party in a local neighborhood!

A couple of prayer requests:
  • Nothing too serious, but a couple of our kids need healing.
  • It may sound silly, but there are a couple of kids on our team, and from the local team of volunteers, that are having bad dreams at night, which is preventing them from getting the sleep and rest they really need. Pray that they can "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 6

After a VERY short night, Day 6! We started with prayer and morning devotions, as always. Paddy De Lasa, assistant pastor at Cornerstone City Church lead our devotion time. He spoke from Mark 10 about the rich young ruler, challenging us to assess what has become the number one thing in our life. We must understand that Jesus wants to be our number one!

After devotions, our local training and orientation session began. We were given an overview or what all is to happen this week. We were introduced to the local leadership team, as well as the leaders that brought kids from America. (There are teams from California and Nebraska!) We learned a few Kids Week songs, with actions! We were briefed on some of the city's history, as well as general words and phrases that are different here than in America:
  • Sidewalk = Footpath
  • Parking Lot = Car Park
  • Soccer = Football
  • Vacation = Holiday
  • French Fries = Chips
  • Potato Chips = Crisps
  • Elevator = Lift
  • Teasing/Joking/Kidding = Slagging
  • Tired = Knackered/Wrecked/Shattered
  • Dirty = Minging/Bogging
We also learned to appreciate our, albeit rising, gas prices in America! Gas here is about $8.48 per gallon!

After talking a little more about Kids Week, we briefly discussed child protection policies before being given a final list of "DOs" and "DON'Ts" for the week.

After training, we all came back to the dorms to practice our dance routines and to get a little rest before the evening activities. We had dinner at the Food Court and then left for an evening of British orienteering - a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both the mind and the body. The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a unique orienteering map and decide the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. Out of about 15 small groups, one of our Nebraska teams brought home the gold!

Tomorrow (Sunday), we have church in the morning, with Brian Houston leading worship and Pastor Bruce Riddle preaching. After church, we'll do some flyering and street parties before church tomorrow evening. After the evening service, a portion of our team will go mobile with the "Gig Rig" for some on street programming!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ireland2011 AIM Update: Day 5

A brief update tonight to let you know how our day has gone. It's presently 4am and we'll be back at it in less than 5 hours, so...

We started the morning with group devotions and prayer in a meeting room near our dorms. We had a great time of worship and were challenged in our devotion time by Pastor Brian Somerville, Lead Pastor for Cornerstone City Church. He challenged us with two thoughts this morning.
  1. Jesus brought us here. We must understand that. We did not happen here by accident. If we understand that truth, it leads to a question of why? Why us? Why here? The answer lies in what we're doing. Jesus wants us to be a part of what He's doing here in Derry.
  2. The Lord has helped us get this far in our journey and he will help bring us the rest of the way. (1 Samuel 7:12)
After morning devotions, we broke into teams and went our different directions. About 40 of us went out and did some "flyering" - passing out fliers door-to-door to invite kids to come to Kids Week next week. Kids Week is an annual event the church does as an outreach to children in the community, similar to Vacation Bible School. It will be held in the town hall next week and we're expecting 500-600 kids to attend! We'll be flyering for several days as we have about 35,000 fliers to distribute!

About 10 of us went to a community center we did a lot of work at last year to begin a project of building a playground there. They did amazing! By noon, that team did what their local leader thought he was going to have to come back tonight and finish!

Tonight, we had dinner at the Food Court in the mall. It seems that's where we'll be eating dinner each night. Following dinner, we met up with a team from California and did a walking tour of the walls around the city and a riddle scavenger hunt/team-building exercise.

We returned to our dorms for a couple of hours before being picked up and taken to the streets of Derry to participate in a "Street Pastors" outreach where we reached out to the bar crowd until about 2:45am. There were hundreds of people we were able to offer a cup of coffee or tea and a cup of soup, share Jesus with and pray for as they came and went from the local bars in Derry. This really stretched many of our students, but also became a highlight of our trip.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is a training day.

Prayer needs:
  • Rest. Pray that as our time for rest is cut short by our schedule, that God will supernaturally and exponentially provide the rest we need to continue effectively ministering to the people of Derry.
  • Health. There have been a couple of our team members that have had a bit of an upset stomach, and a bit homesickness...maybe the two are related! Pray for divine healing of our physical bodies as well as our peace of mind.
  • Unity. Tomorrow, as we begin to interact more and more with the California team, pray for unity. Pray that we don't see things as us vs. them, but instead, as us - one team, one focus: to share the message of faith, hope and love with the people of Derry.