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Teen Scavenger Hunt Finds Kindness Goes a Long Ways

This past weekend, I planned a scavenger hunt for the youth group. The teens had a lot of fun and worked great with their teammates. We had four groups of teams and I had four sections of points for the scavenger list. The first set were pretty simple stunts for five points like running a lap on a track, put away a stray shopping cart, or writing their names on a busy sidewalk. The second set was group photo pictures in various places for ten points each. The third section were riddles to locate different places in town and the surrounding areas, they were fifteen points each. Then lastly was the 20 point stunts, these were the stunts that were intended to get the teens out of their comfort zones. These stunts included things like folding clothes for a stranger at a laundry mat, giving a bouquet of flowers to someone and telling them Jesus loves them, pumping gas for a stranger at a gas station, or visiting someone in a nursing home or hospital.

Each team had a driver who would take them wherever they requested to find their clue, get supplies, or do their stunts. The driver couldn’t suggest anything or give answers to the riddles. The driver was only allowed to drive the team, take pictures of the team for group photos, and make sure they did whatever they checked off their list. I was one of the drivers. My team consisted of two girls and two boys. They did great in planning where to go first, what to do, and what all they needed along the way. One girl automatically took the role of the leader and asked the other teammates if her suggestions were ok with them. They agreed and threw in input whenever they thought of something themselves. The first place the group went was a park, there they did several of the group photos and then they decided to go to Walmart to get supplies for their tasks. I took them to Walmart, when we got there they started putting away stray carts. They put away a ton of them, one of the teens gathered so much; he looked like an employee without the electronic push/pull cart. After that they went inside and got a box of peeps for a group photo, a chocolate bunny to give to someone, and a notepad to write notes of encouragement to stick on a bathroom door stall. After they paid, they wrote their notes and placed them where the list said to. They did several different group photos afterwards and then decided to head to the nursing home. They planned to give the chocolate bunny to an elderly person there. Once we got there, the leader of the group went to a nurse that was standing in the foyer to let her know what we were doing. The nurse asked if we just wanted any random person. The group told her yes. When we came in, I noticed an elderly lady sitting in a chair near the entrance. The nurse pointed at her and said, “She’s a retired school teacher. I’m sure she’d like the gift.” The leader of the group went to the lady and introduced herself. The lady was hard of hearing, she asked what. After the teen tried several times to say what she was wanting to, the lady still couldn’t hear, so I spoke to her loudly. It was kind of funny, since I’m hard of hearing too; we were both speaking loud enough for the whole wing to hear us. Anyway once she understood who we were and what we were doing, she was delighted. The team gave her the chocolate bunny and said they wanted to bless her with an Easter gift. The lady smiled and said, “That is so sweet!” She then told about herself being a schoolteacher and how nice it was to have them bring that to her. She stood up and gave them each a hug and a kiss. They were all smiling as she told them each some little advice and thanked them once again. We said our goodbyes and headed out the door back to the car. All the teens were very moved by that little nice gesture, I was as well. They continued afterwards doing other nice little things, having fun, and working together as a team. I know that the other teams have their own stories to tell as well.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if more of us intentionally did something out of the ordinary to make someone’s day a little brighter? A little act of kindness goes a long way. It’s those moments of giving and sharing that help shine Jesus’ light to others. Wouldn’t it be great if we stopped preaching so much to people and started loving them? I think that’s the best door to open for others to hear you. I know that if I walk into an area where people are ranting, I find an alternative route. Instead, let’s just smile at the people we pass, let’s listen to what they have to say, and let’s humble ourselves and do little acts of kindness to show people they are important. Let’s be like Christ!

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Posted by on March 31, 2014 in Spiritual Reflections, Youth

 

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Decorated But Empty

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Through Christ we have a relationship with God.  At one time in my life I had a religion with God, it’s not the same.  You feel empty, you feel like you are never going to do enough or gain enough favor from him.  You mess up and you pray for forgiveness. You are afraid others will call you out on your sin and then hide it even more.  Then you slip and think if I do this or that, I’ll make my way into His Kingdom.  It’s tiring and unproductive.  Religion is cold, lonely and dark.

Christ’s love releases you from that worn out path of religion.  He knows you messed up, will mess up, and he doesn’t shame you in it, but instead he forgives you, constantly.  His love and forgiveness is never ending.   All you do is ask Him for it and it’s done.  With this type of forgiveness, you become victorious over anything that you need to overcome.  Because when you have a relationship with Christ, you come to Him raw.  You bear your heart to Him, because you trust Him.  You understand and somewhat grasp what all He has done for you.  Although, His love is unfathomable, you know deep down that it’s real and it’s there inside you.  He knows you better than you know yourself.    His love becomes greater than any sin that had power over you before.  He knows if you are having a bad day, if you feel awful, and yet He doesn’t close the door on you.  He’s there to listen, comfort you, and reassure you that He’s beside you.  A relationship is warm, comfortable, and light.

Anytime you have a close relationship with someone, you start to show little bits of their personality in your own.  I think it happens that way because you spend so much time with that person that they really do rub off on you.  That’s how it’s supposed to be with Christians, we should have such an awesome relationship with Him that we begin to show bits of who He is.  His light is in us and we should be shining it out of us.  His light is love.  He doesn’t love the world; He loves those who reside in the world.  He loves people, he doesn’t discriminate, he doesn’t choose particular types of people, instead He loves all people.   Christianity is made into something harder than it actually is.  Religion puts Christianity in a big pretty box, wraps it with expensive paper, puts a huge felt bow on it and tags it with, “Don’t touch unless approved by the Almighty.” 

Christ came and blended in with people that the religious folks didn’t expect him to be around.  This gift of Christ didn’t come wrapped in ribbons lying in a plush cradle.  This gift of Christ came swaddled in cloth lying in a manger.  This gift of Christ on this day whispered, “I love you and I’m here.” 

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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100% Love

imagesCANR42GWThis week I read about a pastor who wrote something rather rude on a receipt to her waitress. She said that she only gives God 10% so why do you deserve 18%? The waitress shared her experience on a social network site which in turn went viral. The pastor called the restaurant and complained, which in turn caused the waitress to loose her job. There are so many things wrong in this picture. First, shouldn’t a representative of God display love and respect toward her server? Second, how many of us only give God a small portion of ourselves. I know the Pastor was speaking in terms of money to the church, but I begun thinking how much actually is 10%. It’s really only a small portion. How much percent of our income do we spend on entertainment? Is it only 10%? In terms of time, how much time do we give God? Do we allot Him 10% of our time? What is required? How much time do we use to serve others? Shouldn’t we give most of ourselves if not all of ourselves to God and others? How do you represent Christ to those who are outsiders? The third thing that upsets me with this situation is the waitress lost her job. How much more is she going to resent Christians because of the incident that happened to her? If you are a christian you are supposed to be a light. Please think about this when you are out in public and in your private life. I love the song “People of God,” by Gungor. Read the lyrics below and think about shining love of Jesus on others.

We could have tongues of angels
We could move mountains with our faith
We could give everything away
But if we don’t have love
We’re left with nothing
We could see blind eyes opened
Know all the mysteries of our faith
We could sing all the highest praise
But if we don’t have love
We’re left with nothing
People of God rise up
Rise up and shine God’s love
We are the light of the world
Of the world oh
We are the light of the world
Of the world oh
Love is what holds it all together
Love never fails, it never dies
There is no deeper truth
We know God is love, our God is love
Tear down the walls that divide us
Let love rebuild and unite us
All we need is

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34 (NLT)
All we need is love

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2013 in Spiritual Reflections

 

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