Blog posts from Calvary Burlington
I want to be candid with all of you and say this: I love our Junior Highs. We just got back from an awesome weekend with our Juniors up at Bedlam, and I want to let you know that your prayers were certainly felt. I got to witness the fruits of your faithfulness to pray. Our trips to and from Muskoka Woods were safe and fun, nobody got sick, and everyone survived. Plus, I got to see our Juniors serve each other, make connections with other kids in similar ministries, and truly consider what it means to follow Jesus. I even witnessed one of our students going out of their way to help another student feel wanted and involved. It was amazing. I was encouraged seeing these same things from all the other kids up there; hearts seeking truth, with a willingness to learn and serve together.
The focus on the weekend was On The Move. Which, if you've ever seen a Junior High, you know that describes them perfectly. We were asked to move toward Jesus with actions. To lean in, to stand up in community, to move towards transformation, and to make the jump. We looked at the life of Paul when he was encountered by Jesus on the road to Damascus, and talked about how the circumstances with which Paul was transformed may be miraculous, but the transformation in his heart is the same for us as it was for him. We were invited to leave our 'garbage' at the foot of the cross as an act of our willingness to be transformed by Christ. But we were also open to not leave it at the cross, and encouraged to discuss that with someone we trusted. If you get a chance, ask our Junior Highs about the garbage they were invited to leave at the cross, and encourage them in their pursuit of God's mercy.
It is my hope and prayer that this message got through to our kids, and I would ask that you continue to pray for our Junior Highs as they continue their journey towards the truth of Christ.
In Student Ministries, we endeavour to change the lives of the students in our program. When I was a youth, and even a young adult, I often found that my best learning came from either hands-on experience, or from object lessons. There's something to be said about having something tangible that you interact with to help you recall information later in life.
I think of the experiment with beaker of water, a Jesus beaker (water mixed with bleach or ascorbic acid), and a sin beaker (filled with iodine). The demonstration is that you pour the sin beaker into the beaker of water, and it makes it all dark and cloudy. But you pour in the Jesus beaker and it gets clear. But then, to demonstrate the cleansing power of Jesus they pour the more of the sin beaker into the Jesus beaker, and it just stays clear. It's a demonstration of the saving power of Christ and His ability to cleanse beyond what we think is possible (click here for a video).
I like to use object lessons in my teaching, because of their lasting power. With our big fall kick-off, we got one of our youth to stand in the middle of a circle blindfolded, and then had the students, one at a time, clap their hands quietly around them. The person with the blindfold had to point to where the clap came from. Simple enough, until we packed the pinna of their ears with play-doh. And that caused the blindfolded person to point forwards, when the clap came between their legs, they had lost their ability to discern the vertical direction of the clapping. We then related that back to our ability to hear God's call, or to understand his will. When we are in tune with God, and using our ears as intended, we can see where he's calling us, we can hear his voice better. But when we pack our ears with things of this world, we lose our ability to discern the direction of his voice, and his will. How do we do that? We started with a focus on our love for God. To love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and with all our strength. If you can get your love of God in tune, it will be easier to hear his call.
Mike Sanders, Youth Ministries
In my experience I've found that you don't always get to see the things the people do for others. Whether it's something large, or something small, you know it's happening, but you don't always know the who or how. Well, last week I got to witness, first hand, that kind of background service. I had the privilege of assisting our youth with their roles in Forest Cliff Camp.
I watched our "Actors" set up the various activities each morning; they got covered in colourful dyes when they ran tie-dye and they got wet on the water days; they put elbow and knee pads on the campers for skateboarding and they reloaded Nerf guns relentlessly; they helped out campers who were struggling with laser tag and they climbed Spider Mountain to encourage the kids to get to the top; they stood guard on Gearbox to make sure everyone was safe, and after all of that, I saw them tear down each activity at the end of the long, hot, days.
I saw them cheer and clap the kids into camp every day. I saw them stand out in the heat of the sun to make sure everyone was having a good and safe time. I saw them having fun with the campers whenever they got the chance. And I saw them dancing along to the songs in the morning session.
I saw service
The kind of service that Christ has called us all to: without grumbling, without petition, without a selfish thought, they served. They served the campers, they served the counselors, and they served Jesus.
Watching the students' willingness to work warmed my heart, and encouraged me to continue to serve them. If you see one of our actors, make sure to thank them for their willingness to serve the Lord at Forest Cliff Camp, and encourage them to continue the good work they are doing.
Mike Sanders, Director of Youth