Saturday, October 10, 2009

Facing the Truth

A father passing by his son's bedroom was astonished to see that his bed was nicely made and everything was picked up. Then he saw an envelope, propped up prominently on the pillow that was addressed to 'Dad.'

With the worst premonition he opened the envelope with trembling hands and read the letter.

Dear Dad:

It is with great regret and sorrow that I'm writing you. I had to elope with my new girlfriend because I wanted to avoid a scene with Mom and you. I have been finding real passion with Stacy and she is so nice. But I knew you would not approve of her because of all her piercing, tattoos, tight motorcycle clothes and the fact that she is much older than I am. But it's not only the passion...Dad she's pregnant. Stacy said that we will be very happy. She owns a trailer in the woods and has a stack of firewood for the whole winter. We share a dream of having many more children.  Stacy has opened my eyes to the fact that marijuana doesn't really hurt anyone.  We'll be growing it for ourselves and trading it with the other people that live nearby for cocaine and ecstasy.  In the meantime we will pray that science will find a cure for AIDS so
Stacy can get better. She deserves it. Don't worry Dad. I'm 15 and I know how to take care of myself.  Someday I'm sure that we will be back to visit so that you can get to know your grandchildren.


Your Son John

P.S. Dad, none of the above is true. I'm over at Tommy's house.  I Just wanted to remind you that there are worse things in life than a Report card that's in my center desk drawer. I love you. Call me when it's safe to come home.

Received by e-mail.  Original source unknown.

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How About A Cup Of Coffee

As I tried to catch a few more minutes of sleep, my husband leaned over and whispered that he was going to the pool. We were on a Florida vacation so going to the pool would be a normal activity for many people, just not my husband. He is not someone who "goes to the pool." Ever. The beach, maybe, but usually only when I go with him for a walk. 

So, when he kissed me and headed out the hotel door alone I was curious, although not curious enough to miss a little more shut eye! As I rolled over thirty minutes later, I realized he hadn't come back yet, so I did a little snooping.

I went onto our balcony to see if I could get a glimpse of him, wondering what he might be doing. As I scanned the pool area, I caught sight of a homeless man sitting on the side of the road leading to the public beach entrance. I remembered passing him the day before as he was sleeping in the grass. Today, however, he was sitting with his legs crossed, coffee in hand, talking to someone. I leaned a little further over the edge of the balcony and my heart skipped as I realized it was my husband. The two of them were sitting on rocks, drinking cups of coffee, engaged in conversation.

I watched them from a distance for about twenty minutes until they parted ways.  My husband looked so comfortable talking to this man. They were laughing, smiling and having a nice time. I learned he offered to do the guy's laundry, and then sent him on his way with a little cash. 

I had to pause a moment and ask myself if I would have been gutsy enough to do the same.  Would I approach a complete stranger just to sit and talk? Would I offer someone hungry a coffee and a breakfast bar as my husband did? 

As I pondered their encounter I thought about the kind of man my husband is. You see, he's not the type to get up early and read his Bible every single day, and he's not on any committees at church. What you will see him do though, is talk to homeless men, give money to needy strangers, and be kind to people. You know, "be Jesus" to others.

I believe God asks each one of us to step out and "be Jesus." Sometimes, though, we get so consumed with everyday life we just don't do it, or we say we'll do it later because we don't have time now. 

I also believe that God doesn't ask us to do anything that He hasn't already prepared us for. You see, my husband was homeless as a teenager. He was forced to live on his own from the time he was 15 years old. He learned to find shelter in snowdrifts, basements, and abandoned cars.  He has a heart for the unlovely, the runaways, and those whose clothes aren't so clean.  

We each have gifts, talents and past experiences that allow us to reach out and touch others in ways that will be meaningful to them. It often doesn't cost us more than a cup of coffee to do so. What experiences or passions do you have that would make you a perfect candidate to reach out to someone today?


Received by e-mail.  Original source unknown.

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Monday, October 5, 2009

3D Wall Art

ladder sidewalk art1

clock sidewalk art

butterfly sidewalk art

ladder sidewalk art2

pepper sidewalk art

These are just really cool images.  They could be used to demonstrate how someone could give expression to their gifts.

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3D Sidewalk Art


Art is by Julian Beever.

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Brown Bears


Can biscuits

Cinnamon sugar


Long stick to hold over the fire



  • Take 1 biscuit and wrap around fire stick.
  • Cook in fire until biscuit is done. Rotate so not to burn.
  • Once done. Remove from stick and roll in melted butter then in cinnamon sugar mixture.
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Ants On A Log



Peanut butter




  • Clean and cut celery to desired size.
  • Fill with peanut butter, then put raisins across top.


Looks like ants on a log.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Apple Butter

Here is a simple recipe for Apple Butter


7 c. of applesauce

3 c. of white sugar

1 tsp. of cloves

2 tbsp. of cinnamon

2 tbsp. of vinegar

Put in crock pot and mix together. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Stir occasionally.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

5 Ideas To Help You Grow Your Leadership Skills

1)  Read Books- This is one of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to increase you knowledge of any subject.

2)  Go to conferences and training seminars- be careful in your selection process.  Also, think about going with others.  It can be very beneficial to talk through discussion points with others while things are still fresh in your mind.

3)  Seek out a coach or mentor in your area of expertise

4)  Take leaders to lunch- find people that are successful and ask them if you can have an hour of their time over lunch.  Remember that you are paying for lunch.  Also remember that good leaders do not like to have their time wasted.  Have several questions prepared before hand for them to answer.

5)  Pray for your leaders and look for ways to bless them.  This is something that I think many of us often overlook.  We value what our leaders can give us so we are always looking to get something from them.  An appreciated and respected leader will be more willing to give more back.


These were some ideas that I wrote down from a conference I was recently a part of.  The speakers name was Bill. Sorry that’s all I had in my notes.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Job Hunting

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Applebee’s Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser

Here is a link for information on how  your local Applebee’s wants to get involved in helping you in your youth ministry or other non-profit event.  I have been told by some that have done the pancake breakfast that there is usually a waiting list but it is well worth it.  The local Applebee’s here donated everything and all the workers had to do was show up and serve.

Applebee’s Fundraiser

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Poinsettia & White Lily Fundraisers

Many churches still decorate their sanctuary for Christmas and Easter with decorative flowers.  In particularly Poinsettias and White Lilies.  Also, many people decorate their homes with these same plants.


1)  Contact a local greenhouse about six months before each of these holidays and ask them if they sponsor non-profit fundraisers for these holidays.  (There are a couple in my area that do- although it requires a minimum order of 100- if you are a small church and this seems too much, try partnering with another church)

2)  If the company does not, ask them if they would consider it and talk through the options. (at the time of this post we purchase ours for $6.50 and sell for $10)

3)  If the terms are agreeable to you then you need to begin taking orders and have them returned by the deadline.  (ours must be in by the first of November)

  1. If you have some folks in your congregation that are retired that could go around to local business and take orders and then deliver them that would greatly increase your sales.

4)  Be sure to have a separate order sheet made up for people to take to work, give to family members, etc…

5)  Never be the one responsible for delivering the Poinsettias.  Always have those persons that take the orders to deliver them.  This will save you your sanity.

6) Some companies will have different size flowers to sell.  We only do one size for simplicity.  You will need to make that call on your own.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Common Sense Goes A Long Way

A picture named heh.jpg

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Man In The Arena

Quote by Teddy Roosevelt

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never known neither victory nor defeat.

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Kiddo Days

Abigail and her Daddy had been in the habit of spending some Fridays together. Friday was her Father’s day off so he kept her out of preschool and they would spend the whole day together. Abigail began to call these days “Kiddo Days.” Her Dad would often say to her, “It’s just you and me Kiddo,” as they would begin each of these adventurous days. Over time “Kiddo Days” became a natural way for her to express her anticipation for these times together.

Lunch was always on the menu for Kiddo Days, and on this particular day, Abigail expressed her desire to eat at a certain restaurant. Her Dad wasn’t real crazy about going to eat there so he tried to give her a few other options to choose from with no success. It seemed that little Abigail was insistent upon eating at this particular restaurant and it didn’t take long for her to become exasperated with the conversation.

She finally stopped and said, “Daddy, if you want Kiddo Days to be any fun I have to have some input too.”

That story always hits me like a ton of bricks. It seems very easy for me to interactive with the world around me and expect everything and everyone to be on my schedule and in agreement with my preferences. Well as easy as it is for me to begin a day with those expectations, it is equally as foolish. Especially if I want others to enjoy spending time with me.

Where can you make concessions today and allow others to have some input into the time you are spending with them?

Allowing them to have an equal say will increase the chance of a good experience for everyone.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009


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Quotes For Moving Us Into Action

I find the great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving: To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

Indecision is often worse than the wrong action. —William Danforth


I know that the seeds I sow I will harvest, because every action, good or bad, is always followed by an equal reaction. I will plant only good seeds this day. —Og Mandino


The vitality of thought is in adventure. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them. —Alfred North Whitehead


No one will improve your lot if you yourself do not. —Marcus Aurelius


Some people succeed because they are destined to, but most people succeed because they are determined to. —Henry Ford

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Dave Ramsey On Team Building

Dave teaches that people are motivated by, starved for and long for:

  • Acceptance
  • Approval
  • Appreciation
  • Attention
  • Affection

This week, make it your goal to go out of your way to affirm your team members or co-workers with a positive message. Send a thank-you note, give someone a handshake or a pat on the back, and be quick to praise a job well done!

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Suicide and College Students

More than half of undergraduate college students—55%—say they've had suicidal thoughts at some point, with 18% having seriously considered suicide and 8% actually having attempted it. [, 8/18/08 stats]

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Christmas Angels


In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket.
Their father was gone.

The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two.

Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared.
Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway they
would scramble to hide under their beds.

He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.

Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings,
but no food either.

If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.
The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town.

No luck.
The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince who ever would listen that I was willing to learn or
do anything. I had to have a job.

Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in t hat had been converted to a truck stop.

It was called the Big Wheel.
An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of
the window from time to time at all those kids.

She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning.

She paid 65 cents an hour, and I could start that night.

I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people.

I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night.

She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep

This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.
That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel.
When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent
her home with one dollar of my tip money-- fully half of what I averaged every night.

As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to my meager wage.
The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home.

One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and
found four tires in the back seat. New tires!

There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires.

Had angels taken up residence in Indiana ? I wondered.
I made a deal with the local service station.

In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office.

I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for
him to do the tires.
I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough.

Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids.

I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some
old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning.

Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would be too far gone to repair.
On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe.

A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion and
were dropping nickels in the pinball machine.

The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours
of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.
When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes.

I quickly opened the driver's side door, crawled inside and kneeled in the front facing the back seat.
Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box.

Inside was whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10!

I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans.

Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.

There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items.

And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll.
As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on the most amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude.

And I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning.
Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop....

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The following is an excerpt from a Dear Abby column I stumbled upon a few years ago.  It is a great discussion starter.

By Abigail Van Buren | Dec 21, 2002 | 734 words

DEAR ABBY: I am a Hindu woman living in the Bible Belt. Many of my friends and acquaintances are Christian, and they are all wonderful – except for one thing. Some try in small, subtle ways to convert me to their faith. With Christmas approaching, I know what's coming -- boxes of baked goodies with little brochures and pamphlets tucked inside all about Jesus and the Christian faith. I wish you would remind people that all of us in this diverse nation should respect the faiths of others. To try to convert someone to your faith implies that you consider your religious beliefs superior, and that is just plain wrong. I know these gestures are well meant, but I wouldn't dream of sending Hindu brochures with my holiday goodies. Abby, what is a tactful, but firm, way of dealing with this? -- HAPPY HINDU IN THE BIBLE BELT

DEAR HAPPY HINDU: Much as you would like, you are not going to change people who feel it is part of their religious commitment to "save" you. Ignore the brochures and enjoy the goodies -- unless you have lost your appetite. If that's the case, donate the treats to a homeless shelter or take them to the office.


DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Happy Hindu in the Bible Belt," whose Christian friends tuck religious pamphlets into holiday boxes of baked goodies in an effort to convert her, was off base. You advised her to ignore the brochures and enjoy the goodies -- unless she had lost her appetite -- in which case she should donate the treats to a shelter or take them to the office.

I disagree. That lovely lady should politely tell her friends that she likes her own religion and ask them to please stop with the religious literature. If they continue, she should end the friendship. If converting her is more important than her friendship, there IS no friendship. -- BEEN THERE, TOO, IN BEND, ORE.

DEAR B.T.T.: Your answer is better than mine. Interestingly, "Happy Hindu's" problem appears to be widespread. That letter brought in a bushel of mail. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I am Jewish. A friend from college kept sending me "Jesus Loves You" Christmas cards. I told her it hurt my feelings that she didn't respect my beliefs. I made it clear that I am Jewish and will always remain Jewish, as it is my religious and cultural background.

Like "Hindu," I know that some of these gestures are well-intentioned, but I would never dream of sending my friend Hanukkah cards. I send cards that say "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays." It's good to learn about other people's beliefs and be open to them -- but not when they're forced on you. -- JILL IN SACRAMENTO

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Thanksgiving Poem

May your stuffing be tasty

May your turkey plump,

May your potatoes and gravy

Have never a lump.

May your yams be delicious

And your pies take the prize,

And may your Thanksgiving dinner

Stay off your thighs!

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His Name Is Bill

His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He is brilliant. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed, very conservative church. They want to develop a ministry to the students, but are not sure how to go about it. One day Bill decides to go there.

He walks in with no shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle looking for a seat. The church is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now people are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit and, when he realizes there are no seats, he just squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened before in this church).

By now the people are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the minister realizes that from way at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making his way toward Bill. Now the deacon is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A godly man, very elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves, “You can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid on the floor?” It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The church is utterly silent except for the clicking of the old man's cane. All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing.

The minister can't even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he has to do. And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the floor. With great difficulty he lowers himself and sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he won't be alone.

Everyone chokes up with emotion. When the minister gains control, he says, "What I'm about to preach, you will never remember. What you have just seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some people will ever read."

How true it is! All of us need to stop and ask ourselves "What kind of testimony do I give through my actions?"

I think it was Saint Francis of Assisi who said, “Preach the gospel at all time, if necessary, use words!”

May our actions this day be the manifestation of Jesus Christ in our world!

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Monday, September 7, 2009

Grape Salad

4 lbs of mixed grapes (red and green seedless)

2 cups lite sour crème (16 oz container)

1 8 oz container lite or fat free crème cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup sugar (I used splenda)



1 Cup Brown Sugar (I used Brown sugar splenda)

1 ½ cups walnuts

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This is a great recipe for the Christmas season. 

8 pints apple cider

· 2 pints orange juice (no pulp)

· 1 cup lemon juice

· 1 can (46 oz.) Dole pineapple juice

· 48 whole cloves

· 12 Splenda or Sweet & Low packets

· 10 cinnamon sticks


Combine all ingredients and simmer on stove top for 10 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe portions may be cut in half for smaller groups.

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Omelet In A Bag

Ingredients Needed

1) Ziploc quart size freezer bags (one for each person)

2) Sharpie Marker

3) Large pot (for boiling water)

4) Tongs

5) Wooden Spoon

6) Grade-A large eggs or bigger (two for each person)

7) Variety of ingredients: 

Onions, Peppers, Ham, Bacon, Cheeses, tomatoes,turkey, anything else you can think of

8) Toppings

Hot sauce, Ketchup, Anything else you can think of


1) Fill your large pot about ¾ full with water

2) Bring the water to a rolling boil

While water is coming to a boil- do the following

3) Have each person write their name on one Ziploc freezer bag

4) Crack two eggs into each freezer bag (no more than two)

5) Select a variety of ingredients and add them to the freezer bag

6) Shake bag well (be sure ingredients are mixed well in the bag)

7) Carefully squeeze the air from the bag and zip the seal

8) Add bags to pot of rolling, boiling water

¤ you can usually get 6 – 8 omelets in a large pot…use another pot for more

9) Boil each bag for 13 minutes (longer if necessary)

¤ In some cases it may be necessary to hold bag under water with a wooden spoon for the top to completely cook

10) Open freezer bags and the omelet will easily roll out onto your plate

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Supplies Needed

1)  Enough clear plastic cups for the entire group

2)  Enough instant chocolate pudding to fill the plastic cups 1/2 full

3)  Enough Oreo Cookies to crumble on top of each pudding cup to resemble dirt

4)  Enough Gummi Worms to place two in each cup

5)  One plastic spoon for each cup

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Sunday Morning Worship And Potluck Dinners

submitted by LARRY WESTFALL


This is the first message in a series of three titled

Counting the Cost (part 1): Sunday Morning Worship and Potluck Dinners



1)  If you are not a Christian I want to help you give careful consideration to what it means to follow Christ.

2)  If you are a professing Christian, I want to disturb you or provoke you in such a way that you will ask the question, “Am I following Christ or just showing up for church?”


Scripture Text

Luke 9:57-62…As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  He said to another man, “Follow me.”  But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”  Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good‑by to my family.”  Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (NIV)



We give people permission to be passive about their walk with Christ if we are not honest about what it will cost them to make that choice, but if we help them make an informed decision, those persons are more likely to be passionate about their faith.


Sometimes in our eagerness to get someone to make a choice to accept Christ we emphasize all the things that God wants to do and will do for them and we neglect to share what it means on their part to make that decision.  If we follow Jesus example we will help them see the depth of what it means to say yes to God.

I dare say that none of us would sit across the table from a family member that had lost someone in one of the many wars that have been fought to protect our country that the freedom that we experience is “free.”  The same is true of the spiritual freedom that is available to us. 

  • That freedom cost Jesus his life.
  • If you say yes to Jesus it will cost you something as well.  Perhaps even your life.


Today’s Context

Luke 9:57-58…As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”  Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” (NIV)


1)  Following Christ is not a life of comfort.

In Luke 9:51-56 we see that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and he was going through Samaria to get there.  It says that “the people of the village did not welcome Jesus.”  This is because there was no love loss between the two groups of people.

Samaritans were particularly hostile to Jews who were on their way to observe religious festivals in Jerusalem.  It was at least a three day journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, through Samaria, and Samaritans regularly refused overnight shelter for the pilgrims.  Because of this antipathy, Jews traveling between Galilee and Jerusalem frequently chose to remain on the east side of the Jordan River. (ref. 9:52 NIV Archaeological Study Bible Copyright © 2005 by the Zondervan Corporation)

As Jesus responded to the man that expressed a willingness to follow him, Jesus cautioned him to count the cost.  “The Son of Man (literally) had no place to lay his head” as he was turned away in Samaria.  If one is going to follow Christ he/she can expect the same.

  • Jesus was also persecuted by the religious elite.
  • Jesus was also betrayed by one of his closest companions (Judas).


2)  God will ask us to be uncomfortable

Matthew 10:38-39…and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.  Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24-25…Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

  • When Jesus asked the disciples to follow him he asked them to walk away from the comfortable living that they were making
  • Jesus asked the rich young ruler to go and sell everything.
  • I wonder what Jesus will ask me to do?  (This is a question that is provoked in all of us as we begin to ponder what it means to follow Jesus.  However, we mistakenly encourage people not to dwell there too long for fear it will turn them away from God.  But in doing so we push them towards a passive approach to God)


3)  Love motivates us to be uncomfortable

Love is the factor that will not allow us to be passive in our walk with Christ.  It is what pushes our experience to go beyond Sunday morning worship services and potluck dinners.  It is what drives us to put ourselves in uncomfortable situations and to have uncomfortable relationships.

If I were to ask you what the opposite of love is, you would probably answer with “hate.”  That is an accurate antonym if we define love as an emotion, but the bible does not define love as an emotion.  Love is always defined in words that reflect and require willful action.

Galatians 5:22-26…But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self‑control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.   Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

The opposite of biblical love is apathy.  If I choose to follow Jesus it will change my life.  Jesus intentionally chose put himself in uncomfortable situations and I will too.


Revelation 3:14-20… “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:  These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God's creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.   I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.


  • Apathy is the opposite of biblical love in that love requires action and apathy allows us to be indifferent to the voice of God. 
  • Apathy gives us permission to have a lack of concern for the things that are important to God, which is a natural response if one has not considered such things. 
  • Apathy breeds laziness if we haven’t considered the weight of what it means to live a changed life.


1)  Are you someone that shows up week after week and have become comfortable with not responding to God’s call to follow him?  Perhaps it is because you have not considered what it really means to follow Christ.

2)  Is your Christian experience defined by Sunday morning worship and potluck dinners?  If so, perhaps it is because you have not considered what it really means to follow Christ.

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Sunday, September 6, 2009

About This Blog

I consider myself blessed to be able to work full time in the area of ministry.  As a way to pass that blessing on I am offering you free access to the material on this blog.  Please accept it as my gift to your ministry.


As I have worked in youth ministry over the years I have labored to collect the necessary information to prepare for youth lessons, sermons, retreats, etc… There is a lot of information out there and many of you do not have time to sift through the magazines, web-sites, newspapers, and other resources to help you connect with and lead others.  My goal is for this site to be a filter for you as you navigate all of the information out there.


Many of the sermon outlines, lesson overviews, and group discussions on this site are original material and should be treated as copyright protected.  You have permission to use or reproduce any information on this site  for your ministry  but no material should be sold or used for profit. 


I ask that you give proper credit for any material obtained from this site.  If you wish to be a content contributor you can e-mail from the link on just below my photo.   May God bless you as you labor in His name and for His Kingdom.


As you use this site please feel free to comment on any of the material that you use.  Your commentary will become a part of this site and serve others as they consider using some of the material that you have used.

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Icebreaker Do’s and Don’ts


1)  The activity should be appropriate for the group concerned.

2)  Make the instructions simple to understand.

3)  Continually evaluate the group to make sure that they are enjoying the activity.

4)  Always have a back up plan or be prepared to move on if the icebreaker is not effective.

5)  Make sure that your icebreaker is planned accordingly for your size group.

6)  Be organized and prepared. (If you are not, the student may lose focus.)

7)  Allow adequate time.



1)  Don’t pick icebreakers that will make your students feel uncomfortable in any way.  Whether physically or emotionally.

2)  Don’t force anyone to participate.


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Purpose:  To get students to open up and talk about themselves.


1)  Arrange the chairs in the room in groups of three or more.

2)  Have each person in the circle take turns telling two truths about themselves and one lie.

3)  Everyone else in the circle is responsible for guessing what the lie is.

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Friday, September 4, 2009


Purpose:  To get your students talking and learning more about each other and building a foundation for deeper conversations.



1)  Prepare you room by placing the chairs in clusters of 2, 3, 4, etc… depending on the size of your group.

2)  Have a stopwatch or some other device for keeping time.

3)  Prepare a series of short questions for the group to answer.

4)  Assign each chair a number value equal to the number of chairs in each group.

5)  Number sheets of paper with the same number values of chairs and groups of chairs.  I you have 6 groups of chairs with 3 chairs in each group you will need 6 stacks of paper numbered from 1 – 3.



1)  As the students enter the room, give each one a slip of paper with a number and ask them to find a chair with the corresponding number.  (You will need to determine whether it would be best to split up your normal groups.  It would probably be best to leave visitors with someone they know.)

2)  Give one person in the group a list of the questions prepared before hand or put them on the big screen for everyone to see.

3)  Have the person in the #1 chair begin. Explain that each person will have one minute to answer as many questions in the chosen category as possible.


Possible Questions

Skipped school?
Been lost?
Swam in the ocean?
Been on the opposite side of the country?
Cried yourself to sleep?
Played cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians?
Gone to another country?
Sang karaoke?
Been on a plane?
Paid for a meal with coins only?
Done something you told yourself you wouldn't?
Made prank phone calls?
Laughed until some sort of beverage came out of your nose?
Caught a snowflake on your tongue?
Baked a turkey?
Written a letter to Santa Claus?
Watched the sun rise on the East Coast?
Watched the sunset on the West Coast?
Sat outside in the rain?
Lived one of your dreams?
Eaten just cookies for dinner?
Been on TV?
Stolen traffic signs?

What is your:
Birth order?
Dream home?

What is your favorite:
Vacation spot?
TV show?
Body wash?
Time of day?

How do you:
See yourself in 10 years?
React to rude people?
Get to school?
Like you steak cooked?
Spend time with your parents?
Greet your friends?


Be creative when you make up your list of questions for students to answer.  We would love for you to share them with us in the comment section.

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Purpose:  To stimulate conversation or to help your group break out of their normal cliques and share with others in the group.



1)  You can use a variety of items for this icebreaker as long as their are an equal number of paired items to choose from.  You can have colored marbles, cut up pieces of construction paper, colored paper clips, etc… Just make sure their are only pairs.  If you use construction paper their should only be two blue pieces, two green pieces, two yellow pieces, and so on.  Make sure their are enough unique paired items for your entire group.  If you have a large group you could use 3, 4, or 5 of the same color or similar item.

You can also use random items.  Two pencils, two golf balls, two quarters, etc… If you use random items, one of your questions could be “why did you choose the item that you chose.”


2)  Prepare in advance a list of 1 – 3 questions for the group to answer depending on how much time you have.  If you will be teaching you could have the question relate somehow to the topic.  Make sure it isn’t too personal.



1)  Put enough paired items for your whole group in a container.

2)  Have each student select an item from the container.

3)  Have the students with similar items to pair up.

4)  Have each student take turns answering the questions prepared before hand.


Please comment below and let us know how you used this material, how your audience responded, how you improved the content, or any suggestions you might have.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Digital Scavenger Hunt

submitted by LARRY WESTFALL

Before the day of the scavenger hunt you will need to make a few arrangements:
1)  Create a way for individuals to sign up so that you can have an accurate number of participants.
2)  Once you know the number of people that are participating you need to break the groups into even teams and arrange for each team to have transportation and a driver.  Make sure that each vehicle will hold the size of the group assigned to it.
3)  Arrange for each team to have a digital camera or cell phone to take pictures with.
4)  Prepare a list of wacky photos for each team to take with their camera/cell phone.  Each picture taken must include every member of the team except the person taking the photo.  Please e-mail me or post your list of photos below for all to see.

The Day of the Hunt
1)  Separate everyone into their groups.
2)  Make sure each team has a camera/cell phone and a list of photos to be taken.
3)  Let everyone know their driver and which vehicle they are assigned to.
4)  Set a time for each team to return to ground zero.
5)  Say Go! 

Wrap Up
1)  Order Pizza and have everyone come back to a big party.
2)  You could arrange for teams using cell phones to e-mail or text pictures to an address that can be accessed from ground zero and downloaded into a slideshow.  Have someone available with a multi-card reader for teams using digital cameras.  Pictures can be downloaded while everyone is eating and slideshow presentation can be done after the meal.

Extra Thoughts
    I like to use a list of 50 items so that I know it will take some effort to complete the list.
    I usually give 2 hours to complete the list
    This is a good way to get younger sibling or parents involved in an activity

Photo Suggestions
Will be posted soon
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

6 Moments of Prayer Recorded In The Book Of Acts

submitted by LARRY WESTFALL

1)   Prayer was a regular part of group gatherings
Acts 1:14…They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus.
2)   Prayer was a way to search God’s heart when choosing leaders
Acts 1:24-25…Then they all prayed, “O Lord, you know every heart.  Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry for he has deserted us and gone astray.”
3)   Prayer was used to combat fear
Acts 4:23-31…As soon as they were freed, Peter and john returned to the other believers and told them what the leading priests and elders had said.  When they heard the report, all the believers lifted their voices together in prayer to God: “O Soveriegn Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry?  Why did they waste their time with futile plans?  The kings of earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against his Messiah.’  In fact, this has happened here in this very city!  For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, your holy servant, whom you anointed.  but everything they did was determined beforehand according to your will.  And now, O Lord, hear their threats, and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.  Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then they preached the word of God with boldness.
4)   A prayer of forgiveness (for those that hurt us)
Acts 7:59-60…As they stoned him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  He fell to his knees, shouting, “Lord, don’t charge them with this sin!”  And with that, he died.
5)  A prayer for the persecuted
Acts 12:1-5…About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church.  He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword.  When Herod saw how much this pleased the Jewish people, he also arrested Peter.  (This took place during the Passover celebration.)  Then he imprisoned him, placing him under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each  Herod intended to bring Peter out for public trial after the Passover.  But while Peter was in prison, the church prayed earnestly for him.
Acts 12:11-12…Peter finally came to his senses.  “It’s really true!” he said.  “The Lord has sent his angel and saved me from Herod and from what the Jewish leader had planned to do to me!”  When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer.
6)  Prayer was used to commission people for ministry
Acts 13:2-3…One day as these men were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for to especial work to which I have called them.”  So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid hands on them and sent them on their way.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Please comment below and let us know how you used this material, how your audience responded, how you improved the content, or any suggestions that you might have.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009


submitted by LARRY WESTFALL


1) All of us have an image of the person that we want to be.

If you are a mom you have an image of how you want your children to see you, how your husband sees you in this role, how other moms view you, how your mother will view you, how your grand mother will view you, how you want the pastor to view you, etc…

If you are a dad its the same thing. You have an image of the man that you want everyone to see when they picture you in that roll. Your wife, your children, your dad, your grandfather, other dads, etc…


Mother, Father, Son, Daughter, Co-worker, Boss, Leader, Church Member, Volunteer, Husband, Wife, Grandmother, Grandfather, Civic Leader, Activist, Neighbor, Friend, Mentor, Role Model, Brother, Sister, Facebook (MySpace, or other social network) Friend, etc...


Son, Daughter, Brother, Sister, Grandson, Granddaughter, Classmate, Friend, Leader, Student, Athlete, Facebook (MySpace, or other social network) Friend, Member of Church Youth Ministry, Role Model to Younger Children, etc...

Choose a couple of the roles above and give a brief description of how someone might want others to view them in that area - or - Choose a couple of the roles above and have the participants describe how they would want to be perceived in that particular area.

The Problem

2) Sometimes there is a gap between our preferred image and who we really are. The person I put out to everyone else isn't the "real me."

Read Acts 5:1-11

Choose a couple of the roles above and draw some similarities between the choice that Ananias and Sapphira made to the choice(s) any one of us could be making today. (i.e. Dad is never at home because he works two jobs – he tells the people that he is working with that he is trying to help provide a better future for his children than he had when he was growing up, but in reality he has a gambling problem and is deeply in debt and is on the verge of losing everything he owns and his family – or – a teenage girl that is in the habit of coming home late from school because she is over at her friend’s house studying, her mother is pleased because her math grade is an A compared to the C- that she carried last year.  What mom doesn’t know is that she is paying someone else to do her homework and she is spending her time at her boyfriend’s house.)

The Truth

3)   We can spend our time doing image management or character development.

   Image Management- covering up the person that we are in hopes that everyone else will believe that we are the person that we know we should be. 

    Character Development- being honest about the person that you are; and trusting God to help you become the person that you should be.

4)   King David spent some time doing image management.

Read 2 Samuel 11:1 – 27

Read through this passage of Scripture and discuss all of the people that are behind the scenes that David cannot do image management with.

Even when we expend our energy doing image management there are still those that see what others do not.  We are never really able to hide who we are from everyone.


5)  The “Real Me”

    Are you just trying to blend in?
    Are you trying to cover something up?
    Are you pretending to be someone you are not?
    Are you withholding half the truth?
    Are you feeling guilty?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions will you let us pray with you?

Please comment below and let us know how you used this material, how your audience responded, how you improved the content, or any suggestions you might have.

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