Saturday, December 31, 2005

Welcome to a New World

Wow, that's about all I have to say. God has been hard at work in my life, even over the Holidays. It's amazing what a bit of off-time can do for you, when you really just want to spend some time to recuperate, and reflect. That's exactly what I've been doing, and God has been guiding my every step.

I've really been pondering a lot of things in my head. My own faith, what that really means, what the core of my faith is, what is malleable, and what really needs to stick firm. These are just a few of the things that I've been juggling around, so you can imagine what it's like to be inside of my head!

Yet the old analogy of a tunnel doesn't really work in this instance. It's more like I'm on a journey, and God is there every step of the way with me. I recently had a conversation with a lady that I've known for awhile. It was an odd conversation because she is very much searching for the meaning of her life. She doesn't talk about it often, but it's a constant thing on her mind. So we had a good chat about her beliefs, about what was important to her, and where she was. It's interesting that the simple phrase of "I don't know" can really get through to someone. In this case, she grew up in a very conservative home, where it was just a matter of "God wanted it that way."

That just doesn't jive with the way she thinks.

How do you explain pain and suffering in the light of an all-loving God. There are answers, and they are completely legitimate, but when push comes to shove, we can never truly understand the sheer scale of that destruction, except to know that Jesus hurt with them. That is where our conversation shifted to, Jesus. How did he react? What were his comments? Jesus wept. Jesus was left alone by his own Father. He knows what it's like to feel completely and utterly alone. He understands.

God is good.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Caring for Your Introvert

Caring for Your Introvert

This was an interesting read. Something to give everyone a bit of perspective on others!

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year... I'll look forward to hearing from you all come early January, once I get back into the swing of things for the 2nd half of my internship!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Carys is blogging!

m ,,,,,,111111111111111111110mj bbgb gbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbg j mmmmmmym
,,,,,,,,,,,,///////3ooooooooooooooooooooooooooookkkkkkkkghhn ..,/M" [[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[[=\ n ,m

so there you have it... the words of a Christmas crazed 11 month old named Carys! Oh so cute!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Home for Christmas

Well, the first part of it is over. I'm back in Edmonton now, and home for the holidays! A chance to unwind, relax, and just enjoy the company of family! Everyone else is driving out here tomorrow, and will get here tomorrow night, so I have a day where I can just veg and not have to worry about a whole lot.

Before I left this morning, we finalized next semester's calendar up to March, and I got the poster done, so that it can be printed and mailed out sometime next week. Just laying down the plans so that come January, we have a plan from which we can build off of. Makes everybodies life easier.

Life is good :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Almost done James!

So I've been working on my Distance Education Course pretty steadily over the past few days. The work has paid off. I'm nearly done the whole course, and all I have standing in my way now is a short presentation, a 1 page write-up of that presentation, the final exam, reading through James 5 times, and reading through the commentary. I figure I should be able to be completely done the whole course by Christmas! One less thing to worry about!

Other than that, work is continuing in my secret project. Soon enough I'll be able to reveal exactly what it was that I've been working on. I had a little technical difficulties, but they seemed to have ironed themselves out.

Tomorrow will involve the finishing touches on next semester's youth planning, some graphical work, a little bit more of James stuff, and then heading home for the holidays. I'm super excited for us all to be together again, and I don't think I've been this excited in years! It's going to be a good first Christmas for Miss. Carys!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I finished watching Saving Private Ryan last night, and the ending really made an impact on me, more than I remember it making the first or second time around. After battling all through Europe to find Private James Francis Ryan, the captain dies just before reinforcements arrive, and it's at that moment in time you can see in Ryan's eyes that he knows that he is the reason this man is dead.

The look in his eyes speaks a million words. Suddenly the weight of war is upon his shoulders, and he doesn't know how to cope. The captains last words were to Ryan, and he says, "Earn this." Referring of course to Ryan's life. It was paid with the death of at least 5 other soldiers, and the Captain never considered him unworthy.

Today in my devotions, David Roper challenged me to think of life as a gift from God. I'm crafted for a very specific purpose. Am I earning that?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Cool Weekend!

Well, what a weekend. Friday night kicked off with the youth Christmas banquet. For which I shaved! I know, the world rejoices. I got all dressed up into my suit, etc. We had a good time all in all. Bryce was constantly on the prowl for things to put into my drink, and that's completely dangerous when they give you Hershey Kisses, a large turkey dinner and a full complement of napkins, cutlery, etc. Kinda scary!

After that, we had a LAN party here at the church. Sadly, as I get older, I can no longer stay up all night, so I went to bed at about 5 or 6. However, before I went to bed, I established and defended my crown as the undesputed kind of the Apache in Desert Combat. No one could touch me all night long. I was mobile death. Surprisingly, the network came together quite nicely and easily, and everything went smoothly throughout the night, once we got all the computers up and running. We had a fun night, and all was good.

Sunday morning we showed the video I had prepared, and everything went over really well! Slowly getting the formula down for communicating with all of the different generations, and a few parents said thank-you for showing the pictures of their kids. It was good fun! I also had to pray that morning, which was a little different. It's funny how you take the normal things for granted. I learned that if I'm going to pray like that again, until I get used to it, I need to write down in detailed form what I'm going to pray for, not just try to wing it! Lessons learned!

I'm heading home for Christmas on Thursday. T-Minus 6 days!

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Lion, the Witch, and the Great Insult

The Lion, the Witch, and the Great Insult

This is really an interesting take on our world. Completely true, in and of itself, and offers a piercing look into the depths our sin. "We don't need you God, we can do it on our own." Now that is where we meet people, and begin to show them what Christ does do in our lives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Crazy Go Nuts

Alright, so I haven't been all that busy. But it has been a full two days! Yesterday, Ashleigh and I went out for coffee! Good to talk to someone else who is at the same place as you when you look forward in your lives. It's neat to see how God is moving in my generation to prepare people for ministry in our new world, even while it is in the midst of change.

In Ashleigh's case, she has a real desire to walk people through their problems... beginning to end. Not just talk to them once, and then drop them. But be there for the long-term and minister to the lost, the broken, and the types of people that most won't even touch today. And as she's been here at Prairie, God's been building in her a desire to do ministry here, not overseas as she originally intended.

That fits pretty well into my own model. As I look forward, the goals are to have a church that is accepting to all, and works with all. Accepting them for who they are and walking along the journey that is the Christian faith with them. Prodding them here and there, but also realizing that we all start at different places, and because of that, we have to have different expectations of everyone. It'll be interesting to see how that plays out in a real-world church.

On a less serious note... over the past two nights, I've been involved in... two parties! Two nightes ago, I was a 'internet pirate' for the Discover program's semester party. They were all dressed up as authentic pirates, and it was totally awesome. It was good fun, and there were some wicked good costumes. One girl, Jaqueline had the full outfit going on, it was pretty incredible!

Last night was the church staff party. We met at the harvest house for dinner, and it was good laughs all around. Here's 21 year-old Stephen hanging out with 40+ people! Whodathunkit? Good thing I can still appreciate my dad's sense of humour (the secret it out!).

For dinner, I had a 16oz steak... or should I say I tried to have one. The Harvest House is known for their large portions, and this one must have at least been a 20oz steak. I finished half of it last night, and the other half at lunch today! It's was VERY good, but I thought I was going to explode after eating it! Good times.

We went from there to Kevin's house, where we had a rousing game of Catch Phrase. You have one piece that you pass around, and it has words inside of it. You have to get other people to say the word by describing it, singing, dancing, just about anything but saying that word! It lead to some pretty hilarious moments! Highly recommended!

All in all, it's been a good past couple of days. Tomorrow: Red Deer. We're working on forward planning for the next three months, and we need to get the Youth Christmas Banquet program worked out.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Holy Toblerone

Alright, so here I am sitting in my office. I just got in, so I was checking out all the new things on the net, like my crazy cousin Val commenting on my blog, when Lynn walks in... accompanied by a HUGE Toblerone bar. You know, the 750g type. I'm still in sugar shock from just the THOUGHT of eating this thing. I love toberone, don't get me wrong, but this thing will last me for 6 months. Totally awesome.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

On the DL

So... I'm working on a project. It has nothing to do with work. Everything to do with Christmas. Keep it on the DL.

More on that after Dec 25th :D

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Return of Links!

So I got bored, and decided that I would put in a few links to some different blogs. Notably my two cousins! I just stumbled upon them here in the past few days, and I figured why not include them. So props to Bonnie and Val!

Also, I included a link to the RSS feed for the blog. So if you're more into the RSS kind of a thing (Gmail just started supporting it), that option is there for you. :D


Hello, and welcome to Friday. Today we will be preparing for the weekend and making sure that we're not stressing out Sunday morning. Some of the tasks that this includes are preparing for the Junior High Sunday School class, the 2-4 year old children's church, and generally making sure that we are mentally sane.

Alternatively, we need to make sure that our James course continues with the recent progress, meaning some time in the Library, as well as reading an journalling on our thoughts. The goal is to have this finished by Christmas, so make sure that you keep working on it!

Finally, there are some smaller tasks, like confirming your preaching appointment on the 15th of January in Big Valley, setting up coffee with someone who really just needs to chat, finding a hotel that is suitable for the youth sponsor retreat in early January, and goofing off.

As we read this morning, it's important to just be patient and let God work in your life. This means clinging close to Him, and trusting that He ultimately knows what is best for us. If we ask for strength in the midst of trial, He promises to always give it to us. So the question is... do we?

Good luck :D

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Funny How it Fits the Mood

I'm working through In Quietness and Confidence by David Roper, and it's funny how the devotionals just fit whatever mood you're in at that given moment. In my case, that's pretty pensive. It's just a day where I'm into thought, and not saying a whole lot, but just enjoying what God has to teach me.

That's exactly what the devotional was about today. Sometimes it's better to keep your mouth shut so that you can hear what other people, and God, have to say. It's amazing what He'll teach you when you don't say a word. Just listen, and somewhere out of that silence comes a small whisper in the form of a good book, music, someone else's words, or perhaps just your own thoughts. It's in those moments that you really grow.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Youth Retreat

Alright, so just as promised here is the update from the youth retreat! It was an awesome weekend, and we did a ton of crazy things such as....

... tobogganing down this huge hill on crazy carpets and tubes! It was a total blast! And I know that I was still feeling the effects on Monday, which means it must have been fun.

We had a total of 19 kids along with us, and with 9 youth sponsors it meant that we could just relax and enjoy ourselves, rather than worry about what was going on around us. The kids were a huge delight to be with, and there weren't really any issues that arose.

Friday night, I spoke and just set the platform for the rest of the weekend and Kevin and I spoke about Relationships and the importance of them in our lives. I included a lot of fictional examples in there, but I threw in some ones of my own from junior high and the story of a young friend that I have that has come to know God in the past year.

Saturday was really the meat and potatoes of the retreat. Breakfast was at 9 AM, and as all the food was out at REBC, it was fantastic. Kevin spoke that morning on the Biblical basis for relationships, really going over Proverbs and other examples in the Bible of relationships. He laid a good foundation that we could build off of.

That afternoon, we went tobogganing, played some card games. And really just enjoyed ourselves. There were numerous different games that were going on. Some poker, some egyptian war, and a few other games that I forget the name to. It was a good time to just talk about what was going on, enjoy ourselves, and get to know each other a little better!

That night, we gathered around the fireside room for the nightly chat. We had a skit, which involved a 'used teenager lot' and "Honest Al" talking about youth like they were cars, and then was shocked when someone would 'USE' a car! I think it really set the stage. From there I talked about relationships in their lives. Friends that were a huge help to me during my high school years, and I also talked about Sarah, and how I really didn't do her justice in our friendship. I thought it went really well.

That night, we played some fun games. Charades, Jeopardy, and Wink (which turned out to be a group favourite) dominated the night, and the kids had a blast! Three of the Junior High Boys built a fort out of the chairs we had downstairs, and so I crawled in there with them and we were joking around. Then I had to get out, so I just stood up, and the whole thing collapsed!

All in all, the whole weekend was a success. It was awesome to see God working in the group to bond them together throughout the weekend, and I'm excited to see what He'll be doing in the next few weeks from the progress that was started there. It was tiring... but it was totally worth it!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

My Day

Alright, so I promised the youth retreat low-down... Tomorrow... Morning. You have my word!

Today didn't really consist of much. Showing up late for staff meeting after sleeping in (purposefully this time), and then reading for the rest of the day. I found some good resources for ministry related things, and I'll be looking over a lot of that in the next few days as we look ahead for planning.

I spent most of the afternoon just reading through some of "A New Kind of Christian." Some interesting stuff that I'm in the process of ... well processing. It's pretty thought provoking.

Other than that, I think some glow plugs need to be replaced on the Jetta, so I'll be looking around at that in the next little while. Paul and I are going to work on that and a few other things over Christmas. Nothing like a little brother bonding time over a hard hunk of metal! Booya!

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Youth Retreat

It's sitting at -18 outside right now, and I've finished writing all of my e-mails that I wanted to today, and I'm still waiting for the car to warm up. So I guess it's time to write a note as per what happened this weekend! I think I'll start today by giving rules for anyone who attempts to plan a youth retreat, and give you the recap tomorrow when I have a little more time.

Rule #1 - Always plan far ahead of time

Don't leave the messages and devotionals until the last day. This is never a good thing, as it will generally leave you without dinner, and stressed out. If you can plan to have your messages and devotionals done at least a week ahead of time, then you can leave the last week to touch-ups and minor details.

Rule #2 - Don't have another major message to give before the youth retreat

In my case, that meant teaching the gr 5 religious education class. Things may go well, but it takes up almost a whole day when what you really want to be doing is working on the youth retreat.

Rule #3 - Know your limits

Don't commit to doing more than you are physically, emotionally, or spiritually able to do. There are people that are willing to help. Let them. If someone wants to help you do something, give them a job to do! That's less for you to do.

Rule #4 - Take a deep breathe

It's guaranteed that if you are seeking after God's will, there will be some serious attacks. That means that you need to take a deep breathe a lot of the time and lean on God. Your patience and abilities are not enough to do that job, we all recognize that. So remember instead that you could have never gotten this far on your own, and give the credit where it deserves to be... God.

Rule #5 - Have some good friends

People that are removed from the situation, but that love you dearly are your best friends. They will pray for you, help you, love you when you need it. Being on the planning end can be very lonely, and having someone like this can really help you through the rough patches when you're ready to give up (thanks dad!).

Rule #6 - Remember that it's a retreat

This means that when you actually get out there, if you've done Rule #1, you should be relaxing just as much as everyone else. You do have responsibilities, but take some time to throw yourself down a hill on a crazy carpet, and while you're at it, try to bowl someone over!

Rule #7 - God

This is the most important of them all. Don't even try to go it alone. You need to be spending even more time with God before a retreat when things get hectic than before. Satan is going to come on strong, so don that armour soldier and fight with what God gives you. He's there with you every step of the way, and you need His strength, not your own, to get through this. Don't forget that.

Friday, December 02, 2005

T-Minus 7 hours

Here we are, approaching the youth retreat. I've still got one sermon, four devotionals, and a schedule to make. It's going to be a wild day :)

Thursday, December 01, 2005

What a Day!

Nothing quite like preparing for a youth retreat! There's always something more to do, and I think no matter how much preparing you've done, you'll always end up winging some portion of it. I'm personally really looking forward to this retreat. It's going to be a blast. Our theme? Relationships.

I've got two messages during the weekend, first of all laying the foundation for the weekend by outlining the state of relationships in the world. My plan of attack for this is more of a shotgun approach. I'm going to throw a lot of different scenarios at the kids, and hope that they hit where they are at. That's really up to the Holy Spirit.

From there, I'm going to move onto my own life, and the effect that relationships have had on my life, and finally finishing on the state of culture at large. Hm... Scratch that. I'm starting with the culture at large and moving in from there. I think that will focus it a lot more.

The second message will focus on their relationships, where they are at, and it will follow Kevin's Biblical basis of Relationships. Part of me can only do so much preparing for this. I will have my outline, but it will really be determined by where the atmosphere of the retreat is at! At this point, I can only really offer it up to God and hope that he'll take it from there.

So here are a few things that I've got to do over the next 24 hours. Prepare my second message. Preparing the devotional material for the weekend (Morning and Night, I think), Prepare the schedule, get my desk cleaned (gotta leave a good impression!), get my powerpoints done for both messages. Go to Karate tonight, as well as Soccer.

It's a mad, mad world! Good thing that I'm not in control!