The single biggest thing that keeps me up at night is helping other people when they have problems. On the phone, in person, matters not. If someone I love is suffering, I feel it my duty to stay with them and help them get through it.
Randal asked, “What’s guaranteed to make you roll your eyes upward? And maybe groan as those eyeballs disappear into the inner recesses of the brain?”
Generally, it’s when people do anything really stupid when they *should* have known better, and then whine about the results and consequences. For example, people who get get an embarrassing tattoo while drunk. The TV show COPS generally brings on rapid eye rolling.
We used to take a family vacation every year with my in-laws, but as the kids grew and got involved in every extra-curricular activity under the sun, that came to a screeching halt.
I found it hard then to extract myself from work. It would take about 4 days to wind down entirely, just in time to go back to work and get a jolt. Really, to be effective, I needed a full 2 continuous weeks off. That just couldn’t happen. Employers here don’t give enough paid time off for that, when you consider how much of your PTO goes to caring for your sick children who cannot go to school. It’s just the way things were.
I think now I wouldn’t have nearly the problem winding down from work. Life gets after you and brings on the desire to escape over time. The most desirable vacation spot would be somewhere where there are no phones, no computers, no TVs. Just me, my sons, our Bibles, and my camera. That’s it. Pretty simple. I’m thinking African safari.
Given the discussion on “house churches”, I thought it interesting this article just came out.
The practice discussed here is not, as far as I can tell, scriptural at all. Besides all the unscriptural things they engage in, they purposely keep the groups to under 15 people and separate when they reach that number. While I appreciate wanting to move back to the Bible and away from the “clergy/laity” pattern developed by men, I question how a church can grow to have elders and deacons as commanded by God if they do this? The way things are described here, it sounds more like people want *no* leadership, which is just as bad as a congregation meeting in a “church building” that refuses to appoint elders (yes, those exist).
When I was a child, we wasted nothing. If something broke, it got fixed rather than thrown out. We drove cars until the wheels fell off. We didn’t call in or use a specialist to fix things either. My father was a “jack of all trades” and fixed everything. He fixed leaky pipes, put the new roof on the house, repaired the heat pump, changed the oil in the cars, fixed the radiators when they went out. I even recall helping him change brake shoes and doing body work to patch rusted holes in the car body.
Today, we have no idea how to fix things ourselves. Products are made to not last forever any more, and it’s often cheaper to buy new than to fix. And so we have been trained to use and dispose, and we have become beholden the the manufacturers and repair specialists. We now live in a disposable society.
Whatever happened to the old saying, “waste not, want not”?
All the teens are still talking about the camp. Facebook has been a wonderful thing. The Purcellville and Arab kids are all linked together, sharing photos and stories and keeping up with the lives of their new found friends. For our kids, this fellowship is really critical. We are on an island up here, and the kids don’t have other Christian friends from close by congregations around. I continue to see how this experience has affected the lives of not just my sons, but our entire teen group.
One of the things we did was to record the singing at our Bible camp as I wanted to have some singing on the web site, but let me tell you, it has paid off in spades. Links to the singing are spreading between these kids on Facebook. The kids are living the experience again and loving it.
The recording was rather last minute and could have been executed better, but it’s not bad considering. For those interested, I’ve posted selections along with photos here: http://www.purcellvillecoc.org/pcyc/2010/
One lesson I’ve learned is to never underestimate the power of the little things.
At PCYC, we had been talking all week about running the Christian race. In the teen girls class I was teaching, we were talking about how bad attitudes can hinder us in that race. We tied each of the attitudes to a lack of repentance. Yesterday morning, we closed by talking about the great judgment day, when the books will be opened and every man judged according to his works — how there is a record of our lives and that record will be compared to God’s word, which endures forever. Last evening, at the close of PCYC, two young ladies came forward because as they said, they wanted confidence on the day of judgment.
In total, we had 5 responses. One an adult, who is of a Catholic background and has asked for a Bible study. We additionally have two tentative Bible studies set up with families from the community. One teenage girl is begging to come back on Wed nights to be a part of our teenage girls class. I am so blessed to have been a part of this camp.
I will be following up with an article for Brotherhood News.
Been completely immersed in PCYC this week. We had 67 kids today, 10 of which were visitors from the local area. Only 3 of those kids had any prior contact with any member of our congregation. The father of two thanked us for going door to door when he picked them up today — said they would have never known about it if we hadn’t done so. More to come…
The last congregation I visited was in Lenoir City, TN. This is the place where I grew up both physically and spiritually. It’s been nearly 24 years since we left. We’ve visited from time to time over the years and still hold a deep love for the brethren there. Our last visit was this past December. I am so pleased at how the congregation has grown and in all the ways they have grown. The single thing that stands out the most to impress me is just how active those people are in doing the Lord’s work, which is second only (and likely a result of) their extreme enthusiasm — these people are on fire! The elders there have endeavored to get everyone as involved and working as possible, and they have succeeded. And the people are happy and smiling, which is inviting to the lost. As a result of their enthusiasm, attitudes, and hard work, they have grown in number. All this will holding fast to the doctrine, which is also amazing in these times when many people will only come if you water down the sermons to the point of having no convicting power. The sermons I heard from the LC pulpit were straight from the Bible — put kindly, but there could be no doubt what was being said. Someday when we retire, maybe… 🙂
The saints in Purcellville rejoice at the birth of a new brother in Christ, last evening after Bible study. Jordan is the son of one of our deacons. He’s a fine young man from a fine family. 🙂 🙂
With the help of the youth group from Arab, Alabama, we started our own camp: the Purcellville Christian Youth Camp (PCYC). We are in our 4th year now. We don’t have camp facilities, so we run the camp at the building and use local parks for afternoon activities. Local kids go home at night. Non-local kids stay in our member homes. Someday, our dream is to have a camp facility to have a 24×6 camp so we can have evening activities as well.
Being in N. VA, which is arguably a mission field, this camp has been a true blessing for our kids. They have developed long and lasting relationships with other Christian kids, and we’ve seen how this has strengthened the faithfulness of some of our own and helped them grow.
This year marks a new milestone for us. To this point, the Arab Christians have been responsible for all aspects of the camp. Their adults have planned and directed the camp, and under their guidance, they have used this camp to teach their older teens how to teach and run camps. This year, we have 14 adults who are using their vacation to work with the camp in some capacity or another, and we are co-directing the camp. Our teens are working with our adults as mentors to learn to teach and lead. We have two young men who will be leading singing, two who will be giving devotionals, and 4 young ladies who will be assisting in teaching the younger classes. My role? Behind the scenes coordinator and supplying the Bible class materials (an augmentation of materials I previously wrote).
There is so much in this account that sends chills down the spine. One thing I’ve been pondering lately is the the look that Jesus gave to Peter after his 3rd denial of Him. What must have been in that look? Was it one of “I told you so” or of disappointment? One of hurt? Or perhaps it was just a gentle loving look. No matter. It was enough to recall to Peter’s mind what the Lord had said to him such a short time before. I can only imagine how Peter must have felt, having learned something about himself that he probably didn’t like. No matter how much zeal he had for the Lord, he was capable of turning tail and running when the rubber met the road. And what an example for us. Peter, the great orator, who brought us the first gospel sermon, was human. Just like us. We need to always be on the lookout and take heed wherein we stand — lest we fall.
Lots of buzzing around doing last minute preparation for our Bible camp in Purcellville. Sorted and organized all the food and drink donations yesterday. House to House goes out this week. The 38-40 people from Arab, AL arrive on Thursday.
One Biblical place I’d like to see is the Areopagus where Paul addressed the people of Athens in Acts 17. I’ve always been fascinated by antiquities.
The Purcellville Christian Youth Camp is July 12-14. Our theme is Christian olympics — with an emphasis of “go for the crown”. 15 of our adults have volunteered to help run the camp — many of these are taking vacation from their jobs to participate. We’re also very excited to have a group of 26 kids (mostly teens) and 13 adults from the church of Christ in Arab, AL coming to help with the camp. Since we don’t have an actual camp ground, we need to house our guests. Many of our members are opening their homes to provide beds and showers for them.
We are offering this camp as a free service to the surrounding community as an outreach activity to win people to Christ. We’ve created and distributed camp brochures at a local city festival and at the local Tropical Smoothie shop. We’re running Facebook and Google ads targeted at the local community. We will be sending out a special House-to-House issue with advertising for the camp. Finally, on the Sunday afternoon before camp, the teens will canvass the adjacent neighborhood trying to get community teens to join us.