Okay so I forgot to snap a photo today. Well actually I snapped some on my camera, but forgot to upload them. So here’s a photo of my current activity. Watching tv before bed. Today was a long day with work and then a cookout with some friends at church. We’re starting to get a great young adult group which is awesome. Everyone is different with some who have young children and some, like Ron and I, who don’t. We all seem to get along really well and tonight we cooked out and played volleyball, cornhole and basketball. I think everyone had a great time which is nice.
My church is holding Vacation Bible School this week and tonight, I went to take pictures of all the children. The pictures will become part of their Samaritan’s Purse boxes, which the children fill up with toiletries and other goodies for needy children around the globe. The theme of VBS this year is “Amazing Wonders” and features amazing locations throughout the world like Mt. Vesuvius, the Northern Lights, etc. This is one of the rooms which is themed like a shipwreck. The entrance of the room is done like a ship and the back of the room is decorated like the ocean. A lot of time and effort goes into making VBS a special experience for the children that attend and it seems like they are really having a great time and learning a lot.
Ron said it was weird to be taking a picture in the restaurant, but the place we eat at, Ledo’s, has the cutest reindeer as part of their holiday display. I love them. Also, I really appreciate any business that dresses itself up for the holidays. Since being at the beach last weekend, I’ve noticed that all the businesses down there are super festive and have tons of lights and decorations, whereas here at home very few have anything up at all. It’s kind of depressing. Maybe they fear that they’ll turn off their non-Christian customers, but I think that’s crap. It’s Christmas. If I’m not trying to decorate you, why should you care if I decorate my business? I’m not offended by menorahs and dreidels. Ramadan doesn’t make me angry and I support Kwanzaa, so don’t knock on Christmas lights. Isn’t our country based on religious freedom? Let’s not lose sight of that. Merry Christmas!
Tonight, the children at church put on their Christmas play. I only caught the second half since I had an event to cover for work, but they did an awesome job. I remember not too long ago when I was up there in the Christmas program, playing the role of Mary year after year. It’s nice to see that with all of the new technology and crazy things kids get into now that some traditions never die.
I pass this sign everyday on the way to and from work. It’s pretty clever and I like the clever church signs. Because really, shouldn’t a church’s sign be more than just an advertisement for the church? It offers such an easy, low cost, no fuss way to provide a thought provoking message. Don’t you think that would bring more people to God (which should be a church’s ultimate goal) than just posting hours of operation?
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t vote. Who am I to make such a big decision? The thing I witnessed tonight, this meeting, this whole thing, makes me sad. For some, it makes them angry. For others, it makes them not want to listen. But for me, it just makes me sad. To boil it down for those not familiar with the situation, a meeting was brought up in front of the church to vote on a motion–whether or not one person should be allowed to be an exception to a rule. That rule involves an age limit, and this person would be allowed to exceed that for a period of roughly four months. This being a church meeting, I would have thought it would have gone differently–not the vote, but the actual meeting. I would have thought it wouldn’t have been personal, but rather a reflection of God. Sadly, I think God may have been forgotten as human nature took over. And, have you ever felt like something was happening that you’ve seen before? Something is happening and you’ve been there before? I’ve prayed about this and I could feel God tugging on me to say something, to explain something, but I didn’t get a chance. Emotions got heated and my opportunity was lost. So here is what I would have said if I had the chance. Take it for what it is.
I’ve grown up in this church, from birth on, and I’ve been through this before. As a child, you have promotion Sunday. Everyone congratulates you, you get a nice certificate and you move on to the next class. However, upon graduating high school, you have your last promotion ceremony, your last certificate. You’re expected to know where to go and to move on into the world, but it’s hard. I was probably the youngest 18-year-old of anyone. I didn’t drive, I wasn’t going immediately to college, but instead chose to take a semester off, and the world scared me. Youth is this amazing place where you build friendships and you feel comfortable to share your secrets. For me, adolescence was hard. Though I had grown up in the church, learning about the Bible, I wasn’t completely content in it. I was unconvinced by a God that to me, wasn’t there. Suffering from loss and insecurity, youth was my safe haven and upon graduation, I didn’t want to leave. Back then, the options consisted of going to a class with people old enough to be my parents or older, or stop coming. I chose the latter. Most of my friends were younger and remained in youth. Those that didn’t were away at college. A few months later, a young adult class was formed. After some coaching, I decided to give it a try. While that class didn’t last, a new one took over, followed by a new one, followed by none. Once again, I was expected to learn within an environment full of older people. Enter brief hiatus number two. Now, I’m not exactly sure what changed. Maybe I grew up, I don’t know, but my guess it was the people around me. I had some great mentors, ones that I felt truly cared. I would receive letters from the mother of a friend that encouraged me, letters that I will forever be grateful for. I also had two older men in the church that I looked up to, both of whom had been there when my family was reeling from the loss of my cousin due to cancer. Those people helped me, probably in ways that they’ll probably never know. And now, I’m in a new class, a class that I can say I’m grateful for. I hope others value it as much as I do and I hope those that are younger, that are about to be pushed out into the world, will welcome it with open arms. I hope they know the opportunity they have. I’m so grateful that I didn’t stay in my safe haven. I’m so grateful that I wasn’t an exception to a rule. If I had been, I might still be in that same place, a place filled with insecurity and sadness. A place no one should be in. But now, I’m afraid, that this new exception to the rule won’t get the chance I got. They won’t be forced to grow and learn about themselves. Because if you stay in one place too long, you become complacent, unwilling and un-trying to change. Sometimes, being uncomfortable is the only way to grow. And I hope you grow.
Two-hundred reports of tornadoes in three days. The annual monthly average for April is 163. Some may look at this, in addition to other recent natural disasters, as prophecy. Signs the world is ending. I don’t know about that. The Bible says there will be signs before Jesus’ return to Earth. But are these the signs it talks about or do people just want them to be? Are we so obsessed with this 2012 idea that the world will end that we take anything and make it fit the prophecy? I’m not sure. Things like this have been happening for hundreds of thousands of years. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. I don’t know what they mean or if they mean anything. All I know is when the Earth rebels against us, that’s scary. But, with all we do to it, do we cause these things to happen? Are we putting so many bad things out into the atmosphere that this is what we get in return? I have no idea. I’m not sure if it’s a Biblical prophecy, if we’re killing our planet or if it’s some other kind of prophecy. What I do know, is I’m praying for all those affected. Praying they’ll be able to cope with their loss, praying they’ll be able to rebuild their lives and praying they know things will get better and there’s someone out there that cares for them. Even if it looks different, even if you’ve lost hope, he’s still there. I can’t believe God allows bad things to happen to people. Instead, I believe he’s the one there with them through the bad, sheltering them from the storm. That’s what I think anyway.