TWO ANSWERS THAT TRANSFORM

EASTER THOUGHTS ON JOHN 10 AND GALATIANS 2 & 3

By Bruce McMordie, former Member of the C.E. Board of Directors

Who killed Jesus of Nazareth? Who died with Him on Good Friday? Correctly answering these questions will transform Easter and your life.

Think for a moment about Jesus’ death. Roman soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross where He died. Pilate unleashed those soldiers on Jesus. The crowd cried “Crucify Him!” This prompted Pilate’s action. Pharisees and Sadducees incited that crowd. Judas betrayed Jesus into the custody of those conspiring leaders. My sins and your sins inspired God the Father’s just wrath that filled the “bitter cup” Jesus embraced when he yielded to Judas and his mob. So, who killed Jesus?

Everyone is complicit in the death of Jesus, but the correct answer is no one killed Jesus! “No one takes [my life] from me,” Jesus says. “I lay it down of my own accord.” Jesus is Life incarnate. No one can deliver a fatal blow to Life!

God the Son gave up heaven to be Jesus of Nazareth. He became a man like us, finite and limited by time and place. On Good Friday, Jesus gave up the last remaining essence of His heavenly nature. Having suffered every last bit of God’s wrath for our sins, Jesus said, “It is finished,” bowed his head and gave up his spirit. He laid down His life.

Now, consider who died with Jesus. Two thieves died with Jesus that day. More importantly, the power of the Law died with them. From Sinai to Calvary the Law rightly judged every man, woman and child guilty of sin and condemned them to death. Then on Good Friday, the Law cursed an innocent man. Leviticus declares, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” In the moment the Law cursed Jesus of Nazareth, its power was broken. Christ redeemed all who believe in Him from the curse of the law and gave us the Holy Spirit! The power of the Law died that day.

I also died that day, so did you, if you’re a Christian. Put yourself in this passage. “I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Every believer died with Christ that day.

Jesus took His life back again at His resurrection and all of His people came to new life with Him! “We were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4).

All this happened because Jesus laid down His life. No one took His life. All who trust Him died that day as well. The Law’s power over us died too. And all who died with Him have been raised with Him! Walk in the glory of your new life in Him! Happy Easter!

4 Easy Ways YOU Can Help to Make C.E. Better

by guest blogger Colleen Ossman

Hi everyone! Our golf outing is coming up soon. Now, don’t click off and stop reading just because you don’t golf. Ha, caught you, didn’t I? Last year we had a record (for us) 87 golfers at our 6th annual tournament. SEVEN of those people golfed all six years, and FIVE golfers were there five of the six years. Our goal for this year is 100 golfers, but Honeybrook Golf Club will allow up to 144. So, how can YOU help to make C.E. better?

1. Would you be willing to print this half page flyer to put in your church bulletin, hang on your church bulletin board, or the community bulletin board of your local post office or gym or YMCA to help us find more golfers? We host some fun competitions and hole-in-one prizes, including a shot at $10,000 on the 10th hole. And the dinner after golfing is always superb!

2. Do you own a business? Or know someone who does and might like to try a different way of promoting their company to a new audience? We have six levels of business sponsor options. Their financial support will help us provide quality work camps for teens & their youth groups, as well as encouraging churches to unleash teens for leadership. The business partner will also receive promotion with the hole sign, name on our website, in emails & social media, as well as the program each golfer receives.

3. Are there any creative ideas out there for prizes and door prizes for the golfers? Can you donate a movie themed gift basket? Gift cards from chain restaurants would also be great (our golfers travel from Lansdale and Philadelphia to the east, to Lebanon and Chambersburg to the west). Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Penn State items are popular with many of our golfers.

4. Do you have connections with businesses who could donate snacks or coupons, or even their company brochures for goody bags? As noted above, our goal is 100 golfers this year, so please supply at least that many items. We give goody bags to our event volunteers and staff too. If we end up with any extras, we give them to our summer staff and volunteer site directors at C.E. Mission Weeks.

All the info you need to help make C.E. better through this event is found at bit.ly/Golf4CE or you can contact us at golf [at] ceworks.faith with any questions. Our deadline for golfer registrations and donations is April 18.

Thank you for helping C.E. provide a great tournament, but also for helping us to Inspire, Equip and Encourage churches to Biblically develop youth as Christ-centered leaders.

Solo No More

by Susan Markloff, Mission Weeks Assistant Director for Christian Endeavor U.S.A.

Every year at Mission Weeks, we strive to choose a theme that is relevant to youth, and can be an easy reminder for both campers and staff of what the Lord will teach us during our time at camp. My dad, Paul Markloff, is the one who has had the great insight into our themes the last two years. He likes to talk about how he came up with Solo No More, because it was in a place where Jesus can sometimes be absent from our minds.

In August of 2018, we as a family found ourselves in San Diego, California for World Christian Endeavor’s convention. By the end of it all, we decided to head north and join my brother and his family in Disneyland for a day to unwind from the marathon to California. While walking around Tomorrowland, there were posters and banners advertising the new Han Solo movie, the word “Solo” plastered everywhere.

As we traversed the crowds, my dad honed in on the word “solo” and began to think about how contrary that is for a Christian. We aren’t solo. We’re anything but solo. When we become believers in Jesus and saved by Grace, we instantly are brought into the family of God, adopted and rescued. For the rest of our lives, we have a defender, helper, healer, Almighty God at our side through all of life’s trials and tribulations. My dad turned to me and said, “Hey, what do you think of ‘Solo No More’ for our camp theme next year?”

We chose Romans 8:38-39 as our theme verses; “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Take a look at what’s referenced there in the “Things that can’t take us away from Jesus” category. It’s a stream of consciousness kind of list, where the Paul starts listing things only to go, “Y’know what, it’s pretty much everything in all of creation. None of it can take you away from God’s love. Not even death.” Mic drop.

This is such a comfort! Do you know how often I mess up and cave to sin? Daily! Whether it’s my actions, my words, or my thoughts, it’s a good day if I’ve only sinned once. And none of the days behind me or before me (that will undoubtedly be littered with my failures in life), none of those could make God not love me because of my faith in Jesus. Does that mean I’m going to skate through life because God “has” to forgive me?

Not a million years.

I refuse to let Satan get the better of me and just sit there and wallow in my sin. As though my sin were a muddy puddle, I won’t continue to let the mud and grime soak into my clothing and skin when I fall down. Instead I will quickly get back to my feet and run to my Father for help. And I know that He will receive me with open arms and swat Satan away like the bug that he is.

We all have this blessed assurance, and I cannot wait to explore the theme of Solo No More at Mission Weeks this year.

Three Things Christians Can Learn From Muslims: A Trip to Pakistan and Back

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

I recently returned from Pakistan. There has been great discord between Christians and Muslims because of our differences and our history with each other. I thought my readers would enjoy a positive spin on the relationship so below you will read three insights Christians can gain from Muslims before I offer one parting word.

Insight #1: Generosity

I had numerous encounters with Muslims during my stay in Pakistan. Since this is the country’s dominant religion and the country’s name is “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” you should not find this surprising. Uber drivers, hotel workers, vendors and people serving at tourist attractions tended to be Muslim people. When introduced to these people I was unsure how they would respond to a tall, white, bald foreigner. First I met a family that owns several manufacturing plants including denim clothing, rice mills, bottled water and confectioneries. Following my tour I was given numerous pairs of jeans, boxes of candy, water and many smiling selfie pictures. When I inquired with my host his comment was, “In my experience the Muslims out-give the Christians.” Another day I met a Pediatrician from a local hospital. He learned about medical missions being run by a local Christian pastor. After going through a screening process he began volunteering his time a few times a year to do eighteen hour days, seeing one hundred children patients, and writing numerous prescriptions. This young Muslim doctor was willing to do this alongside Christians because people needed help. A generous spirit runs through the hearts of many Muslim people.

Insight #2: Devotion

The news media has taught us that Muslims are all fanatics lurking at our doors waiting to bomb our public places and fire machine guns into the air. My experience in Pakistan was that Muslim people are very kind and devoted people. Please understand, I believe their devotion is misplaced. They pray five times a day and carry out other behaviors because they believe they need to keep the vengeance of Allah at bay. However, it was encouraging to converse with a taxi driver who gave all the praise to his god for providing his taxi. He also discussed how after he dropped me off that he would be pulling into a parking spot so he could do his afternoon prayers. I silently prayed for this man because I realized that a proper understanding of God could make this devoted person a great asset for Christ and the Church. It is imperative that we look at Muslim people as people. Yes, there are fanatical Muslims just as their are fanatical Christians, but the people I met were kind and devoted to the god that they know.

Insight #3: Innovation

Many people believe that anyone living in a country ending in the letters “stan” must wear a turban, veil, ride a camel, and daily avoid dust storms while giving the middle name Ishtar or Muhammad to all of their children. This is so far from the truth! While I was in Pakistan I walked through three story malls with hundreds of brands. I sat in a food court with most of the fast food chains from the USA. I went through a store that would have rivaled any of the Walmart, Target, or Costco superstores in my home country. Along with this there are trampoline places, mini-golf courses, large cineplexes, amusement parks and more. I walked through a seven story electronics mall with 900 computer stores. Yes, contrary to your thinking, these people communicate with smart phones and not just carrier pigeons and falcons! Our media has caused us to have a false impression of the innovation of places like Pakistan. I am interested to see where this innovation takes them in the next ten years.

Final Thoughts

Now, before I receive countless emails and “unfriend” requests, let me part with this statement. Muslim people do not know the way to God. They believe by doing enough good things that their god, Allah, will be appeased. We worship different gods, but our approach should follow 1 Peter 3:15 where we are always prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have in Jesus Christ and we will share this with gentleness and respect. Pray for Muslims to have visions of Jesus in their dreams. I have one friend that came to Christ in this way from a Muslim background. May God grow us in our ability to love all people as God’s creatures and then lovingly direct them toward Him with our attitudes, words and actions.

Travel to the Land of Many gods: What a Christian Learned in Kathmandu Part 2: Three Insights

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

*If you didn’t get a chance to see last week’s blog, check that out first for a better understanding of this blog.

While in Kathmandu, Nepal, I observed individuals practicing their spiritual rituals in hopes that doing just enough of the right things in the right way, they could appease their god.  Looking back, here are three insights from that experience.

Insight #1

I have been thankful for God’s grace displayed through the death of His Son and co- equal Jesus Christ since I was a boy. I have grown in my understanding of what it meant for Jesus to come, die, rise again, and prepare to come again, but the fact that grace is integral to Christ cannot be avoided. Ephesians 2 says we are saved by grace through faith, not by all the stuff that we do! No amount of chanting, spinning, painting or jumping is going to bring me closer to perfection. Thank you God for your grace through Jesus Christ that saves those who call upon your name!

Insight #2

I do not have to “Do” in order to meet God, but it is wrong to think that once I know Christ that I am supposed to do nothing! My love for Christ compels me to act. I do not need to scrub lime on an ungodly altar, but I do need to live my life in a way that the world can see me and fully recognize that there is something different about me.

Insight #3

Finally, I came to a much clearer understanding of Acts 19. In this chapter we read about Paul’s work building the church and God’s Kingdom. Miracles occurred and people began coming to know Jesus. Demetrius, a Silversmith, recognized the economic impact Paul’s ministry was beginning to have on their business. People traveled great distances to worship at Artemis’ temple on of the Wonders of the World. Silversmiths made a great profit by fashioning idols and artifacts required for this pagan worship. Suddenly, Paul’s work was bringing the worship of Artemis into question which also threatened their livelihood. Walking around the Boudha Stupa, I was able to picture Acts 19. What would happen to Nepal and specifically Kathmandu if Buddhism was exposed as a truly empty religion? Poor vendors would go out of business. Revenue from tourism would dry up. A country with little income would face an even more impoverishing situation.

Good news! After a week in Nepal and many great conversations in the morning with my waiter, I learned he was a Christian converted by travelers a few weeks before. I was able to guide him in how to read the Bible and connect him with a contact who began taking him to church.

In the Land of many gods- there is still only one God whose grace guides us, gives us life, gives us hope, and surprises us when we least expect. God, YOU, are the one and only true God!

Travel to the Land of Many gods: What a Christian Learned in Kathmandu Part 1: Observations

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

Stories. I thought they were just stories. Tales have been told in books, movies and legends of men and women reaching mid-life crisis only to part with worldly possessions in order to journey to Kathmandu, Nepal or neighboring Tibet, China. The goal is “finding oneself” or discovering some inner peace that had remained unapproachable or at best impossible to attain in the western rat race.

I rose early and ate breakfast. I had an outstanding conversation with an especially joyful waiter at the hotel restaurant before heading into a temple touring day. Each temple had just a few westerners that matched every stereotype my brain had been trained to picture. The majority of the people, however, were sojourners from countries where the Hindu or Buddhist religions are strong. My experience at the Boudha Stupa was especially telling. The Boudha Stupa is a World Heritage site and is the destination point for Buddhists wanting to trek to their most sacred site in the world. I paid my fare (which was significantly elevated for foreigners) and walked toward the large round white structure with eyes painted on top.

I observed a huge festival in process. People were going around Stupa in a clockwise fashion which was apparently important to know. Hands were reaching out to touch and turn numerous prayer wheels that were inset into the temple walls. At a key point I found an entrance into an inner temple ring. I walked through the entrance and saw where lime could be purchased to rub on the temple’s inner ring wall. Just beyond the lime shop I came upon the place where I could pay to write my prayers on colored flags that would be pulled on a string close to the eyes of the Stupa. Large vats with incense were waiting to be purchased so these pungent leaves could be burned in temple fire places for a small fee. I began to walk the inner ring, whispering the name “Jesus” toward any person who walked by.

Reaching the Temple front I looked down upon a special section set apart for people to do spiritual exercises. When I say “exercises” I mean it! Yes, a few could be seen with criss crossed legs and a meditative pose. The ones who surprised me were the ones who were doing what I could best describe as a spiritual burpee (burpees are physical exercises used for intense training). People were going up and down, up and down, up and down.

Physical posture, breathing incense, spreading lime, prayer pennants, spinning prayer wheels with incantations along with groans and moans by monks in orange robes made for quite an experience. Religion- the hope that doing just enough of the right things in the right way while making a god appeased, approachable or even, attainable in a microscopic way. People go through all these steps and celebrate with exuberance when they claim a minuscule amount of calm.

How is the way of Jesus more fulfilling? Be on the lookout next week for part 2 of this blog, which will explore three insights from my observations in Nepal.

CE Partner Update – Nepal and Pakistan Trip 2019

by Dr. Dave Coryell, General Secretary World-CE and Executive Director CE-USA

On January 28th, I left for a sixteen day trip to Nepal and Pakistan. This was my first trip to both of these Asian countries. I thank the Lord for this experience!

Nepal– A mountainous country with an estimated thirty million people, Nepal has world fame for its temples. People from Hindu and Buddhist religions make pilgrimages to these temples while others look to trek the mighty Himalayas. While the Nepalese government says less than one percent claim to be Christian, rough estimates within the country put the number closer to ten percent or three million people. Proselytizing is illegal under the current government. Six months from now changes could occur which will open the doors for the gospel to spread and Christian Endeavor to make significant advances. Please pray for God’s hand to direct the governmental affairs in Nepal!

After a day for my body to adjust to new time zones, we toured the greater Kathmandu area. Seeing some of the world famous temples left me even more grieved for the souls of those who trek to these places. They try to do the correct incantations, burn the proper incense, write their prayers on flags, spin every prayer wheel, scrub lime on the walls, and do the exact spiritual positions for the recommended amount of time . . . all in hopes of capturing a little peace. I am so thankful for God’s grace through Christ and that our lives can be free from doing the right “works” in order to have hope.

Churches meet on Saturday in Nepal. We enjoyed a two hour worship time where I shared the morning message. After a short snack we gathered for a two hour worship time with the Christian Endeavor group where I was also the featured speaker. The next morning we began a two day Leadership Academy. The event was attended by close to sixty people representing fifty pastors and youth workers from the 52 churches connected with Christian Endeavor in Nepal. There are great plans for additional churches to be planted in the next ten years. This step would further open the doors for the spread of the Kingdom and the use of Christian Endeavor across Nepal. Two strong translators were identified to assist with taking core C.E. materials and preparing them in the Nepali language. One person was also identified to join the C.E. Under Thirty Advisory Collective (a group of people under thirty from countries around the world that advises the WCE board and executive council.)

Pakistan– Nearly two hundred million Pakistanis live to the Northwest of India. I learned how Pakistan and Bangladesh had once been part of a British colony that was connected to India. Today there are many encouraging economic signs. Large malls with brands from around the world are located around Lahore. Because so many clothing items are manufactured within the country, the cost of these items is considerably lower (often times only 20-30%) than the prices I am used to seeing in the USA. The government broadcasts that Christianity represents a fraction of the population but it is believed that a more accurate number would be five percent.

Our first three days were invested helping me understand Pakistan during the day before participating in worship celebrations and conventions in the evening. People were incredibly generous and incredibly kind no matter where I traveled. I had the opportunity to tour a denim factory that develops 2.4 million clothing units annually. They showed me every step in the manufacturing process before giving me some complimentary jeans. I later learned that the owners were all Muslim people. A few days later I met a Pediatrician that has done several eighteen hour medical mission days with my host, Pastor Ashknaz Silas. During these days over one hundred patients are examined and given prescription medications. This doctor is a Muslim man doing humanitarian aid work with Christian leaders because of the great need.

The next two days were the C.E. Leadership Academy. I was thrilled that fifty church pastors were registered for the event. A total of over eighty people attended the equipping sessions with many people being youth or young adult age. Pastors do not receive any salary in Pakistan. All of them maintain other jobs as well as having families. The Academy, especially Day two, had an enthusiastic audience with hunger to learn and grow. I received word that a Saturday night C.E. worship experience will be launched in the next few weeks. It will be a collaborative church effort where numerous churches send their young people and potential adult coaches to one site. Along with this, there is already interest in some additional cities to take C.E. to these locations. Pray for the leadership in Pakistan as it begins to form a board and executive team. The group hopes to apply for National Union status later in 2019.

A huge thank you to my hosts Dr. Mahendra Battarai and Pastor Ashknaz Silas for all your efforts in hosting me and coordinating the ministry opportunities while I was with you in Nepal and Pakistan respectively. Amen!!

This Thing is GLOBAL!

by Joshua Good

This Thing is GLOBAL!

As I walked into the game room, the pungent odor of sweat and the roar of enthusiastic conversation hit my nose, ears & eyes. All the classic signs of a youth group retreat. Yep, I was in the right place! A short while later, those same 50+ students piled into the dining hall, and after prayer they eagerly began tucking into their dinner. It was such a joy to see the “Winter WOW” retreat in action. It included students & leaders from four different PA churches and they were obviously having a fantastic time!

But how would they respond to me, the big, bald, bearded stranger? And more importantly, what would they think of the things I was going to share with them as they ate? It can be an intimidating prospect to interrupt teenagers while they’re eating!

But I went for it with gusto and began sharing with them that, even though I didn’t know them personally, I believed that God had placed incredible spiritual potential inside each and every one of them. And because of that, one of the most important things they could do during their youth group years was to tap into those gifts, talents & abilities – allowing them to be unleashed! In doing that, God would do incredible Kingdom work through them, they would develop a deep and lasting faith, and God would be glorified in the process.

Then I got practical, sharing two ways that C.E. partners with churches to unlock that God-given potential in students.

MISSION WEEKS

Three students who attended Mission Weeks in the past got up & shared their thoughts. They spoke not only to the fun of doing construction projects & being with their youth groups, but especially about the heart change that God was able to do in them as they served. Mission Weeks are structured to encourage student engagement, and that has paid huge dividends in the lives of these three!

PRAYER WEEK

Then I held up one of the jankiest posters I’ve ever made…a mess of taped-together printouts on a poorly cut cardboard backdrop. (A number of the teen girls offered afterwards to help me with my poster-designing for next year…an offer which I will absolutely take them up onl!) After we had a good laugh at the poster, I explained what it meant. At the top it said “Awe & Wonder” in English. Then it had that same “Awe & Wonder” logo in nine other languages. This is where I had the chance to blow their minds.

The “Awe & Wonder” worship service that a number of those students were planning & going to lead was actually part of a global celebration! Little did they know that they were joining other young people from multiple nations around the world in focusing on the awe & wonder of God that very weekend. This was the kick-off of C.E.’s global Prayer Week; a time to focus even more deeply on seeking God and praying for His Kingdom to be built GLOBALLY.

The Spirit of God is actively moving. His presence was evident in the way those students responded to the things I shared, in the passion of the 11th grader who led worship during the evening session that followed, and in the freedom of the prayers students offered at the close of that session.

The Kingdom of God is being built globally. Giving students a tangible way see and participate in that is one of the most exciting aspects of the Christian Endeavor movement!

Interested in participating in C.E. Prayer Week? Check out the Prayer Devotional Guide here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/k9xmj31964auly5/DEVOTIONAL%20GUIDE.pdf?dl=0

 

3 Steps to Make Change Stick in 2019

by Dave Coryell

Surviving Quitter’s Week: 3 ways to make resolutions stick (even if they are already broken)

Debate exists regarding how long the average person carries out a New Year’s resolution. Most reports seem to have about 80% giving up on their aspirations by January 12th (World Quitter’s Day) with additional reports saying that goals related to fitness are normally dropped by January 17th. According to USA Today Psychologist Professor John Norcross from Scranton University says that 40% are successful at the six month mark with fitness goals. So some people are successful at keeping those resolutions!

It is good to know that new standards can be set and maintained. However, the world’s masses seem to have a difficult time making adjustments lasting more than a few weeks.

Several years ago I stumbled across the book “Change or Die” by Alan Deutschman. The book presents three steps that helped classic no-change stereotypes from prison inmates to unionized workers. These steps can be helpful for us as we try to establish new faith growth patterns or even goals for mental, physical, emotional or relational living.

Step 1- Relate. In order to have a new way of living, new relationships are necessary. First and foremost, a relationship with Jesus Christ begins life transformation in a person. Along with this begins the process of seeing Christ lived out through other people. If you are reading this and do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ, please reach out to us and we can guide you through understanding what this means. Others, if you want to grow in an area of weakness, establish a relationship with someone who is either stronger in this area than you or can lovingly hold you accountable. For instance, at one point I wanted to exercise more regularly. I tried accomplishing this on my own and made little progress. Then I talked with a friend, Tom, and we decided to exercise together. This started a deeper friendship while also helping us both keep a regular exercise schedule. Start a relationship that can help you change. Key word: RELATE!

Step 2- Repeat. Find the changes you want to make and repeat them over and over again. You want to discipline yourself to floss, do it every day! Trying to set a new time to roll out of bed, set your time and follow through no matter how challenging. Want to read your Bible every day, talk with that accountability person from Step 1 (Relate), set a time, choose a plan, then do it every day. Repeat the practice and follow through. Here is the challenge. You may have heard it takes 21 days to make a habit. 21 days beyond that will make it an unbreakable habit. Unfortunately, reputable research does not back up this myth. As you know, God has wired people differently. According to Oliver Burkeman, writer for The Guardian, the University College London psychologist, Phillippa Lally, studied habit forming. “On average, her subjects, who were trying to learn new habits such as eating fruit daily or going jogging, took a depressing 66 days before reporting that the behavior had become unchangingly automatic. Individuals ranged widely – some took 18 days, others 245 – and some habits, unsurprisingly, were harder than others to make stick.” Bottom line, forming habits takes discipline and a commitment to repeat a practice over and over. Fortunately, also from Lally’s study, you can miss an occasional day along the way and still stay on track. Key word: REPEAT!

Step 3- Reframe. The first two steps you probably can grasp pretty easily. Have relationships that will support, encourage and at times admonish your desire to repeat a new life practice. Say for instance a furniture maker builds a wooden chair and then puts a beautiful stain on it. The chair is then placed outside. The chair itself represents change relationships. The stain represents the repeated steps taken daily. Unfortunately, this chair will break down from the elements- sun, rain, cold, heat. Before long the chair will crack and splinter. Step three is Reframe. Reframing with this analogy is like painting a protective coat over the top of the chair’s stained surface. Reframing takes a new look at how one lives. For instance, I can stop eating potato chips because I do not want to gain weight. This may last for a while until I eat some chips, then eat them the next day, and then begin having them all the time. Reframing the situation asks why I’m not eating potato chips and goes deeper than weight loss. I begin to reframe my choices based on healthy living instead of simply trying to lose a few pounds. Suddenly I begin to consider what I am gaining through my choices instead of lamenting what I have lost. My choice equals health GAINED verses potato chips LOST. Key Word: REFRAME.

Relate, Repeat, Reframe- wisdom for us as we try to change. May God grip your heart and help you make changes that will honor Him with your life in 2019!

Investing in Youth for a Better Future

By Charlotte “Spider” (Keenon) Fish

My name is Spider Fish and I run a gap year program at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado for youth that are between the ages of 18 and 24. People frequently ask me, “Why do you do what you do?”

I cannot answer this question without giving credit to the fact that back when I was just a young, punk of a kid, people stepped into my life to support, encourage, and invest in me.

They opened their homes to me, shared a meal around a table, came to my soccer games, took me with them on errands, gave me responsibilities, asked me hard questions, held me accountable, inspired me to dream bigger, introduced me to Jesus, showed up, and were present in the moment.

They shared life with me and taught me that life is not always perfect. In fact, life can be ugly and messy and sometimes hurts, but they showed me that, in those difficult moments, I didn’t have to go it alone.

They believed in and saw something of value in me, and that made the difference for this misfit that was trying to find my place in the world. And now, because of the blessing those adults were to me, I can be a blessing to the youth that God brings into my life.

With all that we are seeing in the media these days, I am inclined to believe that perhaps now, more than any other time, adults need to be pouring into the lives of youth by coming alongside them, asking those hard questions, holding them accountable, and loving them where they are in the moment.

Even though I grew up in Texas, many of the adults that poured into and encouraged me were people I met through Christian Endeavor in Pennsylvania. I spent 14 summers traveling to PA to attend Summer Assembly and many of these adults invited me into their homes before or after the conference. I have no doubt they had their own busy lives to live, yet they still made time for me.

Words are not enough to express my gratitude to: Jeff and Geralyn Peiffer, Bob and Barb Wurgley, Dave and Janet Wenker, Charlie and Esther Popjoy, Greg and Jan Trievel, Bruce and Cheryl McMordie, and so many others.

My question to you would be: Why do you do what you do? Are you living a life of purpose that has a lasting impact? If not, what are you waiting for?!!!