Category Archives: Guest Blogger

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.

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