Youth Group Overview

Their world is ugly & getting worse – I want them armed

  • Saved, so they can be ready to leave the planet without warning
  • Bonded, so they can create their own support network with or without official leaders
  • Grounded, so they know they have God to turn to when no one else is around
  • Informed, so they can dodge the traps being set for them
  • Confident, so they can minister to the people around them
  • Prepared, so they can give an answer, or at least have the tools to find the biblical answer

Hot Topics
Location: Church
Schedule: Wednesday Nights
Objective: answer questions & current issues presented by the kids, from bible & experience
Strategy: get their list, contact subject matter experts, develop & publish a schedule
Anticipated Topics:
Sex                  Suicide             Prejudice          Tarot/Ouija/Palmistry
Music               End Times        New Age         War
Drugs               Abortion           Islam                Alternate Religions

Monthly Friday Night Movies
Location: Café or Home
Schedule: 6-9/10, once a month
Objective: provoke thoughtful discussions & biblical perspectives on current topics

Candidates:
Livin’ It – live testimonies from leaders in radical sports (skateboard / bmx)
Left Behind I & II – tribulation
Hiding Place – Corrie Ten Boom & WWII
Gattaca – what if everyone was made perfect? (genetic engineering)
Harrison Bergeron (?) – what if everyone was made equal?  (enforced equality)
Selected Twilight Zone episodes:
–         the obsolete librarian
–         number 12 looks like you

“Why Not” Party

Location: Church, Café, or Home
Objective: object lessons in self control
Candidates:
Gambling: slot dice & m&m’s  (they’ll run out of m&m’s)
Addictions: bowls of chocolate & chips…  view…smell…taste one…ok, one more…
Dating: Paper hearts – tearing pieces off
Masking tape – what it can bond to after bonding to people, pictures, things…
Fine chocolate – passed around & smashed vs fresh – which would you rather be/give?

Timmy

Timmy was a bright little boy, with a whole world of dreams waiting just ahead of him – adventures around every turn, wonderful places to explore, and explore them he would – as soon as his chores were done.

He was good with his hands – oh, the things he could create from a few sticks, some leaves, and a dab of mud (sometimes, a bit of chewing gum worked better)…  ‘Look!’ he’d say, with all the enthusiasm of an unhindered child – ‘Look at what I’ve built!’  “That’s nice dear, now go wash up for dinner” were the words he heard in response.  Over and again he’d pour his heart into some work, whether it was his chores, or being helpful, or creating a masterpiece…  ‘Look’, he’d say…  “That’s nice dear, no go wash up, it’s time for bed”…  “whaddya want”, his brother would taunt, “a medal?”… or from his father, “who left this mess in here?!”.

One day, Timmy finally stopped saying ‘Look’, at least out loud.  He’d gotten up extra early, made sure the animals were fed, the cows milked, even gathered the eggs (which was his sister’s job).  He brushed his teeth & combed his hair before breakfast, even washed behind his ears…  and as he started into the kitchen where the biscuits were about to come out of the oven, his mother said “go wash up for breakfast”.  ‘I did wash’, he wanted to say, but Timmy knew better than to even sound like he was talking back…  so back down the hall he went, to go through the motions of washing again.  No one mentioned the basket of fresh eggs, the pail of milk, or that the animals weren’t making their usual “feed me” noises out in the stalls – no one noticed at all.

That day, after breakfast, Timmy made up his mind – ‘Fine’ he said to himself, ‘I don’t need you – I don’t need any of you!’  He squared up his little shoulders, marched himself out the door, and as soon as he was far enough to be certain that no one could hear him, he sat down on a stump, buried his face in his hands, and sobbed like his heart would break.  And break it did, for this was the blow that split wide all the little cracks that formed every time he’d said ‘Look’.

Timmy grew up, as most boys do, went to school & made some friends – but he never let anyone get close enough to hurt him again.  Oh, he reached out alright, he had his pals he played ball with, and even picked wild flowers for a few of the girls, but he kept everyone at arm’s length.  There were some teachers who took an interest in his creations, one spent time after school teaching Tim how to carve, even gave him his first pocketknife.  Tim enjoyed the attention and admiration he got, but it didn’t satisfy the need he had for his family to be proud of him.  As the years rolled on, Tim continued on a fierce cycle of doing, building, creating – all the time basking in the ooh’s and aahh’s of the people around him – all the time wishing…but…in his mind, he always heard, “that’s nice dear, now go wash up” – he did all he could do, but it was never enough.

As it happens with young men, Tim found a wife and they had some children.  Annie was completely in love with her husband – there was no one more handsome, more skilled, or more desirable in any way than the man God had given her.  The children looked up to their dad in awe – there was nothing he couldn’t do, and no other dad in the world could hold a candle to him.  Tim & Annie worked together to build a home, and for a while, it seemed life couldn’t be more perfect.

But it didn’t take long before the old ghosts came back to haunt.  Each time Tim finished another project, Annie’s admiration and thanks would be drowned in the echoes of “That’s nice dear”….  Tim’s fear and the angry promise of a wounded child had forced him to keep even his beloved Annie at arm’s length – surely she couldn’t actually find his work satisfactory, she couldn’t actually love him for the man he was, for he never revealed to anyone who he really was.  He needed the admiration of others – only by their chorus of ooh’s and aah’s could the ghost echoes be overcome.  And so the cycle began again – work for praise, work for praise… as though no one could love Tim for himself, for that’s what he’d become convinced of.

The chorus rose… among the fervent work and the lines of people who wanted a piece of Tim’s craftsmanship for themselves, Annie’s voice became lost.  The more she struggled to be heard above the roar of the crowd, the more it seemed to Tim that she was shouting “Do more, dear, Do More”.  Tim grew weary with all the tumult around him and within his head – ‘they all want more, they’re never satisfied, I can’t do enough…’ he said.  So, exhausted, discouraged, he retreated far within the wall he’d built around his heart so many years before, and once again, little Timmy sat alone, and cried.

How can one reach out to this boy?  What words, what actions, will reach through the wall and convince him he is loved?  What will it take before he trusts enough to share his heart, and know that it will be accepted and cherished?  How can one reach him?

If I could, I would take him in my arms and hold him until our tears washed all the harsh memories away – but his arms are longer than mine, so he keeps me at a distance – what can I do?  What can I do?

Your Side

Oscar Waller, 2/28/1997 – written en route to his viewing after a completely unexpected departure

I’ve been gazing at the sunset Someone painted just for me
and I wonder – What does it look like from your side?

As you visit with your family walking by the crystal sea –
What does it look like from your side?

You don’t have to look through fog or tears…
Your brand new body doesn’t feel it’s years…
Your brand new heart will have no more fears…
It must be so beautiful from your side.

You’ve stepped from the world of sunsets to the land of eternal sunrise…
Where our Friend and Savior, with His own hand, will wipe all tears from our eyes…
Where all things are new, and no one ever dies…
Welcome to the joy and splendor of your side.

Grandpa

Charles Jarrell, 5/12/1990 – written the day after he passed, at home, following heart surgery & complications

He was sitting in his easy chair
a favorite place to be
while the angels stood nearby
watching quietly

They waited in the corner
’til he was all alone
then carefully they took his hands
and led him gently home

Now he’s walking with his Lord
beside the crystal sea
where the Son of God shines bright as day
throughout eternity

The lives he touched are un-numbered
like grains of sand along the shore
and among the many who love him
he lives on forever more

Go Peacefully

Alonzo (Bo) Waller, 7/7/1987 – written the night before he passed, after a very rough struggle with cancer and it’s intense pains

Go peacefully, among angel’s wings
while here below the small birds sing
Leave all your burdens of life behind
as you take your final Heavenward climb

Close your eyes in eternal rest
amid the gentle quietness
As flowers bloom and small birds sing
Go peacefully, among angel’s wings

oddly shaped bits of color arranged to form a picture… LIFE: oddly shaped bits of experience arranged to form a character.