Hope Lives

I've just started 'Hope Lives: A Journey of Restoration' (by Amber Van Schooneveld). I'm really looking forward to the five week journey I have just embarked upon.

But really, more then being excited about MY journey, I'm excited about the journey I'll be taking others on. Along with purchasing the book, I've purchased 'Hope Lives: Children's Ministry Kit'.

Take your children on a five-week journey - one that gives them God's perspective on poverty and equips them to respond with heartfelt compassion. Hope Lives empowers your children to understand and impact their world...to share home with the hopeless. Children experience five adventures straight from the Bible and then apply what they discover through prayer, service, and commitment.

This curriculum isn't about guilting children into helping those in need, rather giving them a Biblical look of what Jesus calls us to do as Christians to do. I think its easy for us to say 'Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress...' (James 1:27), but how easy is it for us to actually live this out? It's easy to sign a check to give yourself that 'warm, fuzzy feeling' knowing that you're helping someone, but is it really a sacrifice?

In Matthew 19:16-24, Jesus tells the rich young man to sell EVERYTHING and give it to the poor! Hello, he was rich! You want him to sell his iPhone, his new 2000 sq. foot home, his wife's Coach purse...
I have a long ways to go...
As I'm sure nearly all of us living in first world nations do.

I'm actually really looking forward to this journey. Not only for what I think it will do in me by changing my thinking, but also for what it will do in the children that I have the privilege to teach and lead.

Check out other 'Hope Lives' resources here: group.com/hopelives


in my world...

...it's all about the kids.

I've been really challenged over the past few months to re-examine how I act out what I confess with my mouth.

I think it's really easy as an adult to say that the next generation is going to do greater things then what this generation has done. And it's really easy to say that the next generation is the future. And it's really easy to say that the next generation has so much potential. It's really easy to say a lot of things, but unless I put actions to what I'm saying...what am I really saying?

What am I as an individual doing to give the next generation the resources to do greater things then my generation? What am I doing to make sure the next generation actually does something great in the future? What am I doing to invest into the next generation's potential?

I attend (and work at) a church where we say a lot of really great things about what God is doing to do in and through the children and youth...but at the end of the day I'm left asking myself, what are we doing to make this possible?

I've been challenged to make sure I'm doing all that I can to empower the next generation. I've been challenged to earnestly pray for the next generation...not just in my community, but worldwide. I've been challenged to invest, and invest, and invest, and invest in as many ways as I possibly can.

I really do believe in the next generation. And I really do want to see them do great things...

therefore I'm going to do something.

I'm just still trying to figure out the how and when...

And as long as our culture continues to change I believe that I'll be in the place of trying to figure out the how.


Lesson 3 from a week at camp

On the way to camp my mum and I talked about how the church has done a massive dis-service to a generation by leading them to believe that anything less then perfect is unChristian. We've left many issues taboo, such as depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, sex, same sex relationships, sexual/physical/emotional abuse, divorce...
the list could go on and on.
Probably the most unfortunate outcome is that we've raised a generation of judgmental people who have more issues then we'll ever be able to help them deal with.

While I was at camp the majority of the staff would have been younger then me. It was so encouraging for me to watch a generation do something that has been prophesied for years. Even more encouraging then that was watching and hearing individuals share the things in their lives that they struggle with.

During staff chapel on Monday night an individual who had grown up in a solid Christian home shared about how they had struggled with cutting as a way to relieve stress. That right there is what the church needs to be...
a place where people can come despite their circumstances and issues and just be vulnerable and real.

There's something different happening in churches today. People are sick of putting on the happy facade. We all desire genuine relationships in which we can be ourselves...our whole selves, the good, the bad and the ugly...

Maybe the time is coming when the church will be more the perfect cookie-cutter people...



something that has been achieved successfully : the reduction of inflation was a remarkable accomplishment.
the successful achievement of a task : the accomplishment of planned objectives
an activity that a person can do well, typically as a result of study or practice : long-distance was another of her accomplishments
skill or ability in an activity : a poet of considerable accomplishment

Today I accomplished a huge feat...the office that I share at work with a couple other people has become hugely cluttered over the course of the spring/summer. If you know my well you know that I don't cope well with clutter and chaos. Today was the day to clean stuff out, make room, get rid of what will never be used.

Looking at the neat bookshelf beside me I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment seeing everything organized and neat! Looking across my desk to the filing cabinet I feel as sense of accomplishment being able to see the top of it!

I feel as though I'm finally able breath with the chaos gone.

I have accomplished my task of the day!


Lesson 2 from a week at camp

We all know that just like snowflakes, no two people are alike. But there are some amazing similarities between people...
While I was at camp last week, I had an incline to head to the climbing wall. My mum and I arrived at the climbing wall before the group of campers that was about to brave this massive structure. At long last cabin 5 arrived. One of the girls seemed very familiar to me. She totally reminded me of a little boy from Lethbridge that I've had the privilege of spending some time with.

The climbing wall instructors began to go through the safety procedures and before I knew it this little was reminding me even more of the little boy back in Lethbridge. I quickly discovered that the little girl (like the little boy back in Lethbridge) had Asperger Syndrome. Although it was aware to my mum and I that this little girl had Asperger's, the climbing wall instructors were unaware of her condition and were having a difficult time communicating with her.

God taught me a lot about His faithfulness in that moment.

The only time that I was ever at the climbing wall was when cabin 5 was there...the only cabin with a child who had mild autism. That would have been a very frustrating activity for not only the instructors, and the little girl with Aspergers, but also for the other girls in cabin. What an honor to have been there in that moment to come alongside and provide some support.

Thank you God for that "incline," and the opportunity to spend some time with a family at home in Lethbridge that deals with autism daily.


Lesson 1 from a week at camp

I just spent at week at Camp Evergreen speaking to the grade 1-4 kids. It was quite the week and I felt completely in my element, however it was a bit of stretch for some staff who work most comfortably with junior & senior high kids.

One fabulous lesson I was taught at camp was all about community.

There was on cabin in particular which was "challenging" to say the least. My biggest fear for those two counselors was that they would look back on this week and be reminded of why they never wanted to work at camp again. But, the opposite took place...

On Saturday as I was preparing to leave camp I stopped to say good-bye to these two fine young gentlemen and said hopefully: "I hope this week hasn't turned you off of camp ministry."
They replied to me, "The opposite has happened."
They went on to explain that although the week with the boys was difficult at times, they were so encouraged to see those around them rise up and support them. The head counselor told me that at moments when he felt like he was at the end of his rope, someone would pull him aside to encourage him, or let him know that they were praying for him. When a child ran off, it seemed that there was always another staff member ready to chase after them. "If anything, I've learned more about God's faithfulness this week then any other week at camp."

This is how I believe community is to truly function. Our job is not to allow people to fail, rather to support them in such a way that they succeed when it seems everything is against them.

This is the church functioning how I believe God created us to function.