"Jesus Christ the Savior, Emmanuel--God with us--is born today as a tender babe upon whom the Angels gaze with awe (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). The true light that enlightens every man coming into the world (John 1:29) has shone in the darkness of a poor stable, and the time of death and corruption is nearing its end. Solomon no longer has cause to exclaim that there is nothing new under the sun (Eccles. 1:9), for this small child is the second Adam, who has brought a new creation, a new man, into being (Eph. 2:15; 4:24). Henceforth by following Christ, by obeying His commandments and by suffering with Him, in order to arise through Him, mankind is called to find immortality."
"We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Nationalism, Pragmatism and Sentimentalism are blinding the church to the reality that Jesus Christ came to bring a new way that would someday make the world unbroken, where God gets God's way on Earth as in Heaven.
John the Baptist testifies to this, "Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth." Luke 3:5
The Virgin Mary proclaims this, "He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty." Luke 1:51-53
"The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come." Dietrich Bonhoeffer, from his Christmas Sermons
Several months ago I was in Amsterdam and visited the home of Anne Frank, powerful and humbling. This summer Vicki and I listened to her diary on Audible.com, read by Selma Blair. Beautiful and troubling - an epic testimony from a teenage girl in the midst of the demonic environment of Nazism. Sobering, and yet, so filled with beauty and hope. I love this quote.
“I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
REGISTER NOW for the rest of our Youth Worker Training Events for the 2016-17 season!
We are excited about the lineup of presenters scheduled, from nationally known presenters like Andy Root and Steven Argue to local leaders like Tina Harris. This season you'll find a range of topics that will inspire, challenge, and equip you for ministry with youth and young adults.
Thursday, DECEMBER 1: More Than 'Getting Together': Youth Ministry and Race, by Rev. Tina Harris and Dr. Brandon Winstead. Location: Nazarene Theological Seminary
Thursday, JANUARY 26: Emerging Adults, Spirituality, and the Church, by Dr. Steven Argue. Location: Colonial Presbyterian Church
Thursday, MARCH 30: Saying is Believing: The Power of Testimony and Storytelling, by Dr. Amanda Drury. Location: TBA
The all-time leaders in postseason ERA, with a minimum of 30 innings pitched, are Mariano Rivera (0.70), Harry Brecheen (0.83), Jeremy Affeldt (0.86) and Babe Ruth (0.87).Within those scoreless appearances, Affeldt was near pristine when it came to escaping trouble caused by others. He stranded nine of 10 baserunners he inherited. Affeldt faced 111 batters in his postseason career and allowed only one extra-base hit. Opponents slugged .168 against him, the lowest against any pitcher who faced at least 100 batters. (ESPN)
I was super conflicted when Jeremy came in to face my Kansas City Royals in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series. It turned out to be his best postseason appearance and his last one. He pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings against his former team. It was the longest outing of his postseason career. I was so happy for Jeremy and Larisa because of the painful experiences they had with Kansas City (before Dayton Moore). He ended up as the winner of Game 7, every pitchers dream. Fortunately, we won the World Series last year and Vicki and I were invited by the San Francisco Giants to sit with Jeremy's family on the field at AT&T Park for his retirement celebration. If you want to read more about his extraordinary life get this phenomenal book TO STIR A MOVEMENT. Here is a Museum of the Bible tribute to Jeremy and his passion for Scripture.
For several years, we have been at maximum capacity at Youthfront Camp West. We are so very thankful for God's overflowing blessing. Youthfront leadership has been praying / thinking for a couple of years about how we can best steward the mission, families and churches that Youthfront Camp serves. After much deliberation and prayer, we are excited to announce that we are expanding! In addition to Youthfront Camp West, the Youthfront Camp experience will now also be offered at Youthfront Camp LaCygne.
This is a major and exciting decision for us as a ministry. We understand you may have some questions, but in the meantime, we can assure you that we will provide the same excellent programming, the same quality / trained staff and the same age appropriate experience at both of our camp locations.
With this decision comes expansion and growth at Youthfront Camp LaCygne. We are adding numerous attractions (e.g. new Splash Park, Gaga Ball and more), improving cabins and adding a few other surprises that we are excited to announce soon.
In addition to our expanded Camp program, we are excited to offer special pricing for our Youthfront Camp LaCygne sessions.
We have also added a session for grades 7-9 to accommodate the many 8th graders who have expressed the desire to have a Middle School Camp experience one more year!!
CAMP REGISTRATION IS OPEN!
You can register NOW for any of our available Kids Camp or Middle School Camp sessions. Click here to view the Camp session calendars. Just a reminder: if you register by March 1, 2017, you will receive $15 Early Bird Camp Bucks to spend at Camp. If you are coming with a group, make sure to get your Group Hold code from your group leader before registering. Sessions will fill up quickly! Don't delay and register today!
Some wise words from Jean Vanier during his acceptance speech for the 2015 Templeton Prize.
For peace, people must meet across differences. I say to meet people, not just to send them money and offer better professionals. All need to change. Fear must be changed into openness. Those on the rich side need to change and open their hearts to those on the other side. Those on the needy side also need to change; from anger, anguish, depression and a sense of being victims of a society, they must become agents of hope and of love.…It is only as we meet and share together person to person, eye to eye, and heart to heart that we discover what it means to be human and to discover the joy of being together, working together towards a common mission of peace and unity. It is only moving from winning and loneliness to collaboration, and from hostility to seeing enemies as friends, that we discover the real meaning of peace.
Earlier this summer, I invited Yoram Hazony, President of The Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, to participate in a dialogue in Oxford on Science and the Bible. Yoram is an Israeli philosopher, Bible scholar and political theorist. I love this segment he did with actor Morgan Freeman for the National Geographic miniseries The Story of God.
Cal Farley’sis an internationally renown residential community near Amarillo, Texas open to at-risk children ages 5 to 18. It is one of the best programs in the world for helping at-risk youth. Mike Wilhelm, Senior Chaplain at Cal Farley's, is a good friend and donor of Youthfront. Mike has brought several Youthfront staff to Cal Farley's for training staff. He has also brought Cal Farley residents to Youthfront camps. Mike is a giant of a man and an amazing spiritual leader. Mike launched a program called the Iona Project that is making a big impact.
The Iona Project is an innovative youth ministry internship at Cal Farley's (paid with benefits and housing). The program is currently in its third year. Participants live life together as an intentional community-- -fixed hour prayer - a weekly community meal - weekly spiritual formation - cutting edge trauma-informed childcare training - and soul-shaping Boys Ranch youth ministry responsibilities! Here's an important feature: The Iona community is comprised of 6 members: 3 gals and 3 guys. It is a one-year commitment with one guy and one gal being selected each year for a second year, to join with the 4 new incoming members. So there's an overlap built into the program that gives the community a seamless nature. Thus the beauty of the program is that it has great stability while at the same time considering the nomadic nature of unmarried millennials. Here's a sample of the things they do: Lectio continua: The community's 9-month consecutive read through entire Bible; Weekly lectio divina, utilizing the church calendar RCL readings; Group spiritual reading of Bonhoeffer's, "Life Together"; Group Enneagram work; No less than 56 hours of childcare training, that includes Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI) and Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT). Participants present a year-end reflection paper to the Cal Farley's leadership group. Those completing all requirements of the program receive a “Certificate in Spiritual Formation & Youth Ministry” from the Cal Farley’s Childcare Institute. Mike is currently recruiting now for 2017. If you know young adults who are looking for an amazing, challenging, yet rewarding opportunity, have them contact Mike Wilhelm - firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve worked at Youthfront Camp West for three summers now and it has become something I eagerly look forward to every summer. I first began working for Youthfront in the summer of 2014 after I decided that I wanted to work for something that I felt would matter and have a lasting impact on people’s lives. Youthfront has definitely met that hope.
There are many reasons I enjoy Youthfront and being a part of the summer staff. One of those reasons is meeting and becoming familiar with fellow summer staff. Everyone has a story, and something to offer the world from their life experiences. I enjoy hearing those stories and seeing how God works in people’s lives to accomplish His ends. I also love seeing the sacrifices people make to provide an opportunity for young students to hear the gospel. A lot of staff work very hard at their jobs, sometimes even when they don’t feel like it. We don’t always get to see the results of that hard work, but there is an enormous satisfaction in knowing that what we do matters in the lives of kids and has the potential to create a lasting impact on their spiritual journey.
I also think the atmosphere at Youthfront is a great example to churches and ministries. Even though different staff members might disagree about particulars in regards to faith, we all rally behind the goal of telling kids about Christ in a fun and safe environment. I have always felt accepted and encouraged as a person at Youthfront regardless of any of my traits or characteristics, and I think that is an amazing way Youthfront demonstrates their commitment to loving others as Christ loves us. Everyone has a place and can contribute in a very meaningful way to the mission of Youthfront.
Robbie Hotz, Ropes Course Supervisor at Youthfront Camp West
My first year on Teen Staff was the summer before my sophomore year. I had heard about it from a friend of mine. Before she told me about it, I didn’t know Youthfront camps existed, but after listening to her talk about her experiences, I knew it was something that I needed to be a part of. My first summer, I dove in head first and volunteered for five weeks. My life changed my first week of Teen Staff. It was during that first week that I truly felt The Lord’s presence in my life. The spiritual formations that we do everyday have helped me learn how to set aside time during the day to be in the Word and also how to find God in everything.
One other important thing that I have learned through my experience is how to live in a community with other people. I have been blessed to be able to spend these past three summers surrounded by other believers. Every person at camp is there for a common purpose, and that is to worship God through service. I have learned so much from the people around me, whether it is a Summer Staffer sharing a life experience with me, or a fellow Teen Staffer sitting down with me and just talking about life and Jesus. Youthfront is not just a camp; it is a community of encouragement.
Teen Staff is one of the hardest things I have ever done both emotionally and physically. We work…A LOT, but it is the most rewarding work I have ever done. I have learned a lot about myself through this program. I have learned that praising God through service is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Also, that God definitely places people in our lives for a reason. Finally, I have learned that God can truly be seen in everyone and everything, and that it is definitely possible to survive on ZERO sleep and crummy camp coffee.
So, I guess to sum it up, God is good and His hand is definitely in Teen Staff and throughout the rest of the camp. The Lord has created such a special place in the middle of nowhere Kansas, and it is only through His grace that I have been able to be a part of it.
MaryJane Palodichuk, Teen Staff at Youthfront Camp West
"How easily we forget that the church was founded by disciples who betrayed their master. None was willing to stand by Jesus as the religious and political authorities condemned him to death. At his moment of greatest need, the disciples fled in the darkness. The boldest of the lot, Peter, was the very one who cursed and denied him three times before the cock crew. It was for traitors that Jesus died." Philip Yancey, Source: Soul Survivor Daily Dig