Sunday, July 19, 2015

Song for Sunday: Here is Love

In church this morning, we sang a song that was new to me. It was the second verse that grabbed my attention, because of the interesting phrase in the last line:

Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,
And heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

                           ~William Rees

 Here's a link to a recording by Matt Redman


 It reminds me of some reading I did recenlty. In Interrupted, Jen Hatmaker reminds us that Judas was at the table during the last supper. Jesus gave his betrayer his body and blood. Later, Jesus accepted a kiss from Judas. Love kissed betrayal. How amazing is that! Vast as the ocean, indeed.

For more thoughts on this look at Hymn -Theology-Kiss a Guilty World in Love by Bridget Willard.

What hymn or song speaks to you about the greatness of God's love?

I've learned a lot about God's love at the Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park, a quality two-week discipleship training program and experience of Christian community for high school teens. It meets every August on the beautiful southern coast of Maine. There is still time to register for CYC 2015: Profile of a Daring Life. Hope to see you there!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Drunk Driving: In Memory of Tom Serewicz

It's July 17th, the anniversary of the day in 2010 that a  CYC alumnus was killed by a drunk driver at age 24, leaving behind a wife and two small children. You can read more about Tom here. He is very missed.

It's pretty clear that drunk driving is dangerous. Schools teach about it, there are PSAs everywhere... it's not a secret.

So why do people still drink and drive?

Basically, because alcohol takes away your brain's ability to assess itself. In other words, you don't know how inebriated you are when you have been drinking...

Therefore, if you are going somewhere after drinking, designate someone to abstain from alcohol before you start drinking. Ideally, they drive right from the start and your car stays home. Otherwise, give them your keys as soon as you see them. Co-operate with them later. Be a good friend. Don't forget to take your turn as the sober driver. It's only fair.

By the way, exhaustion also affects your brain's ability to assess your condition, so if someone says you are too tired to drive, you probably are.

For more information on drunk driving, look at's fact sheet on drunk driving.

RIP Tom.

CYC (Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park) is a two week discipleship training program for high school students. It meets August 2-15, 2015 on the beautiful southern coast of Maine and is open to all teens ages 14 and up who have completed at least eighth grade. Check it out!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Roads, Walls & Soldiers' Toilets: Reflections on History and Survival

Yesterday, we drove down a Roman Road. It was very straight and, after nearly 2,000 years, very usable.

Of course, over the milennia it has received maintenance, upgrades, paving and modern markings. All over Britain there are ancient Roman roads still in use.

We took that Roman Road to an ancient fort called "Housesteads." Really, a ruin. You can still see the outlines of many buildings. From an archaeological perspective, it is remarkably well preserved, but trust me, you don't want to use these toilets. Though the latrine was built to the highest level of sanitation technology known in the world at that time, it is now a curiosity, useful only to teach us about the past.

Preservation is a wonderful thing, as is learning about the past. Ruins are one way to recognize our history and to feel connected to those who came before.

But there is an even greater connection, a living connection, when we are still using the items our ancestors made. I have seen this in the castles, church buildings and cathedrals we have visited, too. Some are simply museums, showing old items and teaching facts -- often in creative and interactive ways. I love re-enactors!

Others are stil residences, places where people live, eat, laugh and cry. Or they house vibrant congregations who continue the tradition of worship. They don't live and worship exactly as their ancestors however. They have electricity, running water, projectors, updated language, new styles of music, different clothing, new forms of art and communication mixed in with the old. Historical, yet living. Renewed and transformed, yet connected to centuries past.

How is your church or organization? Is it a museum to the past or a living community? It's worth thinking about.


CYC does a good job of balancing tradition with renewal. It's a 100 year old ministry to teens. Send your highschoolers along to this amazing two weeks in August on the southern coast of Maine. It's not too late to sign up for our 100th anniversary conference that starts August 2, 2015.  

Monday, July 13, 2015

{Belated} Song for Sunday:Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

On this trip to England we are visiting many educational places like Avebury, Hadrian's Wall, and the Tower of London. Then there are the cathedrals, castles, museums and literary sites like Shakespeare's birthplace.

On Saturday, however, we took a few hours to explore the filming locations for a favorite children's movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We saw the windmill house, the village the family drove through in the car, and the duck pond Truly Scrumptious drove into repeatedly.  A few photos for you:

For more fun, and better views,  check out this link:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Film Locations Then and Now by Vince Cox

If you grew up with Ian Fleming's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang enjoy this trip down memory lane. Otherwise, follow this link for an introduction to a fun movie,

What songs bring back childhood movie nostalgia for you?

Shortly after we get back we'll be headed to Ocean Park, Me for CYC. I highly recommend this two-week discipleship conference for all high school teens. Check it out here: Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Song for Sunday: Beauty for Brokenness

I have used this prayer for shalom or wholeness as a Song for Sunday before, but we sang it in church today and it grabbed my attention. God has been challenging me to remember, even identify with, the poor. This time around it is these lyrics that caught me:

Shelter for fragile lives 
Cures for their ills 
Work for the craftsman
Trade for their skills 
Land for the dispossessed
Rights for the weakVoices to plead the cause
Of those who can't speak

                                                 Graham Kendrick
                                                 Copyright © 1993 Make Way Music,

                                                          Graham Kendrick, author,  talking about this song. 

And a link to the song itself: 

What has God been calling your attention to lately?
How are you called to help the poor?

CYC (Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park) is a two week leadership development program for high school students. It meets August 2-15, 2015 on the beautiful southern coast of Maine and is open to all teens ages 14 and up who have completed at least eighth grade. Check it out!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Fighting Summer Learning Loss

Summer learning loss is real. Teachers spend much of the first two months of school reviewing what kids have learned before, especially for low income kids (see article linked below.)

There are many ways to fight summer learning loss: read as a family, cook together, play board games that involve reading and math, visit the library, go to a museum.

Another way is to go to camp. There are, certainly, camps (and summer schools) specifically designed to maintain or forward academic skills. They are not the only good options in this respect, however. Camps that allow kids to explore natute, learn new sports skills, program computers, or make crafts can also be very helpful. According to the article Bunks are Good for Brains camps offer a wide variety of experience that help brains develop well.

At CYC, we have an academic program. It doesn't focus on school subjects, but offers Bible study, spiritual formation, leadership, missions, and self-exploration. These are not intense classes with homework, but they do require students to engage with new topics, to discuss ideas, to express opinions, and to learn skills. All of these help students to keep their minds active, and should help prevent summer learning loss. Other camps can do the same. It's another reason I encourage camp. Do check to make sure the camp you choose is right for your child and safe, but send them. It is a lifechanging experience.

For More Information:

Bunks are Good for Brains

More than a Hunch: Kids Lose Learning Skills Over the Summer Months

Other thoughts on camp:

Why Go to Camp?
Want Your Kids to Astound You?
Making Disciples

CYC (Christian Youth Conference at Ocean Park) is a two week leadership development program for high school students. It meets August 2-15, 2015 on the beautiful southern coast of Maine and is open to all teens ages 14 and up who have completed at least eighth grade.