Recently we’ve been focusing on creation in youth group.  When we first started looking at what our theme would be this year, I had an idea presented by a well-known youth ministry guru, Walt Mueller.  His idea led me to begin reading a book called “Creation Regained: Biblical Basics for a Reformational Worldview” by Albert M. Wolters.  I’ve not finished it, but the basics tell us that our worldview is how we see creation, the fall, and redemption.  Or better yet, how did everything that is come to be?  Was there any influence by God or was it just a natural process that’s happened without God?  Is there an answer to the ills and evil around us, or is it also just a process of natural selection and learned behavior based on experience, along with societal and philosophical opinions?  And what about redemption?  Is there such a thing, or is this all we can expect - what you see is what you get?  These are some big questions, but how you answer them will determine your worldview.  That’s what we want our students to begin to explore and decide for themselves, based on the truths they have learned in their studies of history, science, mathematics, biology and sociology.  There are more areas to glean from, but these are the points of reference for most of the arguments as to whether God is or is not.

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Spiritual Wisdom

I’ve been studying recently on wisdom.  Scripture reminds us that man’s wisdom that is void of God is foolishness.  That same scripture also tells us that those who are proud of their own wisdom see us as fools.  Our worldview is determined by our faith, yes even fools have faith.  But those who hope in the Lord have a wisdom that doesn’t always equate with their years of experience.  Daniel, David, and Timothy come to mind when I consider the young who showed that God’s wisdom was within them.  But there is something to be said for life experiences as a means by which we gain wisdom.

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Where do you find your mission?  Is it in the people closest to you?  Does your immediate family know the truth of Jesus love?  Has a spouse, a child, a sibling or parent been your mission for years?  Don’t quit and don’t allow them to ever get away from you without showing them the goodness of God revealed to us in His Son, our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ who indwells in you!

Maybe your mission field is your work.  Do you enter your work with an attitude that you’re grateful to have the job you have and everyone sees that?  Are you working for your employer as though you are working for God?  Do you show those around you that everything you have is not your own but a blessing from God?  Are you generous with your speech and time towards your coworkers?  Do they know that God has given us the responsibility to manage everything He has created for us here?

For some of you the mission field is a place where you are not exactly comfortable.  Maybe it’s a real stretch for you and it’s serving some folks whom you may have had certain opinions about that needed to change.

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The Seasons of our Lives

Every spring brings forth a change of seasons.  We eagerly wait for the longer warmer days that will soon become summer.  For those of us who have the privilege of working with the youth of this church it is a season of change too.  The nearing end of another school year comes with the spring flowers.  This year the class of 2016 is blessed to have six students who all uniquely and unquestionably impacted our lives here at First Presbyterian.  Noah Collins, McKenzie Conover, Hunter Goodwin, Dakota Miller, Logan Taylor and Sierra Walker are ending a season of their lives as they graduate from high school and begin the next season.

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God's Gift of Family

Fresh on my mind are the thoughts of what has happened in our family over the past few weeks.  It has been for us a time of ups and downs, good news and not so good news, bright days and days of gloom.  I won’t open up all the details but I do want to allow you some insight into our lives. On February 23rd Denise got contacted from our daughter-in-law Katie that her water had broken and that she was at the doctor with her mother, since our son Brad was out of town.  Only being around 14 weeks pregnant this was not good news and the initial diagnosis was that the baby would not survive.  This was devastating to say the least and as a family we prayed together that night encircled tightly.  It was something we never would have expected but God had been preparing Brad all the way home as he traveled over 2 hours to get there as quickly as he could.  He was the husband and Daddy that Katie and Lexi needed in this moment and he reassured them of God’s provision and grace even in the midst of this.  Brad prayed a prayer for his wife and unborn son and his daughter who was very excited about being a big sister.  I couldn’t have been more proud of him as he thanked God, petitioned God, and praised God in the midst of an unforeseen tragedy.

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One Way

As I sit down to write this we have just begun the Lenten season, and with the beginning of Lent we have also begun a series of sermons based on the movie “Woodlawn”.  The movie is based on the true story of a high school in Birmingham, Alabama in the early 70’s when schools were being integrated.  The movie details the path of the school's football team who, along with other students, went through a radical change from division to unity based on the students' commitment to follow Christ no matter the cost.  The issues of prejudice, racism and injustice are unfortunately part of the history of our county.  Wouldn’t it be awesome to be able to say that they are just a part of our past and we’ve moved on?

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We are approaching a month that is filled with the sweetness of love.  Valentine’s Day is a day when people purchase cards, chocolates and flowers for one another.  About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year.  This makes it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.  More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.  Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine's Day in the U.S. alone.  189 million roses will be sold in the U.S.  73 percent of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.

Most folks don’t know the story of St. Valentine.  He was a saint who was imprisoned for performing weddings for Roman soldiers.  Why would someone be imprisoned and ultimately executed for doing this?  Because the Roman emperor at the time didn’t want his soldiers married.  He believed marriage would affect their loyalty to him and their willingness to fight.  Rumor has it, that before St. Valentine was executed he penned a note to the jailer’s daughter and signed it "Your Valentine."  You can fact check me on this of course, but it’s interesting that this holiday of giving and sharing with loved ones had its origin in the pursuit of protecting and promoting the framework of the family, a husband and wife.

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