VIVID // Evotional // James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

What would you say to someone who told you the correct response to being dumped by a boyfriend or girlfriend was to laugh and smile? You’d probably tell them they were nuts.

Read James 1:2-4. Is James nuts? According to our previous example, he would be. Not so fast . . .

We would call someone “crazy” who had a reaction to something that was completely the opposite of a normal one. But what Scripture teaches us is that God’s ways are often the opposite of what you might expect. Consider it joy when face trials? How is that possible?

Facing difficulties because of being identified as a Christ-follower teaches us perseverance. It teaches us to take the hit and keep going. James says this perseverance is what helps us grow in our faith relationship with Christ. You want that, don’t you?

When you are made fun of or face trials because of your relationship with God, you are actually drawing closer to Him. So, embrace it. Don’t look for trials. And don’t run from them. Accept that being an outcast for the sake of Christ is part of following Christ. James says it’s actually a beneficial part of following Christ. Sounds nuts? Not quite . . .

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Junior High Students, SAVE THE DATE!

The 2011 Junior High Journey conference in Anderson is scheduled for October 7-9. You won’t want to miss this event for Jr. High students all across the state.  During the weekend you will be challenged by some great speakers and led in dynamic worship.  More details coming soon!

Fall Kickoff is Sunday, August 14th!

We are winding down the summer trips and gearing up for another great year of Chapel Rock Youth Ministry.  Make sure you are there when we kick-off our season on August 14th from 4-7 pm.  You won’t want to miss this awesome time to rejoin your friends at Eagle Creek Park  in Shelter C!   Bring your families and either cookies (girls) or a bag of chips (guys).   There will be tons of fun activities!  Admission to Eagle Creek is FREE on that day but you MUST pick up a FREE ADMISSION ticket from the Chapel!

GUATEMALA: Day Seven

Today we woke up early and enjoyed our last breakfast at the Puente Viejo Hotel in Jalapa. After breakfast it was off for about a three and a half hour bus ride to Antigua. Antigua is a beautiful historical city of Guatemala near the capital that’s nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains that are around 4000 feet above sea level.

Antigua has an old world feel to it, with cobblestone streets and buildings painted with bright colors that contrast with the rain forest feel of the mountains that surround it on all sides. We arrived at almost noon and had about four hours to take in the culture, the shops, and the food. Most of our group ended up eating at McDonald’s ironically enough… It was our first taste of home in quite some time and a welcome one as we begin to turn our thoughts to traveling…

Everyone had a blast bartering for some neat Guatemalan handi-crafts. Doug Boodt wins the prize for best bartering technique. If you wanted a deal you were best off to let Doug do the heavy lifting for you and then come in at then end once he’d pulled out all the stops. We found out later in the afternoon that McDonald’s didn’t agree with a few of our team members… Funny what a little grease will do to shock the system after a week of eating pretty healthy.

As we were winding down our time in Antigua it began to monsoon rain. Almost everyone god completely soaked as we made a run for it through the flooded streets back to our buses, where we shared in the stories of the victory of our bargain hunting and bartering.

What was supposed to be a short ride back to the hotel (30 minutes) turned into about an hour and a half because of a mudslide and a couple of broken down cars along the mountain road out of Antigua. We arrived at the Conquistador Hotel and after getting checked in had a great last dinner in Guatemala City. We also shared in an evening time of worship and communion together. It was neat to share together as an entire team representing dozens of churches from five different states and prayerfully thank God for all He has done and will continue to do through His people here in Guatemala.

Tomorrow (Monday) we have an early breakfast at 6:15 AM and then we’re off to the airport. Please pray for safe travel. We look forward to seeing everyone when we arrive home in the evening.

There will be lots more stories, video, and pictures to come as we continue to unpack all of the memories and lessons that God’s been teaching our team through this experience. Thanks for journeying with us and for your thoughts, prayers and encouragement along the way.

GUATEMALA: Day Six

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Water parks in the USA strive to be like the water park that we had the opportunity to go to today here in Guatemala. We’ve all been to the water parks in the city or in a hotel… the ones with the fake rocks and plastic palm trees that make it look like you’re in the jungle… Well, just about 20 minutes outside of Jalapa is a water park that’s naturally fed from a mountain stream that puts them all to shame. A mountain stream is partially diverted to fill up several pools that cascade into one another, complete with water falls and water slides. We had a blast swimming, enjoying a picnic lunch, going on the water slides, and enjoying time together with the locals. Two of the kids, Miguel and Luis who are brothers that we met at our neighborhood VBS were there as well as a ton of other locals who were enjoying time with family, grilling out, and having a good time together.

After lunch we headed back to get cleaned up briefly at the hotel, and then it was off to the church to begin preparing for our evening outreach event. We passed out hundreds of invitations to all of the neighborhoods we’d been working in all week to come to a special closing event at the church, which for many people would be the first time they have been to the church we’re helping to support this week. We didn’t know what to expect, but we invited and we prayed.

When we pulled up to the church to get set up, there were probably already close to a hundred people waiting at the gates and the event didn’t start for an hour! We quickly got set up and watched as bus after bus rolled in with a ton of people. All told we counted over 550 people, from the neighborhoods that showed up tonight. We got started with some group games that got everyone participating, then everyone got to eat (except us, because they ran out of food, which was a good thing). After dinner, we split into two groups; the adults went with Joaquin and Tom, while we had a massive carnival with the kids. We joined together in some exuberant singing, puppet skits and a lesson; and we had a ton of fun with lots of carnival games with many of the kids we had met throughout the week at our VBS. Our team did a superb job at helping run things, and we had an absolute blast. It was an amazing night.

We gathered back inside the church building once everyone from the community had left for the evening to say our goodbyes to Joaquin and his family. It was another day that wrapped up with the feeling that God had shown up in some pretty amazing ways. We we’re excited and hopeful going into the evening, but I don’t think any of us expected what happened tonight with all of the community people to be what it was… God always has a way of blowing the doors off of our expectations, doesn’t He?  As we sat there waiting for the busses, someone started singing and everyone joined in on a spontaneous time of worship. We all sang and worshipped with thanksgiving for the opportunity to serve our Lord as He’s led us this week.

When the buses came and we started heading back on the 3 KM drive to the hotel, there were murmurs of what might be in store for us for dinner… We were a hungry bunch and we were totally spent, having poured out so much for the kids and people that we served this evening. When we arrived back at the hotel we were delighted to see box upon box of Dominos pizza complete with cheesy bread and cinnamon sticks! Keri Phillips was the most excited of all, but it was a welcome taste of home for all, and really hit the spot.

Tomorrow (Sunday) we load up at around 8 am and drive about four hours to Antigua for some sight seeing and shopping. After Antigua we’ll be heading back to Guatemala City to stay overnight  near the airport where we’ll be flying out on Monday morning. Please pray for safe travel on the mountain roads to Antigua, and for our continued witness for our last days in Guatemala for now.

GUATEMALA: Day Five

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It’s difficult to capture the feeling that we all felt today when we wrapped up our last day of VBS… Maybe scoring a winning touchdown, or experiencing the excitement that comes when you’re finished something that has just gone really, really well comes close… High fives were abundant as we loaded up the bus to head back for dinner. The sense of team unity and accomplishment with the week going so well is what’s lingering this evening as we wind down for the day… but it’s all through the lens of knowing that God worked in some amazing ways this week to lead and prepare and work in and through His people to bring the message of the gospel to the people of Jalapa.

Today was bitter-sweet in many ways. It was sweet to know that so many seeds were planted in the lives of so many children, but slightly bitter that it’s coming to a close for now. We had about 60 preschoolers again this morning and about 55 elementary age kids in the afternoon. Stuart Creasey did a phenomenal job teaching the lesson as well as helping carry things with his spanish. All of our students engaged one-on-one with all of the students through our games, crafts and snack time… Taking a look at all of the activity at either of our sites today seemed to appear as one big ball of humanity as babies and preschoolers hung off of our students, rode on their backs, got swung around in circles and laughed and played together.

There’s much more to come… tomorrow morning there’s a little bit of a fun day planned in the morning and a big blow out bash at the church with all the teams who have invited all the people that they’ve worked with in the city. Pray for our continued witness as we serve and continue to love on the people of Jalapa in the days that we have remaining for this trip. May God receive the glory for all that’s been accomplished in his name this week!

Quotes of the day…

Keri Phillips says, “Suckers should not be given to two year olds, because they get stuck to their pants.”

Taylor Purcell says, “There’s a boy at the daycare that spits on me all the time; it’s really disgusting, but he’s really cute and I’m going to miss him.”

Lindsey Tucker says, “It’s really sad that we’re going home so soon, because I feel like I just made a lot of friends with the locals, and I’m gonna miss them because they are so sweet.”

JoJo Daghe says, “I agree with Lindsey.”

Alyssa Easley says, “A random guy gave us fruit through the bus window… he came running after us. I LOL’d.”

Kelly Boodt says, “If chocolate had a sound, this would be it!” (referring to a recording of Greg Harper that was playing from Nick’s iPod)

Kelly Boodt also says, “Do we only get one key” (referring to the fact that we only

Paul Wallace said, (referring to a sneaky kid at the VBS) “Watch out for that little turkey over there, he kicks you while you have your eyes closed to pray.”

Doug Boodt says, “He got me yesterday too! (referring to the same kid as above) Yea.. he waits till he knows you’re hung up and can’t do anything, then he comes up and kicks you in the leg.” Doug also says… “Thank you cards are good, but a thank you poster from a bunch of kids is the best.”

SITS: Friday Update

Hey there! We’re all packed up and ready for our last morning session. There’s not a ton of time to post, but here’s a few pictures for you to enjoy. We’ll have the kids call the parents when we are an hour away. See you soon!

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