HS Winter Retreat

Scouting

When I was a teenager, I was in the Boy Scouts.  My dad was the scoutmaster of our Church-sponsored Troop – Troop 150 in Mishawaka, Indiana.  My appreciation of nature; and accumulated outdoor skills were developed and nurtured during those 8 years as a Scout.  I learned to swim during that time, and – as a result of that training – saved a little boy from drowning once.  I earned lots of ‘merit badges’ for practical things I still use today.  Over those teenage years, I achieved the rank of ‘Life’ scout – falling short of my goal of ‘Eagle’ scout because of entry into college.

Parents, I would encourage all of you to consider Scouting for your sons and daughters.  The values learned through scouting last a lifetime – learning accountability, self-reliance, teamwork and discipline are all good character attributes for any of us.  Adults, I would encourage all of you to consider participating in Scouting as adult leaders.  Hours of sacrifice to be sure; but the rewards are worth the effort.  I was there, first-hand, to see what it meant for teenage boys to develop a close relationship with my dad, their Scoutmaster.

In a way, I can picture the relationship between Jesus and his disciples much like scouting, in the sense that this group of men were being molded by Jesus for a mission of service and outreach in the world, in much the same way that Scouting leaders teach young people to become responsible citizens.   Proverbs 22 says  ‘Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.’  While we think of this verse in terms of Bible-based training, our kids should be associated with role models and leaders and peers outside the home and church that exemplify the best in Christian behavior.  (Scout Promise)  On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.)

HS Winter Retreat

Bullseye

Did you ever do target practice before?  Shooting at something with a gun?  My Aunt Sherri (2 years older than me) used to have a b-b gun when we were kids, and we’d target-practice all the time.  As a teenager at Boy Scout Camp, they had a shooting range with 22 caliber rifle targets.  My brother used to get in trouble there, because not only couldn’t he hit the bullseye; he couldn’t hit the target!  He’d accidently shoot the clothespins holding the target and the instructor would think he was doing it on purpose.  My brother was a lousy shot!

What’s a bullseye?  Everybody knows it’s the center of the target – the spot you aim for. As Christians, we have a bullseye too.  Our bullseye – our center – what we aim for – is Christ; to be more Christ-like; to have an intimate relationship with Christ – to make Christ the ‘center’ of our life.   If we want to be in the center of God’s will, we need to be in the center of His Word.  

Did you know the Bible has a ‘literal’ center – a bullseye, if-you-will?  The shortest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 117; the longest is Psalm 119.  The ‘literal’ center of the Bible – Psalm 118.  There are 594 chapters before and after Psalm 118.  Add 594 + 594 and you get 1188.  What is the center verse in the Bible – the ‘bullseye’?  Psalm 118:8.  What does that verse say?  ‘It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.’  We spend so much of our life hitting the clothespins and falling short of the bullseye.   It’s time to refocus, re-aim and seek the bullseye – Our Lord, Jesus Christ!  Remember, when things get tough, our relationship with God doesn’t get us around trouble, it get’s us through it!

HS Winter Retreat

Letter to a Pre-Teen

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24

Letter to a Pre-Teen

I look at you my child and think back to the days gone by and sigh. I think about the things you are about to go through and wonder. You are growing up so fast and I want to tell you so many things before you leave the nest. I want to show you compassion and the joy of helping your fellow man. I want you to grow in knowledge and yet retain your innocence of sin and the world. Yet I know that will not happen. The tugs and pulls of this world are a strong thing to deal with. I think about the next ten years of your life and I find myself on my knees a lot. I pray that God will protect you during the teenage years as you grow and become the person he wants you to be. I pray that for the relationships that you will have are pure and holy ones. I pray that God will show you His glory in the friends you keep. In the next ten years you will continue to grow into the person God wants you to be and I will be there as a guide. I have always been your guide. Since your birth I have tried to show you importance of putting God first in your life. I have given you His Holy Word and soon will show you a better way to read it. I have taught you the important things like the Ten Commandments, the Creeds and the Lord’s Prayer. Soon I will teach you what they mean. Soon way to soon you will leave the protection of my wings and fly with your own off to full fill what God wants from you. You will full fill His purpose for your life. I will be there to cheer you on as you fly away. Still as you go through the next decade my son, remember the things that I taught you already. Be a man of prayer. Stay faithful to the word of God. Keep me in the loop as to what is going on in your life. I am proud of you my son for the things you have already done. As you reach for the stars with your dreams stay rooted in the faith of your youth.