The rhetoric is too high ... too nasty. Christians, whatever your political persuasion, Christian youth ministry needs Trust and Prayer at this time.
I fear for the future of our world. We need to speak up. Christ calls us in Matthew chapter 25 to reach out to the sick, the needy and those imprisoned unjustly. This is NOT a liberal issue. It is a Christian issue. Will you pray for wisdom and strength to stop this prejudice?
Comment received from Alex ... "Wouldn't it be nice to just forget the past and move on with a future of hope. However, we live in a world too separated by people with big differences of opinions...." Read more and share. Click: Christians Blog
What would happen if Jesus arrived today instead of...
Includes a Vision of Heaven
The Chest of Visions
Review dated February 2017 from Onlinebookclub
What would happen if Jesus arrived today instead of 2,000 years ago? Would you risk your reputation and give up what you had to follow Him? These are the questions The Chest of Visions by Tim Ferguson seeks to answer. Not only does the book tackle these difficult questions, it does so in a unique format - the book is written via a pen pal-like dialogue between a few youths.
Mattpaul is nearly done with school and already his future is set. His father is an assistant to the Ruler of Caperston and has a great, prestigious job for him once he graduates. However, one day he learns a man named Chihaysu is coming to speak nearby about someone named God. Intrigued, he and his friend Huchfee ditch class to go listen. In the meantime, Mattpaulcomes across a news report written by Tim on his compol (a device much like our computers) and writes to him, asking him about what the Bible, Christian youth and Jesus are. Tim is shocked when he discovers that Mattpaul's Caperston is in an alternate universe, one in which there never was a Jesus or Bible or even prophets. The two manage to communicate via a website Tim sets up, and Mattpaul tells his story via dated entries.
"It's interesting to see some of my favorite Biblical stories take on a new slant."
Chuhaysu's teachings often mirror those of Jesus, and it's interesting to see some of my favorite Biblical stories take on a new slant. One, for example, is about a man whose boat sinks. Forced to use a broken off piece to float, he can't do anything but wait to be saved. Two men pass by in powerboats, each giving excuses as to why they can't help him, before a third comes by in a paddle boat. He explains that he'll have to dump the fish he spent all day catching for his family, but that the fish are nowhere near as valuable as him.
This is a great retelling of the Good Samaritan, and it leads to great discussion - what types of setbacks would you suffer if it meant helping someone? Returning home without dinner? Being late to work?
For the majority of the book Mattpaul writes and Tim replies. However, eventually a boy named Alex starts replying as well. Alex wishes he could be in Caperston and could speak to Chihaysu himself, and eventually has Mattpaul relay a question for him. Alex was part of a youth group and Kevin, another member, was killed while purchasing plates to help feed the homeless. He asks why God would allow such a faithful follower of Jesus die.
"if God is so powerful, why does he allow bad things to happen? I REALLY enjoyed how this answer was settled."
This brings up one of the biggest questions people have when it comes to religion - if God is so powerful, why does he allow bad things to happen? I REALLY enjoyed how this answer was settled, and it's great that Tim is able to fill the book with such great situations, questions and lessons.
Finally, after the story is over there are two appendices. The first deals with "the science of the story", how Mattpaul in an alternate universe can communicate with Tim and Alex. The explanation is quite heavy, involving the birth of the universe, elements, atoms and strings, but written in a way that's pretty easy to follow. The second appendix is for youth leaders and gives numerous methods and lessons for using The Chest of Visions for discussions. The lessons are quite fantastic, making it clear that provoking thought and discussion were the purpose of the book and that the author is experienced in doing so.
As I read the story alone I often wondered if I would be brave enough to follow Chihaysu. There were also a few surprise twists that made me happy with the direction the book went. I'd absolutely recommend the book to any Christian, but especially to kids or those who lead youth groups.
Featured Summer Activity for Christian Youth Ministry
Youth group going on a hike?
We discussed the group response to a more local hike but imagined that it is 100 years ago.
There are no telephones, no internet, no automobiles and our pastor says he heard at a meeting that there are Christian youth in the next town, nine miles away, that want to meet with us. We, then, asked how many people would be willing to take a nine mile hike and back, three hours of walking each way to spend an hour sharing youth group ideas.
Guess how many volunteers we had? Read more about what we learned by clicking
... Summer Walks
Activities for Fun
Ha Ha: Lots of fun - an icebreaker we used with Spanish speaking young people in El Salvador, as well as with our own youth group. It has always been a great success.
Cross the Line: An icebreaker that gets young people sharing their experiences.
Bombs Away: A game that tests our ability to trust.
Activities That Teach
The Hope Page: "At times of a world divided as exists today, hope seems far away. It is good to take time to truly think how much better we would be if we all worked together. The below parable says it very well. "
The Rich Young Ruler: Christian youth lesson that asks the question how to react to the command of Jesus to give everything that you own to the poor, then follow we are ready to follow Him.
Trust and Prayer : Christian youth lesson begins with trust exercise and ends with activity that facilitates prayer amidst teens.
The Fruits of the Spirit: Note that some of the more difficult fruits,in the eyes of youth, are probably patience and self control. Determine which fruits are most common and why.
Faith by Dennis: from a youth leader in New York ... it tells you that even a little bit of faith is stronger than the strongest mountain
Banana Lesson:I break the group up into groups and give each group a banana and tell them to cut it up...
Jo writes regarding Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings ... "I think this book is really good and helpful. I first read the online version of the book because I did not want to pay for it. But after reading a couple of program ideas and having a very very successful youth program I totally HAD to get this book. It is well worth the money."
Hear what Cara of Goodreads says about
"Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings"
Review: "Wow! Its one of the few realistic and useful youth books I've run across and is recommended for youth pastors and adult volunteers in youth."
Jesus promises Christian youth
like Danielle of Madagascar
Are you active in a Christian youth group? Do you have Christian youth activities to share
Your shared ideas will be featured on our activities page.Just click on the Guestmap Icon and let us know who you are and any activities that have been successful for your group.