YM Quotes:

YM Quotes:

Youth ministry is always a challenge. Youth ministry is consistently changing. Youth ministry is regularly surprising. Youth ministry is fresh all the time. (Mark Oestreicher)

Although students need guidance from good leaders, we often take on too much of the responsibility for their knowledge about God. We want them to blindly adopt our opinions rather than work out their own understanding. Instead we must help young people learn how to think for themselves with God’s perspective as their foundation and the Word of God as their rule. (Sean Dunn)

(You'll find more YM Quotes below the posts)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Extreme sports, extreme faith and promises

Have you ever done an extreme sport?
You know like bungee jumping, hang gliding, BMX, caving, motocross, mountain biking, mountain boarding, outdoor climbing, sandboarding, skateboarding, cliff diving, free-diving, jet skiing, powerboat racing, scuba diving, snorkeling, surfing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, and many more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_sport).

I have done some fun things and I am usually thrilled when I am able to do them. I think it's hilarious when instructors explain what you need to be aware of and they love to add, “trust me everything will be all right.” When I start to think about what that really means, it can be a bit frightening. It means that you put your life (and therefore your faith) into someone else's hand. Furthermore you depend on the promise he/ she made, this can become a huge test in challenging times.

Let me explain what I mean with a story I experienced when I went "kloofing":
Since many years and through many experiences God has shown me that he keeps his promises and that he will take care of me. He just expects me to tust him and to have faith in what he has promised. That is easy to say but quite achallenging task once it's actually practically required to do. Last year I experienced that again as I went on a crazy Kloofing experience in Sabi (Close to Krugerpark). You haven't heard of the sport? Let me explain: Kloofing is an adventure activity that typically involves the descent of a deep ravine or watercourse that may be dry or wet. The defining factor is usually that the ravine is several times deeper than it is wide. All manner of walking, scrambling, climbing, swimming, plunging, jumping, bumslides or abseiling (rappelling) could be involved. (http://www.thefullwiki.org/Kloofing) Usually if you have a good guide this can be an awesome, crazy, exciting, fun experience. Like I just said if you have a "good guide." Four friends of mine decided together with me to take up the challenge and walk, scramble, climb, swim, plung, jump, rappel in the woods next and underneath some beautiful waterfalls. So we met at seven in the morning with the guide to start our three hour tour at eight o'clock in the morning. We put on the gear (helmet, neoprenesuit, climbing gear...) and recieved some information on how we should behave in a dangerous situation. But the guide assured us several times that he was experienced enough, that there was no need for us to worry and that he brought a flashlight, a first-aid-kit and a walkie-talkie along. Anyway, while it was still a bit cool, rainy and cloudy we started our adventure full of excitement. We joked around, had some nice talks, jumped over rocks, ran through small rivers, dived into natural waterpools and climbed on ropes. For the first few hours everything was fine even though the weather started to change, it got cold and wet. Finally as we started to freeze we wondered if it was worthwhile to continue the tour, as I told the guide our concerns he just calmly said: "Don't worry, trust me everything will be alright." So we continued our journey to the foot of a huge waterfall, uncertain and doubtfulr if we would ever be able reach our destination. Finally we arrived and it was beautiful besides the fact that none of us could feel our feet by then as we were wet and cold to the bones. While the guide challenged us swim across the small lake an to walk underneath the water we just all felt like we were ready to go "home." But we pulled ourselves back together and after a short "romantic" moment we all decided to head back. The thing was though that it took us longer than planned for the one way so we knew we still had walk quite far our knees started to get week and the path was by then dangerously slippery. Anyway our guide started walking and we followed, we walked, walked and walked. We had to climb, crawl, run, scramble and jump through the thickest of the woods which sometimes appeared like a jungle. After some time the guide stoped and changed direction in an instant claiming that he still knew where he was going, even though we realised soon that he was completely lost. Eventually all fun was gone and we all started to worry if we would ever be able to find our way back. To make things worse suddenly one of my friends sceemed and started to fall towards me not being able to grab a branch or a rope to stop slipping. As I was the last in the row I just managed to grab her and not to let go. That was it, I had it! I went to the guide and told him to stop for a moment as he clearly did not know what to do. I remebered that God promises us never to leave or fosake us (Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5) and that I should put my full trust in Him (Psalm 25:1). So we all just stood still for a moment, prayed to God to help us, tried to calm down, put our heads together in order to find a way out. To cut a long story short, eventually exhausted and exited after almost six hours we found our way back!

There are many great, amazing, challenging, adventurous stories in the Bible which show how God keeps his promises and at the same time challenges his people to trust him and put their faith in him (even to the extreme). You can read about one of those many amazing stories in Joshua 6:1-5. Joshua just took over as the leader from Moses to guide the Israelites into the promised land. He was younger and less experienced than Moses - man, he had to fill BIG shoes. I am sure there was a lot of preassure on his shoulders to perform, lead and guide a whole nation. Not only that God gave hime a ridicously big and seemingly sensless mission: to conquer the big and well protected city of Jericho. To be honest that sounds way crazier than and BASE jump or rock climb. See the thing is that God did not asked the impossible as He was with him. He said: "I am putting into your hands Jericho, with its king and all its brave soldiers." Joshua 6:2 But not only that, as Joshua and the Israelites had great faith in God and obeyed his command, HE KEPT HIS PROMISE: The seventh time around, when the priests were about to sound the trumpets, Joshua ordered the people to shout, and he said, The Lord has given you the city! Joshua 6:16

I don't know where your standing with God personally, but I would like you to take some time, reflect and answer some questions for yourself:
1. Have you ever made a promise? (Give some examples)
2. Was it difficult to live up to that promise and why?
3. If you look at Joshua’s story, what does that say about God?
4. How would you react if God would ask you to trust him and to do a “crazy, big thing” through you?
5. Why did none of the Israelites seem to disagree with Joshua’s crazy plan to take the city without violence?

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