Archive for the ‘Young Adult Stories’ Category

Friday, February 8th Devotion

Posted: February 8, 2013 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Uncategorized, Young Adult Stories

Amy Austin
Global Ministries Short-Term Volunteer

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“The time has come, the time is now, to stop and feel the pull of the Lord. O Shepherd speak to me”

I am a huge believer in Paulo Coelho’s quote from the Alchemist saying, “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” However, what’s scary for me is the element of passivity required in this process, the opening and surrender to God’s ever creating presence. The control over every aspect of my life needs to leave my hands and be turned over to God. Because, as much as I feel I understand the desires of my heart, I must surrender to the Creator of those desires, the one who paints a picture larger than this moment can comprehend. It’s like throwing my life up into the air and waiting to see where it will land, with an ever present fear that it might all come crashing down on my head before it falls into place. But, it is exactly this throwing of life up into the air that creates space for sacred serendipity, for God’s overwhelming wisdom and creativity to take root.

As I find myself in a space of just having graduated from undergrad, it is all too tempting to put my nose to the grindstone and let my “accomplishment complex” take over to plan out what is next for my life. Yet, I feel God’s spirit stirring in me in ways that cause me to pause and take a little step of faith that maybe I don’t know everything about success, that maybe, just maybe, the universe is already conspiring.

One of the ways God seems to be at work in my life is by leading me to serve as a Global Ministries short-term volunteer next month in the Middle East. Fulfilling a childhood dream, I will spend a month teaching English in Nablus, Palestine through an organization called Project Hope. Yet, as I am scurrying around to get ready for my trip, cross items off my to-do list, and come up with creative lesson plans and gather materials, I am forced to remind myself that no amount of my own struggle and strife to be “ready” or “worthy” can compare to the quiet whisper that draws me to and through this experience. Even when I sense God’s direction in my life, it is easy for my “monkey-brain” to take over and to forget to rest in the knowing that I am called to be in this space, and that sometimes being in this present moment is enough. I have no way of predicting what will come next, or how this experience will shape me. All I know is that I am in the midst of a God of great wisdom and creativity who is continually at work within me and within the world to bring about goodness and wholeness. May it be so.

“The time has come, the time is now, to stop and feel the pull of the Lord. O Shepherd speak to me”

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Thursday, February 7th Devotional

Posted: February 7, 2013 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Uncategorized, Young Adult Stories

Alison Lasher 
Student at Eureka College

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There is nothing as valuable as a community of faith that contains your closest friends. I never intended to become such close friends with the other Disciple students, it just happened organically. It could be that we had similar ideologies, we both were far from home, or that we had a similar sense of humor. Maybe God just has a way of bringing friends together.

The second day of orientation week was very hectic. As I stood alone in the lunch line, I noticed the kid in front of me was wearing a shirt that said CYF on the back. I tapped him on the shoulder and mentioned the shirt. He smiled and let out one of his infectious laughs, starting in on the story of how he got the shirt at church camp. He invited me to sit with him and his friends at lunch, and I knew Alex Cooper and I would be good friends.

On the third day of orientation, there was a picnic lunch for new students. I got my meal and looked around for a friendly face to sit with when I spotted Alex and his roommate Isaac sitting in a group of students chatting effortlessly. I invited myself to sit with them, determined to be friends with them. After a pleasant lunch, Isaac invited me to go back to their room to hang out more.

Both Disciples, Alex and Isaac have been blessings in my life.

Wednesday, February 6th Devotional

Posted: February 6, 2013 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Young Adult Stories

Ben Saunders
Disciples Peace Fellowship Intern 

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It was that summer of traveling to various summer camps talking about peace and justice issues that changed the entire course of my life. Though each summer intern for Disciples Peace Fellowship has a very different set of camps, people, and experiences overall, it can, somehow, still be classified as “the” DPF experience or “that” summer and be relatable to every peace intern that has embarked on that venture.

Similarly, something I appreciate about the Disciples, as a whole, is the diversity of identity. If each person connected with the Disciples of Christ were asked what it means to be DOC, there would be an equal number of responses as people. Yet, we are still one unified tradition. It’s why each General Assembly is a giant family reunion and it’s why we get giddy like little children when we meet another Disciple in a completely unexpected location. There’s something about the collective experience that binds us together.

Likewise, occupying space and existence on this planet, we share the lived experience and, especially as people, we share an understanding of what it means to find our identity as a human being. There may be differences that we have been taught to see, but every one of us has emotions and feelings. Everyone has the ability to give and receive love.

Just as the Disciples are unified by great diversity, let us come to understand the whole planet of people and creatures as one family. Let us truly be sisters and brothers. We share a collective experience and, subsequently, share responsibility for each other and should be held accountable for our actions. I believe that we can [and do] change the world every single day – it just depends whether we choose to do so in a positive or a negative way. How will you change the world today?

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How do your daily actions affect those around you?

 

What is it that drives you to be better and live more responsibly?

 

How do the ways in which you live your life exemplify your theology and understanding of God?

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Tuesday, February 5th Devotional

Posted: February 5, 2013 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Young Adult Stories

Erin Taylor
Seminary Student at Brite Divinity School 

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I think many of us would be interested in owning, or at least having access to a time machine. I have several places I would like to go including the Cane Ridge Revival and the day TCU won the Rose Bowl. One of my professors recently taught me that time traveling is indeed a possibility. During my ‘Foundations of Preaching’ class, our professor described the importance of thoroughly understanding the text before crafting a sermon. While I’ve always known that we should be competent in our preaching, the idea of being adventurous had never crossed my mind.

As preachers, as church-goers, as Bible readers and adventure seekers, we are able to open up so much more than just a narrative text. We are able to open up a whole different world and immerse ourselves into the rich word of God. For a moment, we transcend ourselves and become one with God’s word- God’s living, breathing, loving word. As we venture into the word of God we leave behind a world of broken promises, restless despair, and stumbling wonderers. Instead, we enter into a world of radical hospitality, unshakable hope, and a love that is much deeper than our human reasoning could ever grasp.

We go back to a time where God is made known through a burning bush, a buffet of fish and loaves, and a covenant made through bread and wine. We glimpse into a future when we shall no longer carry the weight of our burdens because Jesus has chosen to carry our baggage.

As we dig deeper into the Word of God, may we do so as adventure seekers, as time travelers, and as students of a prophetic teacher. May we immerse ourselves fully into the reality of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and everlasting hope.

pic4Dear God, show me anew how your word is adventurous. Stir me from the complacent spaces of my life into your radical and compelling love. Thank you for calling me again and again every day to journey this life with you. Amen

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Monday, February 4th Devotional

Posted: February 4, 2013 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Young Adult Stories

Rev. Suzanne Kerr

Lee’s Summit Christian Church, Missouri

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I was blessed to help lead a College Mission Trip to Chicago during Winter Break this January. This was an incredible group of Young Adults who served boldly, listened prayerfully to the needs and circumstances of the people we served alongside, and built a loving and silly community during these long days we shared together. It was great timing for the trip, since most college students have several weeks of break—many in our group shared that they were so thankful to be doing something meaningful during this break from school.

Three churches partnered together for this mission experience— Lee’s Summit Christian Church of Lee’s Summit, MO and First Christian Church & Broadway Christian Church both of Columbia, MO. We served in elementary schools each morning, reading with children and helping teachers with administrative tasks so that they could focus on their students. In the evenings we served in soup kitchens, preparing food and serving the guests who came to eat.

Each morning before we split into two groups to go out to our mission sites, we had a few moments of scripture and prayer to get our day started. One morning, one of the students led our devotional time. Jordan is on the journey of answering her call to ministry and is in discernment about which seminary to attend. The Scripture she chose to share with us was from Jude, a book that I honestly have not spent much time reading or studying.

Jude 1:17-24 from The Message

17-19 But remember, dear friends, that the apostles of our Master, Jesus Christ, told us this would happen: “In the last days there will be people who don’t take these things seriously anymore. They’ll treat them like a joke, and make a religion of their own whims and lusts.” These are the ones who split churches, thinking only of themselves. There’s nothing to them, no sign of the Spirit!

20-21 But you, dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life!

22-23 Go easy on those who hesitate in the faith. Go after those who take the wrong way. Be tender with sinners, but not soft on sin. The sin itself stinks to high heaven.

Do you ever feel like you are getting off-course on your faith journey, or that you are distant from God? Some of my college and young adult friends share that they often struggle with their faith. Many are in new cities, away from their family & their faith community and have a difficult time trying to connect to a new community of faith. It can be distressing to think about those weak spots in our faith. We face so many transitions and so much change in our young adult years, we might be wondering,

“Where is the solid ground?” Jude reminds us to stay in the center of God’s love. This is where faith, prayer, hope, & mercy reside. Go easy on yourself, show yourself grace, when you are wavering in your faith. Know that God loves you, and focus on centering yourself in that love.

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Dear God, call me back to you.

Give me patience and tenderness for

those who struggle with faith,

including myself. Center my life in

your love, hope, & mercy.

Amen

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Clear the Chaos

Posted: March 1, 2012 by abrownlaj in Church, Devotionals, Young Adult Stories

We are 9 days into the Lenten season. Typically Lent is a time of reflection, repentance, and renewal. However many of us might still find ourselves caught up in the chaos of the everyday. How can we seek to find the Divine in the midst of pandemonium and three ring circus behavior we see around us?  How can we spend time reflecting? How can we focus on what we have done and ask forgiveness?  How can we find a quiet moment to renew our spirits? I don’t have a clear cut straight forward answer to any of these questions. I struggle to answer them for myself almost daily. Little steps, deep breaths, and extreme amounts of coffee seem to work for me, some times.

In the introduction to the devotion book The Balancing Act: A Daily Rediscovering of Grace, Robert Schnase says “Living in fast-forward, we neglect the interior life and the spiritual journey and misperceive the signs of God’s presence.” This statement caused me to think about the times I should have slowed down, taken a deep breath, and noticed that God was working far more efficiently than I was. How do we answer the questions above? The tough answer-WE have to make the effort. WE have to make the time. WE (you and I) not God, not our family- WE have to do it. The easy answer- WE have to make the effort. WE have to make the time. WE (you and I) not God, not our family- WE have to do it.

One of the devotions in this book talks about walking a labyrinth as a spiritual discipline. Perhaps this Lenten season you are still looking for a way to reflect, repent, and renew your self. Try following the path of this Finger Labyrinth(there are instructions at the bottom once you click the link).

May you seek to find God in the ordinary. Little steps, deep breaths…the chaos will clear(eventually).

Changing of the Seasons

Posted: September 16, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Church, Devotionals, Prayer, Uncategorized, Worship, Young Adult Stories

“I don’t like this cold…” SERIOUSLY not even two weeks ago some of the same people who are saying this were more recently saying “I can’t stand this heat, I wish it was cooler.” You got your wish, quit complaining! 

 Why is it we are never happy in the moment? It is too hot, too cold, too boring, too silly, too dry, too wet, too overwhelming, not overwhelming enough…the list continues. As I sit in my office this afternoon, reflecting on the past few week’s events (funerals, Sunday school starting, children and youth activities starting, countless meetings, and moments(very few moments) of silence) I hear in the back of my mind a voice not my own reciting the beginning of Ecclesiastes 3 

  1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. (NRSV)

 When I get to the end of verse 8 I think to myself I can reword this so that people will hear it in a way that causes them to stop and think and maybe STOP complaining…Here is my attempt at re-sounding the gospel for a new ear to hear.

 “For every part of life that spans the universe there is a purpose. A time to come to life in the Spirit of God and a time to retreat from being alive to recuperate; a time for it to be warm enough and wet enough that creation can bloom and a time for it to be cool enough and dry enough to harvest the creation God has granted us. A time to be bored and a time to have fun; a time to seek out friends and a time for friends to seek us out; a time be overwhelmed and a time to find solace in our Maker. The possibilities are endless because of God every part of life that spans the universe there is a purpose.”

 When we read the scriptures we have to keep in mind the context of the text we are reading; texts that were written in a particular time, for a particular group of people, for a particular reason…which we are not connected. This means in order for us to live into scripture today we must be aware of our own context and who we are a children of God. The scriptures are still speaking if we are willing to open our ears in a new way to hear them.

 Now is the time to re-tune our hearing. In the changing of the seasons God is very present and WE (you and I- NOT God) just need to be aware of it! Instead of complaining that it is too hot or too cold or too whatever it is today…Thank God for the changing of creation, for the opportunity to experience the power and grace of God in the world around you.

For every season- FIND YOUR PURPOSE!

I hope this post offers you a moment of reflection and prayer as the seasons change!

(posted by Andrea Brownlee YAC Member)

See You at General Assembly!

Posted: March 25, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in General Assembly, Young Adult Stories

Have you never been to a General Assembly?  Are you unsure about what to expect?  The following testimony was written by former YAC member Mayon Marcelino:

My first experience as a young adult at General Assembly was in 2007 in Fort Worth, Texas. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I travelled to Texas with my friend Andrew. This was my first time meeting other young adult Disciples outside my home church and quickly became friends with many of them.
I felt at ease sharing my experiences and taking part in workshops where interaction was key. In addition to worshipping together, and listening to keynote speakers, as young adults, we also had activities at night where fellowship took place.

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My Story

Posted: February 8, 2011 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Devotionals, Young Adult Stories

[T]alk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. … [T]ake care that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

Deuteronomy 6:7b-9, 12 NRSV

There is a colorful plastic key tag dangling amongst my keys and library and gym membership cards. That key tag is to me at the same time a celebration of the Promised Land into which I am being delivered and a reminder of the slavery out of which I have been brought. Hello, my name’s Rob, and I’m an addict. (This is where I pause for the readers to warmly and enthusiastically greet me with a friendly “Hi, Rob!”)

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Coming Together to Tell the Story

Posted: February 6, 2011 by bethanyfirch in Young Adult Stories
The theme for General Assembly this year is “Tell It!”, and we are encouraged to tell our own stories.  As both of my parents are pastors and I used to lead the Worship Team for Disciples on Campus at Chapman University, I have an abundance of stories.  So I will tell you the story of one of my favorite church times from this year: the church Christmas play.  I wrote the play as a talk show interviewing the classic characters about their parts of the Christmas story.  I even chose the song that the cast sang, “Go Tell It on the Mountain”, to emphasize how important it is to tell the Christmas story.  We had about a third of the church (over fifty people) of all ages involved in the production, including many of our young adults, and it was an outstanding success.