Saturday, August 18, 2012

Early to Rise

It's that time of year again! The time where we have to get up early, no matter what. School starts bright and early each weekday, and both parent and student are usually forced to abide by that crazy idea of getting up with the chickens.

It has been said (over and over, in fact) that "early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." It was Benjamin Franklin who said that, actually. But scripture seems to iterate the same idea over and over. Psalm 88:13 "But I call to You for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets You." Psalm 92:1-2 "It is good to sing praise, Lord, to sing praise to Your name, Most High, to declare Your faithful love in the morning." Psalm 119:147 "I rise before dawn and cry out for help; I put my hope in Your word." The Old Testament talks about giving sacrifices in the morning, and rising early to praise him.

So there must be something special about taking time in the morning to acknowledge God and commit our day to him. It wouldn't be talked about so much in the Bible if it weren't important. In fact, I can attest to the importance of giving time to God in the early morning. It's the beginning of the day. There are no excuses, if you're already up. Life hasn't gotten in the way yet. What better time to center yourself on God? It's just like giving the firstfruits of our labors, our tithes; this is the firstfruit of our day. I remember when I was growing up, I would get up with my dad before he had to go to work, around 6:00 in the morning, and every day we would read a chapter of Proverbs together. That was really special for me, and I will never forget that not only did he take the first part of his day and give it to God, but he also gave it to me. He gave me that time and attention, and together we honored God. I think that's important. Beyond everything else we have to do with our days, that's important.

Think about it. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs, and 30-31 days in most months. And it's an easy step to connect with God and to grow a parent-child relationship. We're going to be up anyway. Why not make it something to look forward to?

Thomas Myers
youTheology Intern
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's a Journey

 About a week ago, youTheology Journey 2012-2013 began with Orientation at Saint Paul School of Theology and Lydia Patterson Institute. It was a great time of learning, worshiping, serving, and bonding. In the video below, Ashley shares her impressions of Orientation 2012.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Perspectives from the Field: Its a Small World After All

Right now, the world is in the midst of the summer Olympics while youth are coming to the end of summer and MY youth group just finished a week-long Youth Mission Trip in Joplin.  We were among more than a dozen different youth groups working in Joplin that week.  Much work has already been done yet quite a bit remains for future teams of volunteers.  

Our theme was "Something Beautiful" and we reminded our youth that ...
  • God is the Potter.
  • You are the Clay.
  • He makes something beautiful.
  • YOU are God's Masterpiece.

During breaks and once I returned home, I heard stories from the Olympics as life-long dreams were fulfilled and the world comes together to set aside our differences and celebrate all that we can accomplish.  Still, it's important to remember that it is through God that all things are possible.  On Tuesday, our world became even smaller as NASA landed on Mars.   As we explore our community, our nation, our world and even OTHER worlds, how can we show and share God's love?

How do you show your youth how to Love their Neighbor around the corner and on the other side of the world?   Consider bringing your youth group to join us at "One God, One Day, One Love" - details are at and it's only $12 per person!

Thank you!
Mark R. Whitaker 
Director of Youth Ministries @ Avondale United Methodist Church
Chair, youTheology Advisory Board @ Saint Paul School of Theology
Loving God, Loving Neighbor
Developing Faithful Leaders for a Diverse Church and World Now and in the Future