Southern Hills Christian Youth

The goings-ons, happenings, and whatnot of the SHCC youth and company


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The 4 Principles of the Pizza Dude Philosophy

It is 2015. I have not posted to this blog since, probably this time last year (I can’t bring myself to actually look). Just because I have let it lapse, does not mean that I have given up though. So, to renew its purpose of informing and keeping those who cannot/do not attend CHAOS, or for those who do attend but want a refresher, up to date on what we are doing in part of our preparation for Youth Sunday, here we go again.

The theme for this year’s Youth/Senior Sunday is taken from the book “This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women,” edited by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman. To summarize, I will quote the back of the book: “Based on the NPR series of the same name, the bestselling “This I Believe” features eighty essayists-from the famous to the previously unknown-completing the thought that begins the book’s title. Each piece compels us to rethink not only how we have arrived at our own personal beliefs but also the extent to which we share them with others. The result is a stirring and provocative trip inside the minds and hearts of a diverse group of people whose beliefs-and the remarkably varied ways in which they choose to express them-reveal the American spirit at its best.”

I have listened to the program on NPR and I have read the book. The reason I chose this book is because of the wonderful spectrum of beliefs that are represented therein. We are at a time as a youth group, as a church, a city, country, world…as the human race…when we need understanding and respect for those who think, feel, love, and believe differently than we do, more than ever. If you come by the youth room during any of our meetings (and you can…you are welcome anytime) you will find a vibrant and thoughtful discussion going on where many different ideas are presented. We don’t always agree, but we always love each other…or at least we try to, we are only human after all.

SO…what did we talk about last week? Great question! And my answer is the title of this blog, taken from the essay by Sarah Adams entitled “Be Cool to the Pizza Dude.” The four Principles are as follows…
1. “Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in humility and forgiveness…His pizza light atop his car glowing like a beacon reminds me to check myself as I flow through the world. After all, the dude is delivering pizza to young and old, families and singletons, gays and straights, black, whites, browns, rich and poor, and vegetarians and meat lovers alike.”
2. “Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in empathy…We’ve all taken jobs just to have a job because some money is better than none…In the big pizza wheel of life, sometimes you’re the hot bubbly cheese and sometimes you’re the burnt crust. It’s good to remember the fickle spinning of that wheel.”
3. “Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in honor, and it reminds me to honor honest work.” No explanation needed there I assume.
4. “Coolness to the pizza delivery dude is a practice in equality.”
She closes her essay with this: “Tip him well, friends and brethren, for that which you bestow freely and willingly will bring you all the happy luck that a grateful universe knows how to return.”

So what was our take away from this? Love. As always, love. Over the next semester we will be looking at our belief systems and those of those who believe differently than us, and at those who don’t believe anything at all. We do this so that we may go out into the world and talk with people, not at them. So that we my learn from others, as well as teach. We do this so that we can be the fruit of the spirit that we are called to be.

~One Love,
Amber

PS Adams goes into more detail in her essay that I have not included here. If you are interested in reading the rest of this (or any other essay that I use in our lessons and in this blog) please check the book out (and no, I will not receive anything for that plug).

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Discover your word, look up

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:1-5

Last time we asked ourselves several questions. What do I need in my life to be who or what I need to be? What needs to go from my life? What’s in my way?

Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to chase after your word or feel stressed at the thought of trying to choose your word. This is not something over which to lose sleep. After you have prepared your heart, you are ready to simply look-up to the Creator. You don’t have to force it, or add it as another check-mark on your to-do list of things to get done this week.

Last week we talked about un-plugging. This week we plug-in. We are not, however, plugging back into technology, but rather to prayer. It does not matter how you you pray, whether you do it by kneeling before bed with your hands folded, head bowed, eyes closed, or whether you meditate during Yoga class, or by simply talking to God while in the shower or taking a walk or driving to work or school…it is the time you spend in prayer that is important.

When you are praying, ask God to take control. WARNING: THIS IS DIFFICULT! OK, so asking God to take control is actually easy. Look, I’ll do it right here: “God, please take control.” Yep, I said those words out loud as I typed them. Now comes the difficult part. Actually allowing God to have that control. Anybody who knows me can tell you that I like to have control. I like order. I like organization. I make lists of the lists I need to make (no, seriously, I do that). I like to see things through and make sure that they get done, usually the way I want them done. But it is so very important to remember that we are asking God what it is that is wanted for us. What does God want to do in and through us?

This process is not about picking a word that might be good for us by our own standards. It’s about receiving the word that is meant for us to live into and share with others. The key phrase here is: Get a God word, not just a good word! (picture that being said with a cheesy grin)

SO: Homework for those of you playing the home version of our game: Take a piece of paper. Draw a heart on it. Get somewhere quiet. Take five minutes of silence to talk AND LISTEN to God. Ask what it is that God would have you know about your One Word journey and write down in the heart anything that comes to you. It might be a prayer, a few phrases, a picture, maybe your word will come to you this week, but whatever it is, take a few moments this week and reflect on what you see in your heart (your paper one and your actual one). Start making connections between your answers from last week’s questions and this week’s meditations.

Have a blessed week. Be well and love one another.

~One Love,

Amber

***Information and lesson plan taken from “One Word” by Gordon, Britton, and Page


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“One Word,” the beginning…

“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in theĀ  beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” -John 1:1-5

Our theme for Youth Sunday is “One Word” based on the book “One Word: that will change your life,” by Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page.

Last time we met, we watched Curly, from the movie City Slickers, explain to Mitch that the secret to life was just “one thing.” When asked what that one thing was, he replied, “well, that’s what you’ve got to figure out.” While I do not claim to know the secret to life, I am excited to lead you on a journey to find your “one word.” Your word is not unlike a New Year’s Resolution, in that it is somewhat of a goal. Something you are striving to be. The difference though, is that unlike resolutions which are so easily and quickly broken or forgotten, your one word is an idea. It is a simple, precise word that you can apply to any situation you are in, to any interactions you have, or to help with any decisions you make. Discovering your one word is a process, and the first step is to look in.

Sooooooo…Step 1. Look in: Prepare Your Heart

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” -John Wooden

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my axe.” -Abraham Lincoln

John Wooden was a UCLA basketball coach that led his team to 13 national championships and was the only person inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Abraham Lincoln was, well, Abraham Lincoln. Both of these men accomplished much (although in very different ways) and both obviously knew something to say about preparation.

Most of us fail in the preparation, not in the task. I know that I am more successful and focused on work and school if I have my calendar planned out. I get all my syllabi together, look at my test and due dates and get a plan for the semester (OK, maybe I am a bit OCD with three different calendars, but hey, I am prepared). The point is, the more prepared I am, the better grades I get, the happier and less stressed I am, the more time I have for fun and relaxing at home, etc…It’s a snowball effect.

Besides a lack of preparation, another troubling phenomenon we find ourselves in is the condition of being busy. Busy, busy, busy. We tend to glorify busy, but is it really a good thing? One interesting thing that Gordon points out is that the Chinese symbol for busy is the combination of two symbols: those for “heart” and for “killing.” Some of us are just plain addicted to being busy (guilty!). If you are like me you hit the ground running first thing in the morning, checking emails while you brush your teeth, eating lunch while catching up on work, feeling guilty for taking a break, feeling like that time is being wasted.

Even if you are not like me, addicted to being busy with work (as most youth will not be) you are busy in your own way. School is more and more demanding, extracurricular activities, sports, and of course…social media. We are PLUGGED IN. Always busy updating statuses, tweeting, instagramming pictures of our food, you know, really important things. Please understand, my intent is not to make fun. I myself use Facebook for more than just socializing. I use it for work, it is the main means of communication for many people, so these medias are not necessarily bad, but there comes a time to unplug.

Unplugging requires that we intentionally find solitude and silence, which is tough, it feels awkward. We are much more comfortable with TV or music on to keep us company. Unplugging is imperative and spans not just technologies. It means no TV, no music, no computer, no phone, no other people, no calendars, no to-do lists…

Some people find solace in the early mornings before the sun comes up, my best friend finds solace in the craziness of 25 mile runs, I like to sit out in the quiet of the evening. There is no right or wrong place to start clearing out the concerns, schedules, to-do’s, fears and whatnot from your head.

When you allow quiet, peace will come. And it is in this peace that you will be able to find out what you need and find your “One Word.”

When thinking about your “One Word” take some time this week to sit in quiet and ask yourself these three questions.

1. What do I need? What needs changed in my life? Why?

2. What’s in my way? What is preventing me from having what I need? Sometimes barriers are simply in our own minds.

3. What needs to go? Sometimes we are held back by mistakes or pain. Sometimes “should haves” or “could haves” prevent us from moving forward.

~One Love,

Amber

***Information and lesson plan taken from “One Word” by Jon Gordon


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Ladies and gentlemen…

I suppose the first thing a blogger should do is explain why he or she is blogging, so here I go. This blog’s purpose is to inform, share, and organize. That clears it right up, right? Let me digress. My name is Amber Brooks and I have the distinct pleasure and honor and blessing of serving as the Director of Youth Ministries at Southern Hills Christian Church in Edmond. As I work on and with this ministry I am ever striving to find ways in which to connect our youth to the church as a whole, to our community, to our world. Our youth program has a few Facebook pages, our church has a website, and I email regularly. I was looking for a platform that would meet somewhere between the brief Facebook postings and the multi-subject emails that I bombard parents and grandparents with daily. So here I am blogging.

Specifically, I will post here about what our programs are doing. I will spend time on each section. I hope to go into the whys of what we do what we do in the ways that we do it (again, I hit ya with the clarity). I welcome questions, comments, and any feedback on this project as I want it to be as useful as possible.

~One Love,

Amber