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My First Time Preaching at Snow Camp (It Was GREAT!!!)

Posted on Apr 11 , 2017 in Blog & Camp & Kids_Ministry

Dear praying friends,

God came through big-time!

You see, I typically am asked to preach either to Adult audiences, or to Grade-School audiences. I’m not sure why, but I tend not to be invited to minister to the “not kids/not adults” High School audience. Though that seems to be changing as of late.

A camp up in Maine (about 3 hours from my home) invited me to be the speaker to approximately 30 High Schoolers at a Snow Camp 3-Day-Event. I was honored, but a little afraid too. But God came through! It was a tremendous time!

One unique aspect of this Christian Camp is that it attracts a number of kids from unchurched homes. The staff tells me that nearly half the kids come from unchurched homes, so they don’t get to hear the gospel very often, if at all. And not only that, but they have a relationship with the State and a handful of the students were from Foster Care homes. It’s quite the Mission Field! Awesome kids!

Before I share photos, I want to highlight a young lady who God really put on my heart. Please pray for her a lot. Here’s the prayer request I sent out, naming her “L” to protect her identity.

Please pray for L, an intelligent, thoughtful, hurting 15-year-old young lady who cried and shared her hurts with me and Pastor Phil. At 15, L has already experienced a lifetime of emotional and physical trauma. Her Mom killed herself because she was being physically abused by her partner. At age 12, L was told that it was her fault that her Grandfather died. She’s currently in a Foster Home, separated from her little sister who she adores. L has cut her own arms on purpose. She’s been hospitalized for suicide. And she wants to know if she can trust Jesus. Wiping tears away, she told me that she wants to be held safe by Jesus, like in my paintings, but wants to know why all this happened to her. She asked if Jesus can love her? She asked if Jesus can stop people from hitting her.
 

She told me, “You said that I could be adopted by God, but I don’t know if I want to be adopted.” She also said, “You said that God can be my Heavenly Father, but I don’t know if I want a Father.”
 

My heart is so heavy for L. I don’t cry much, but I want to sob for her.
 

Please pray for this precious, injured young lady. She needs spiritual, emotional, and medical healing. Please cry out to God on behalf of this girl. Thank you so much and God bless you!

Here are some photos from Snow Camp. Feel free to click on them to enlarge.

In addition to those photos, here are the sketches from the messages I preached (click to enlarge):

Great news: They invited me back next February to be the speaker next year. Praise God!

We love you and thank Jesus for you!

Thank you so much for your prayers, financial support, and notes of encouragement, without which we would not be able to reach the Lost for Jesus Christ!

Please contact us anytime and let us know how we can pray for you!

And please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be blessed by it!

For Christ and His gospel,

Mark, Shelby, Vivienne, Juliana, Caleb, and Gabriella

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December Newsletter: Jesus Did SOOO Much This Summer

Posted on Dec 17 , 2016 in Beach & Blog & Camp & Church_Teams & Colleges & Kids_Ministry & Newsletters & Object_Lessons & Sermons & Street_Evangelism & Subways & Training

Dear friends,

Recently I mailed off our latest paper newsletter.

God has been doing AMAZING things, and it’s a privilege to share some of it with you. I pray that this newsletter is a blessing to you!

God gave us Divine Appointments with Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Atheists, Agnostics, and just about anyone you can imagine.

We’ve also been able to go into Local Churches and build up, train, and encourage Christians to share their faith wherever they are!

And we had lots of Mission Trip Groups come to us this summer to train, be equipped, and go back home to be more effective Ambassadors for Jesus where they live!

I pray that you’ll be as encouraged as I am!!!

This newsletter has mostly photos in it, so it doesn’t take too long to read.

If you want to read it right away, or if you don’t get a paper one, please feel free to read an electronic version by clicking on the graphic below…

If you don’t usually receive the paper copy of the newsletter, but would like to, please contact us and let us know your address and we’ll gladly add you to our mailing list! ๐Ÿ™‚

We love you and thank God for you! Please contact us anytime and let us know how we can pray for you!

And please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be blessed by it!

For Christ and His gospel,

Mark, Shelby, Vivienne, Juliana, Caleb, and Gabriella

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October Newsletter: Amazing Summer of Outreach, and News About Deputation

Posted on Oct 19 , 2015 in Beach & Blog & Camp & Church_Teams & Colleges & Kids_Ministry & Newsletters & Sermons & Street_Evangelism & Subways & Training

Dear friends,

Recently I mailed off our latest paper newsletter.

This goes out about 4 times per year.

God has been doing AMAZING things, and it’s a privilege to share some of it with you. I pray that this newsletter is a blessing to you!

We had effective evangelism at the Beach, on the Streets, in Neighborhoods, at Camp, and at local Churches. Summer is a great time for Church Mission Trips and we had some superb Teams who were trained and are going back to their homes as more effective Evangelists! Exiting Stuff!!!

I pray that you’ll be as encouraged as I am!!!

This newsletter has mostly photos in it, so it doesn’t take too long to read.

There’s a second page that explains our Deputation situation, and I ask that you prayerfully read that page please.

If you want to read it right away, or if you don’t get a paper one, please feel free to read an electronic version by clicking on the graphic below…

If you don’t usually receive the paper copy of the newsletter, but would like to, please contact us and let us know your address and we’ll gladly add you to our mailing list! ๐Ÿ™‚

We love you and thank God for you! Please contact us anytime and let us know how we can pray for you!

And please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be blessed by it!

For Christ and His gospel,

Mark, Shelby, Vivienne, Juliana, Caleb, and Gabriella

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God Changed Lives at Camp This Summer

Posted on Oct 08 , 2015 in Blog & Camp & Kids_Ministry & Training

Dear Praying Friends,

Working as the Youth Pastor at Camp is always wonderful, and this year was no different.

I’ll do my best to share what happened so you can be a part of the amazing ways God moved.

You’d think that at a “Christian Camp,” we’d get kids that “have it all together.”

That’s not the case at all!

About 1/3 of the kids come from homes where they do not attend church. For them, this week at camp is all they get for learning about who God is, who God says they are, their need for salvation, and how to become a child of God.

Many of the kids, and teen staff, shared with me about their broken homes, the hurts of divorce, and abuse.

As Youth Pastor, it is my privilege to preach 11 times each week:

  • A 5-Day Series on “The Gospel Through Creation,”
  • A 5-Day Series on “The Ministry Years of Jesus,”
  • A stand-alone evangelistic Bible message to close out the week.

These messages are very powerful because they’re right from the Scriptures. I believe that kids are very intelligent and can understand Theology if it is explained to them, and that was definitely the case this summer. So many kids reacted so positively to the Word of God and the Gospel Proclamation!

Over 125 kids attended camp the two weeks I Pastored there.

A number of kids publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior! Praise God!

Many more confessed to not living the Christian life they should and committed to turning from idols in their lives. Please keep these new brothers and sisters in Christ in your prayers, and let’s praise God for the tremendous work He’s done!!!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)

God’s Word is powerful because God is powerful!!!

If you want to see what one of the Bible messages looks like for yourself, and you have a spare 49 minutes, please feel free to watch “You Must Be Born Again.”

Here is the “Before and After” photos for that message:

Click on photos to enlarge them...
I got to teach this to both kids AND the Adults too. It was from John, chapter 3. Because it was a campfire service at night, I used fluorescent paint under a black light.

The Religious leaders in Jesus' day thought there were 2 things you needed in order to be "right" with God: 1) the right birth (be Jewish), and, 2) good deeds. Jesus met with a religious leader named Nicodemus and told him "You Must Be Born Again." 

Jesus taught that our 1st birth is sending us to death because we all come from Adam. Jesus alluded to Numbers 21 to prove that our "good deeds" aren't as good as we think they are. 

We NEED a second birth. 

Our first birth puts us into the family of Adam. All of Adam's descendants inherit his sin, leading to the Lake of Fire. We must be ADOPTED into a 2nd family, the family of Jesus. Those in Jesus' family are seen as righteous, leading to Eternal Life. We are adopted into God's family when we turn from our sins and trust in the Savior! Powerful and essential and life-changing message!
I got to teach this to both kids AND the Adults too. It was from John, chapter 3. Because it was a campfire service at night, I used fluorescent paint under a black light. The Religious leaders in Jesus' day thought there were 2 things you needed in order to be "right" with God: 1) the right birth (be Jewish), and, 2) good deeds. Jesus met with a religious leader named Nicodemus and told him "You Must Be Born Again." Jesus taught that our 1st birth is sending us to death because we all come from Adam. Jesus alluded to Numbers 21 to prove that our "good deeds" aren't as good as we think they are. We NEED a second birth. Our first birth puts us into the family of Adam. All of Adam's descendants inherit his sin, leading to the Lake of Fire. We must be ADOPTED into a 2nd family, the family of Jesus. Those in Jesus' family are seen as righteous, leading to Eternal Life. We are adopted into God's family when we turn from our sins and trust in the Savior! Powerful and essential and life-changing message!


 

I have some photos that will also show how God moved at camp this summer. I pray you enjoy these…

Click on photos to enlarge them...
Two weeks before Camp Ministry, I honestly didn't know how we were going to drive there. Our vehicle was gone. Then this amazing 2007 Dodge Durango was generously donated to us! WOW! And we were off for three weeks of camp ministry 6 hours away. Praise God! Two adults, four kids, two dogs, one roof cargo bag, one trailer, and a partridge in a pear tree. It's how we roll! God provided for our needs again!!!
Two weeks before Camp Ministry, I honestly didn't know how we were going to drive there. Our vehicle was gone. Then this amazing 2007 Dodge Durango was generously donated to us! WOW! And we were off for three weeks of camp ministry 6 hours away. Praise God! Two adults, four kids, two dogs, one roof cargo bag, one trailer, and a partridge in a pear tree. It's how we roll! God provided for our needs again!!!
Living Waters Bible Conference has become a very special place to our family. This was my 4th Summer serving as Youth Pastor.
Living Waters Bible Conference has become a very special place to our family. This was my 4th Summer serving as Youth Pastor.
One reason we came to Camp a week early was so I could train the Staff (most of whom are teenagers!) I got to teach on critical topics, like, "What the Gospel Is," "What the Gospel Isn't," "How to Simply and Effectively Evangelize," and "Sharing Jesus With Kids." Please pray with me that all the Staff will be better equipped not just for this summer, but their whole lives.
One reason we came to Camp a week early was so I could train the Staff (most of whom are teenagers!) I got to teach on critical topics, like, "What the Gospel Is," "What the Gospel Isn't," "How to Simply and Effectively Evangelize," and "Sharing Jesus With Kids." Please pray with me that all the Staff will be better equipped not just for this summer, but their whole lives.
Since the first week was for training the Teen-aged Staff in Evangelism, there were no campers yet. And Juliana and Gabriella had the whole lake to themselves! Not a bad perk. By the way, the land on the other side of the lake is Canada!
Since the first week was for training the Teen-aged Staff in Evangelism, there were no campers yet. And Juliana and Gabriella had the whole lake to themselves! Not a bad perk. By the way, the land on the other side of the lake is Canada!
Not a bad view for my morning Bible reading and prayer time!!! I definitely wasn't "suffering for the Lord."
Not a bad view for my morning Bible reading and prayer time!!! I definitely wasn't "suffering for the Lord."
A few days there and we had a problem. Caleb had fallen from a shed and onto sharp broken porcelain! So we got aquainted with the Emergency Room up there! Caleb got 8 stitches on his leg, and derma bond on his arm. And a tetanus shot too. He was such a brave kid! I thank God that Caleb didn't hit the porcelain anywhere else or this might have ended much differently. Also, we had a friend at camp who is a nurse and she was so helpful in bandaging up the cuts before we could get to the hospital. Praise God!
A few days there and we had a problem. Caleb had fallen from a shed and onto sharp broken porcelain! So we got aquainted with the Emergency Room up there! Caleb got 8 stitches on his leg, and derma bond on his arm. And a tetanus shot too. He was such a brave kid! I thank God that Caleb didn't hit the porcelain anywhere else or this might have ended much differently. Also, we had a friend at camp who is a nurse and she was so helpful in bandaging up the cuts before we could get to the hospital. Praise God!
As you can see, Vivienne was very happy to see her brother back safe from the hospital. Nice "photobomb" by Juliana in the back!
As you can see, Vivienne was very happy to see her brother back safe from the hospital. Nice "photobomb" by Juliana in the back!
The "fun" never ends with active kids. A few days after Caleb was at the Emergency Room, Juliana fell and broke her foot! We must have really liked the Hospital because it seems we were there a lot. Here's an X Ray of Juliana's broken foot. Poor kid had to be in a cast for 6 weeks. She was devastated to have her activities so limited during summer. Thankfully it was a removeable cast so she could do some swimming if she was really careful.
The "fun" never ends with active kids. A few days after Caleb was at the Emergency Room, Juliana fell and broke her foot! We must have really liked the Hospital because it seems we were there a lot. Here's an X Ray of Juliana's broken foot. Poor kid had to be in a cast for 6 weeks. She was devastated to have her activities so limited during summer. Thankfully it was a removeable cast so she could do some swimming if she was really careful.
It's a wonderful thing to see kids learning to praise Jesus at a young age. And many of the kids don't even know Jesus yet, so they're learning about Him right here.
It's a wonderful thing to see kids learning to praise Jesus at a young age. And many of the kids don't even know Jesus yet, so they're learning about Him right here.
This camper was helping me with a "gospel magic trick" and apparently was enjoying it. Great laugh!
This camper was helping me with a "gospel magic trick" and apparently was enjoying it. Great laugh!
I LOVE this! In between activities I spotted Kevin staring at and studying last night's painting. That's why I hang them on the walls, so the kids will SEE them and be reminded of the vital teachings. At 8-years-old, Kevin is one of the younger campers, but even an 8-year-old can understand and respond to God's Word! Praise God!
I LOVE this! In between activities I spotted Kevin staring at and studying last night's painting. That's why I hang them on the walls, so the kids will SEE them and be reminded of the vital teachings. At 8-years-old, Kevin is one of the younger campers, but even an 8-year-old can understand and respond to God's Word! Praise God!
It was a BIG week for the Emergency Room. Tyler, one of the Camp Counselors was taken to the Emergency Room while playing tag with the kids. He tore his Achilles tendon, which requires surgery and 6-9 months of recovery. He's a great great Christian brother and a terrific young man. In this photo he's dressed as a "nerd" as part of the game. He's very funny and has a tremendous heart for Jesus and a great tender spirit when working with the campers. Please keep Tyler in your prayers for his continued recovery.
It was a BIG week for the Emergency Room. Tyler, one of the Camp Counselors was taken to the Emergency Room while playing tag with the kids. He tore his Achilles tendon, which requires surgery and 6-9 months of recovery. He's a great great Christian brother and a terrific young man. In this photo he's dressed as a "nerd" as part of the game. He's very funny and has a tremendous heart for Jesus and a great tender spirit when working with the campers. Please keep Tyler in your prayers for his continued recovery.
It's wonderful to see kids learning to sing praises to God! And as a daddy it's great to see my daughter Vivienne (in front in red) leading the kids with hand motions. Praise ye the Lord, hallelujah!
It's wonderful to see kids learning to sing praises to God! And as a daddy it's great to see my daughter Vivienne (in front in red) leading the kids with hand motions. Praise ye the Lord, hallelujah!
The 10 Commandments are like a mirror. They show us how "dirty" we are on the inside. So for one of my Bible teachings, I wrote the 10 Commandments on an actual mirror and asked the kids if they could hit the mirror with a hammer so only one of them breaks? Nope, it can't be done. If you break one, you break them all! So I actually broke the mirror to illustrate. I pray that will stay in their mind. "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10).
The 10 Commandments are like a mirror. They show us how "dirty" we are on the inside. So for one of my Bible teachings, I wrote the 10 Commandments on an actual mirror and asked the kids if they could hit the mirror with a hammer so only one of them breaks? Nope, it can't be done. If you break one, you break them all! So I actually broke the mirror to illustrate. I pray that will stay in their mind. "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10).
The camp had a very large poster area where campers and staff could write things that they learned at camp. It encouraged me to see "Jesus I am Yours!" in OAC-style "ladder lettering" like I do in my paintings.  :)
The camp had a very large poster area where campers and staff could write things that they learned at camp. It encouraged me to see "Jesus I am Yours!" in OAC-style "ladder lettering" like I do in my paintings. ๐Ÿ™‚
Another example of a camper or staff who used Open Air Campaigner's "Ladder Lettering" to explain a vital truth - "Turn and Trust!"
Another example of a camper or staff who used Open Air Campaigner's "Ladder Lettering" to explain a vital truth - "Turn and Trust!"
Music and testimonies by the camp fire before the Bible message.
Music and testimonies by the camp fire before the Bible message.
Friday night is an outdoor campfire service. This is a funny photo because it's a panorama - the kind where you move your camera and it digitally "stitches" the photos together. So check out Collin on the left in the red hoodie. After I started the panorama, he ran real fast to my right and you can see him all the way on the right too. So it gives the "illusion" that he's in two places at once. Funny.
Friday night is an outdoor campfire service. This is a funny photo because it's a panorama - the kind where you move your camera and it digitally "stitches" the photos together. So check out Collin on the left in the red hoodie. After I started the panorama, he ran real fast to my right and you can see him all the way on the right too. So it gives the "illusion" that he's in two places at once. Funny.
Morgan, Eilidh, Ashley, and Ashley invited me into this photo just because I was wearing plaid like them. Teenagers are crazy!
Morgan, Eilidh, Ashley, and Ashley invited me into this photo just because I was wearing plaid like them. Teenagers are crazy!
Gabriella with some of her camper friends. I'm not sure why Gabriella is frowning, but she's still adorable.
Gabriella with some of her camper friends. I'm not sure why Gabriella is frowning, but she's still adorable.
Lexy was one of the campers who gave testimony that she received Jesus as her Savior that week. Praise God! This was at the Friday-night campfire service.
Lexy was one of the campers who gave testimony that she received Jesus as her Savior that week. Praise God! This was at the Friday-night campfire service.
It gets pretty dark at the Friday Night Campfire service. The sketch is painted with fluorescent paint that glows under a black light. It makes it both visible and memorable.
It gets pretty dark at the Friday Night Campfire service. The sketch is painted with fluorescent paint that glows under a black light. It makes it both visible and memorable.
These are the amazing kids I got to minister to for the first week. A number of them gave testimony that they had repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus Christ. Many more said they wanted to get rid of "idols" in their life that were distracting them from Jesus. Praise God!
These are the amazing kids I got to minister to for the first week. A number of them gave testimony that they had repented of their sin and trusted in Jesus Christ. Many more said they wanted to get rid of "idols" in their life that were distracting them from Jesus. Praise God!
This was soooo special. Jina (on the left) lives about an hour away from the camp. She was Gabriella's first Camp Counsellor 4 years ago. So when Jina found out Gabriella was at camp, she drove up to see her.
This was soooo special. Jina (on the left) lives about an hour away from the camp. She was Gabriella's first Camp Counsellor 4 years ago. So when Jina found out Gabriella was at camp, she drove up to see her.
Juliana was sooo happy to be reunited with her friends Aurora and Raiya! They stay in touch during the winter through the mail.  :)
Juliana was sooo happy to be reunited with her friends Aurora and Raiya! They stay in touch during the winter through the mail. ๐Ÿ™‚
One of the guys who works at the Camp is a very talented artist. He surprised me with this fun and amazingly-well-done caricature of me. What an honor! And he did some reasearch too, because the painting in the drawing is actually accurate to one of the paintings I use. He said he found it on my website and used that to draw it in. This is very cool and fun! I think I look better in this than in real-life!!!
One of the guys who works at the Camp is a very talented artist. He surprised me with this fun and amazingly-well-done caricature of me. What an honor! And he did some reasearch too, because the painting in the drawing is actually accurate to one of the paintings I use. He said he found it on my website and used that to draw it in. This is very cool and fun! I think I look better in this than in real-life!!!
While I was at Camp, the Pastor from one of my favorite Churches up in Maine called and asked if I could preach at his Kid's service. Perfect timing because I was already in Northern Maine! This young lady was helping me with a gospel "magic trick."
While I was at Camp, the Pastor from one of my favorite Churches up in Maine called and asked if I could preach at his Kid's service. Perfect timing because I was already in Northern Maine! This young lady was helping me with a gospel "magic trick."
I got to preach a message on why we need to be saved, what God did so we could be saved, and what we need to do. I pray that many children will receive this message with true faith.
I got to preach a message on why we need to be saved, what God did so we could be saved, and what we need to do. I pray that many children will receive this message with true faith.
Caleb, one of the Camp Counselors, surprised me by decorating himself with "memes" of some of my "catch phrases." I didn't even know that I had catch phrases! The campers loved it and I took it as a compliment. It was a compliment, right?
Caleb, one of the Camp Counselors, surprised me by decorating himself with "memes" of some of my "catch phrases." I didn't even know that I had catch phrases! The campers loved it and I took it as a compliment. It was a compliment, right?
This is very special because it involves Highwater, a very old, but sweet horse that has served the camp for many years. They were going to euthanize Highwater last summer, but Shelby invested a lot of time and love into Highwater to nurse him back to better health. As a result, he didn't need to be "put down." He even got strong enough to bring kids on trail rides again, something Highwater enjoys doing. So when Paige drew a photo of "her favorite horse" and it was Highwater, that really made me and Shelby feel very special.
This is very special because it involves Highwater, a very old, but sweet horse that has served the camp for many years. They were going to euthanize Highwater last summer, but Shelby invested a lot of time and love into Highwater to nurse him back to better health. As a result, he didn't need to be "put down." He even got strong enough to bring kids on trail rides again, something Highwater enjoys doing. So when Paige drew a photo of "her favorite horse" and it was Highwater, that really made me and Shelby feel very special.
This camper was helping me with a very cool gospel illustration called "The Chemical Cross."
This camper was helping me with a very cool gospel illustration called "The Chemical Cross."
All 5 paintings from "The Ministry Years of Jesus" series hanging on the walls. I always give the paintings away to the kids and they love them.
All 5 paintings from "The Ministry Years of Jesus" series hanging on the walls. I always give the paintings away to the kids and they love them.
This is what happens when the kitchen staff gets a little sleep deprived. They make mashed-potato snowmen!  :D
This is what happens when the kitchen staff gets a little sleep deprived. They make mashed-potato snowmen! ๐Ÿ˜€
My son, Caleb, and some of his bunk-mates enjoying themselves with what all kids love - LEGOS!
My son, Caleb, and some of his bunk-mates enjoying themselves with what all kids love - LEGOS!
Vivienne riding "Lacy" in a horse demo.
Vivienne riding "Lacy" in a horse demo.
The winners of the Horsey-Soccer Game! Vivienne is second from the left.
The winners of the Horsey-Soccer Game! Vivienne is second from the left.
These are the GREAT kids and teens I got to preach to 11 times the second week. At least 6 kids said they repented and believed in Jesus and get this, two of them didn't even have a Bible. What a privilege to give two new believers their very own copy of the Word of God! Please pray that these kids will grow and blossom in Jesus!
These are the GREAT kids and teens I got to preach to 11 times the second week. At least 6 kids said they repented and believed in Jesus and get this, two of them didn't even have a Bible. What a privilege to give two new believers their very own copy of the Word of God! Please pray that these kids will grow and blossom in Jesus!
The hardest part about leaving camp is the FRIENDS we leave behind. This is the Vikberg family and we see them every summer at camp and have grown to love them very very much.
The hardest part about leaving camp is the FRIENDS we leave behind. This is the Vikberg family and we see them every summer at camp and have grown to love them very very much.

I really do believe that kids are smart and can understand good Theology. Below are “Before” and “After” photos from BOTH of the 5-Part-Series I taught, with descriptions of each one. Feel free to check them out to get a feel for what the kids learned.

The Gospel Through Creation

Click on photos to enlarge them...
This is part 1 in a 5-day series on "The Gospel in Creation." I believe kids are smart and can understand Theology when explained to them. So we learned God is "Eternal," meaning He always existed and always will. We learned that God does not have a body of flesh and bones, but is a Spirit. We learned that there is only 1 True God, and He exists in Three Persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We learned that God does not need anything. He is self-sufficient. We learned that God is omni-present (everywhere at all times), and that God is more powerful that everything! Great Theology there, and the kids really "got it." Praise God!
This is part 1 in a 5-day series on "The Gospel in Creation." I believe kids are smart and can understand Theology when explained to them. So we learned God is "Eternal," meaning He always existed and always will. We learned that God does not have a body of flesh and bones, but is a Spirit. We learned that there is only 1 True God, and He exists in Three Persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We learned that God does not need anything. He is self-sufficient. We learned that God is omni-present (everywhere at all times), and that God is more powerful that everything! Great Theology there, and the kids really "got it." Praise God!
This was part 2 in "The Gospel in Creation." We learned that God is soooo powerful, He can make things from NOTHING! That's pretty amazing. And we learned how life began, and what God made on each of the six days of Creation. We also learned that out of all of creation, humans are the only ones made in God's image, which means, like God, we can reason, and analyze, and make decisions. At the end of the 6th day, God saw that it was "very good." But why aren't things good today? We'll learn that in Part 3.
This was part 2 in "The Gospel in Creation." We learned that God is soooo powerful, He can make things from NOTHING! That's pretty amazing. And we learned how life began, and what God made on each of the six days of Creation. We also learned that out of all of creation, humans are the only ones made in God's image, which means, like God, we can reason, and analyze, and make decisions. At the end of the 6th day, God saw that it was "very good." But why aren't things good today? We'll learn that in Part 3.
This is Part 3 in "The Gospel Through Creation." We learned "How Death Came Into the World." Adam and Eve had only one rule, and they said "yes" to sin, and that lead to death. The whole human race died three ways: 1) We were cut off from God, our life source. Just like when a branch is cut off from the trunk, it begins dying, the same thing happened to us. Now God is not our friend, but we are enemies of God through rebellion. 2) We will all someday die physically. 3) We all deserve to live forever in the Lake of Fire. Our only way out is through a Savior. I told the kids that they'd learn about God's way out - The Savior - in Part 4!
This is Part 3 in "The Gospel Through Creation." We learned "How Death Came Into the World." Adam and Eve had only one rule, and they said "yes" to sin, and that lead to death. The whole human race died three ways: 1) We were cut off from God, our life source. Just like when a branch is cut off from the trunk, it begins dying, the same thing happened to us. Now God is not our friend, but we are enemies of God through rebellion. 2) We will all someday die physically. 3) We all deserve to live forever in the Lake of Fire. Our only way out is through a Savior. I told the kids that they'd learn about God's way out - The Savior - in Part 4!
This was Part 4 in "The Gospel Through Creation." We learned that as a result of breaking God's Law, Adam and Eve were now ashamed, and afraid of God. They had never experienced these negative emotions before. Then they started blaming one another, another new aspect of their relationship now that sin was in the world. But God was merciful! He made leather skins to cover them, and that requires the death of an animal. The very first death ever was a blood sacrifice by God Himself. God also promised to crush the head of the serpent (Satan). But there were consequences to Adam and Eve's rebellion. The worst is that Paradise was lost, and without a Savior, all humanity is doomed for the Lake of Fire. The greatest news ever is that God provided Jesus as a substitute to die in our place, paying for our sins with His blood! More on that in Part 5!
This was Part 4 in "The Gospel Through Creation." We learned that as a result of breaking God's Law, Adam and Eve were now ashamed, and afraid of God. They had never experienced these negative emotions before. Then they started blaming one another, another new aspect of their relationship now that sin was in the world. But God was merciful! He made leather skins to cover them, and that requires the death of an animal. The very first death ever was a blood sacrifice by God Himself. God also promised to crush the head of the serpent (Satan). But there were consequences to Adam and Eve's rebellion. The worst is that Paradise was lost, and without a Savior, all humanity is doomed for the Lake of Fire. The greatest news ever is that God provided Jesus as a substitute to die in our place, paying for our sins with His blood! More on that in Part 5!
This was Part 5 in "The Gospel Through Creation." We learned that God demanded a blood sacrifice because sin must be paid for with death. Abel obeyed and offered a blood sacrifice in faith. In contrast, Cain did what seemed right in his eyes and gave a produce offering. 

God accepted Abel. Cain had the opportunity to admit what he did was wrong, but instead he tragically killed his brother. 

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the animal sacrificial system. We can be like Cain and do what is right in our own eyes, and get what we deserve - the lake of fire. Or we can be like Abel and believe God, and choose a blood sacrifice - Jesus Christ. 

Jesus' blood sacrifice covers us if we turn from our sin and trust in the gospel! There was a very clear gospel presentation and everyone was exhorted to turn to Jesus. A handful indicated that they trusted in Jesus. Praise God! Please pray for the kids who heard this vital message!!!
This was Part 5 in "The Gospel Through Creation." We learned that God demanded a blood sacrifice because sin must be paid for with death. Abel obeyed and offered a blood sacrifice in faith. In contrast, Cain did what seemed right in his eyes and gave a produce offering. God accepted Abel. Cain had the opportunity to admit what he did was wrong, but instead he tragically killed his brother. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the animal sacrificial system. We can be like Cain and do what is right in our own eyes, and get what we deserve - the lake of fire. Or we can be like Abel and believe God, and choose a blood sacrifice - Jesus Christ. Jesus' blood sacrifice covers us if we turn from our sin and trust in the gospel! There was a very clear gospel presentation and everyone was exhorted to turn to Jesus. A handful indicated that they trusted in Jesus. Praise God! Please pray for the kids who heard this vital message!!!

The Ministry Years of Jesus

Click on photos to enlarge them...
This was Part 1 in a 5-Part Series on "The Ministry Years of Jesus." When Jesus was on the earth, people had varied opinions on who Jesus really was. A good teacher? A revolutionary? A false prophet? People still question this today. God the Father audibly called Jesus "The Son of God" at his transfiguration in Matthew chapter 17. Jesus proved it through his miracles, predicting the future, healing people, exercising demons, and raising himself from the dead. Who do you say Jesus is? There is no more important question.
This was Part 1 in a 5-Part Series on "The Ministry Years of Jesus." When Jesus was on the earth, people had varied opinions on who Jesus really was. A good teacher? A revolutionary? A false prophet? People still question this today. God the Father audibly called Jesus "The Son of God" at his transfiguration in Matthew chapter 17. Jesus proved it through his miracles, predicting the future, healing people, exercising demons, and raising himself from the dead. Who do you say Jesus is? There is no more important question.
This was part 2 in "The Ministry Years of Jesus." John, chapter 11 - the raising of Lazarus. Jesus showed that He is fully God by knowing that Lazarus had died, and having the power to raise him. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26). Jesus showed that He is fully man by weeping at the death of Lazarus. There's soooo much in this amazing passage! Lazarus was dead. Jesus made him alive. Then Lazarus became a testimony and many others turned to Jesus because of him. God does the same thing with us! We are all born with a soul that's dead in sin. Jesus makes us born-again. And then He uses us to reach others! But be careful, when God uses us, satanic forces will try to stop us and even try to kill us, just as the jealous religious leaders in Jesus' day wanted to kill Him and Lazarus too.
This was part 2 in "The Ministry Years of Jesus." John, chapter 11 - the raising of Lazarus. Jesus showed that He is fully God by knowing that Lazarus had died, and having the power to raise him. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26). Jesus showed that He is fully man by weeping at the death of Lazarus. There's soooo much in this amazing passage! Lazarus was dead. Jesus made him alive. Then Lazarus became a testimony and many others turned to Jesus because of him. God does the same thing with us! We are all born with a soul that's dead in sin. Jesus makes us born-again. And then He uses us to reach others! But be careful, when God uses us, satanic forces will try to stop us and even try to kill us, just as the jealous religious leaders in Jesus' day wanted to kill Him and Lazarus too.
This was Part 3 in a 5-Part-Series on the "Ministry Years of Jesus." It came from John 10. In Jesus' day, sheep were safe from thieves and predators only if they were in the pen, and there was only one way in, guarded by the Shepherd. Jesus said He was that one way to safety. He is THE GOOD SHEPHERD. This is just like in Noah's day where there was only one way to be saved from the flood. The Ark was a preview of salvation in Christ. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus calls, leads, loves, cares for, protects, dies for, and knows His sheep. Nothing is more important than knowing for certain that you are one of Jesus' sheep, protected forever in the Father's hand. I told the kids they'd learn how to belong to Christ in the coming lessons.
This was Part 3 in a 5-Part-Series on the "Ministry Years of Jesus." It came from John 10. In Jesus' day, sheep were safe from thieves and predators only if they were in the pen, and there was only one way in, guarded by the Shepherd. Jesus said He was that one way to safety. He is THE GOOD SHEPHERD. This is just like in Noah's day where there was only one way to be saved from the flood. The Ark was a preview of salvation in Christ. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus calls, leads, loves, cares for, protects, dies for, and knows His sheep. Nothing is more important than knowing for certain that you are one of Jesus' sheep, protected forever in the Father's hand. I told the kids they'd learn how to belong to Christ in the coming lessons.
This was Part 4 of a 5-Part Series on the "Ministry Years of Jesus." I had the privilege to teach the kids the vital passage about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, from Luke, chapter 18. The Pharisee thought God's Way to Heaven was by being good and doing religious deeds. The Tax Collector was humble, pleading for God's mercy. God's mercy was paid for at the cross! Both men were sinners, but The Only Way to be forgiven is through God's mercy, given through Jesus Christ. Even a sinful Tax Collector, if he comes humbly to God through the cross, can be forgiven! Please keep the kids in prayer, that God will reach their hearts.
This was Part 4 of a 5-Part Series on the "Ministry Years of Jesus." I had the privilege to teach the kids the vital passage about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, from Luke, chapter 18. The Pharisee thought God's Way to Heaven was by being good and doing religious deeds. The Tax Collector was humble, pleading for God's mercy. God's mercy was paid for at the cross! Both men were sinners, but The Only Way to be forgiven is through God's mercy, given through Jesus Christ. Even a sinful Tax Collector, if he comes humbly to God through the cross, can be forgiven! Please keep the kids in prayer, that God will reach their hearts.
This was Part 5 in a 5-Part Series on "The Ministry Years of Jesus." In a culture that wanted children to act more like adults, Jesus said he wanted adults to become like children in order to enter the Kingdom of God. A rich young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to enter Heaven. But there's nothing we can do. We've all sinned. But this man mistakenly thought he had successfully kept all of God's commandments. To show this man his pride, Jesus took him through the 10 Commandments, to show that we're all sinners. "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and "None are good" (Romans 3:10). Our only hope is to trust in the Only Savior. Because He loves us, Jesus died for sinners. If we turn from our sins and trust in Jesus, that He died and rose again, and is THE ONLY SAVIOR, then we will be Born Again and be adopted into God's family. What GREAT news!!!
This was Part 5 in a 5-Part Series on "The Ministry Years of Jesus." In a culture that wanted children to act more like adults, Jesus said he wanted adults to become like children in order to enter the Kingdom of God. A rich young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to enter Heaven. But there's nothing we can do. We've all sinned. But this man mistakenly thought he had successfully kept all of God's commandments. To show this man his pride, Jesus took him through the 10 Commandments, to show that we're all sinners. "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and "None are good" (Romans 3:10). Our only hope is to trust in the Only Savior. Because He loves us, Jesus died for sinners. If we turn from our sins and trust in Jesus, that He died and rose again, and is THE ONLY SAVIOR, then we will be Born Again and be adopted into God's family. What GREAT news!!!

If you want to watch the videos from “The Ministry Years of Jesus,” they are all available at: http://luke-15.org/2015/08/new-5-part-series-the-ministry-years-of-jesus/.

I hope this post has encouraged you. God is working in the next generation!!!

Thank you for your partnership, prayers, and financial support, without which we could not be reaching the lost for Jesus Christ!!!

Please share this update with others you think would be blessed by it!

all for Jesus,

Mark (and family)

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New 5-Part Series: The Ministry Years of Jesus

Posted on Aug 08 , 2015 in Blog & Camp & Kids_Ministry & Sermons

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to serve as Youth Pastor at a Christian Camp. God provided GREAT kids, many from non-Christian homes.

Every night, I preached a different message in a brand-new 5-part series on The Ministry Years of Jesus.

For each message, you’ll find a synopsis of the teaching, the complete message on video, a “before” photo of the painting, and an “after” photo. Please feel free to click on the photos to enlarge them. I hope they are a blessing to you!

And to give credit where credit is due, I borrowed heavily from the great work OAC Missionary Aaron Wentz did in developing this series. And Aaron borrowed heavily from the fantastic curriculum from New Tribes Missions called, Creation to Christ.


  1. The Son of God:

    Description: When Jesus was on the earth, people had varied opinions on who Jesus really was. A good teacher? A revolutionary? A false prophet? People still question this today. God the Father audibly called Jesus “THE SON OF GOD” at his transfiguration in Matthew chapter 17. Jesus proved it through his miracles, predicting the future, healing people, exercising demons, and raising himself from the dead. Who do you say Jesus is? There is no more important question.

    Before:

    After:

     

  2. The Resurrection and the Life:

    Description: John, chapter 11 – the raising of Lazarus. Jesus showed that He is fully God by knowing that Lazarus had died, and having the power to raise him. Jesus said, “I am THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, emphasis mine). Jesus showed that He is fully man by weeping at the death of Lazarus. There’s soooo much in this amazing passage! Lazarus was dead. Jesus made him alive. Then Lazarus became a testimony and many others turned to Jesus because of him. God does the same thing with us! We are all born with a soul that’s dead in sin. Jesus makes us born-again. And then He uses us to reach others! But be careful, when God uses us, satanic forces will try to stop us and even try to kill us, just as the jealous religious leaders in Jesus’ day wanted to kill Him and Lazarus too. This is the very same Scripture that God used 21 years ago to bring me to faith in Christ!

    Before:

    After:

     

  3. The Good Shepherd:

    Description: This message came from John 10. In Jesus’ day, sheep were safe from thieves and predators only if they were in the pen, and there was only one way in, guarded by the Shepherd. Jesus said He was that one way to safety. He is THE GOOD SHEPHERD. This is just like in Noah’s day where there was only one way to be saved from the flood. The Ark was a preview of salvation in Christ. Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but Jesus calls, leads, loves, cares for, protects, dies for, and knows His sheep. Nothing is more important than knowing for certain that you are one of Jesus’ sheep, protected forever in the Father’s hand. I told the kids they’d learn how to belong to Christ in the coming lessons.

    Before:

    After:

     

  4. The Only Way:

    Description: This message comes from the vital passage about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector, from Luke, chapter 18. The Pharisee thought God’s Way to Heaven was by being good and doing religious deeds. The Tax Collector was humble, pleading for God’s mercy. God’s mercy was paid for at the cross! Both men were sinners, but THE ONLY WAY to be forgiven is through God’s mercy, given through Jesus Christ. Even a sinful Tax Collector, if he comes humbly to God through the cross, can be forgiven!

    Before:

    After:

     

  5. The Only Savior:

    Description: In a culture that wanted children to act more like adults, Jesus said he wanted adults to become like children in order to enter the Kingdom of God. A rich young man asked Jesus what he needed to do to enter Heaven. But there’s nothing we can do. We’ve all sinned. But this man mistakenly thought he had successfully kept all of God’s commandments. To show this man his pride, Jesus took him through the 10 Commandments, to show that we’re all sinners. “All have sinned” (Romans 3:23), and “None are good” (Romans 3:10). Our only hope is to trust in THE ONLY SAVIOR. Because He loves us, Jesus died for sinners. If we turn from our sins and trust in Jesus, that He died and rose again, and is THE ONLY SAVIOR, then we will be Born Again and be adopted into God’s family. What GREAT news!!!

    Before:

    After:

     

Note:

If you have access to a large-scale printer (34 inches wide, or 36 inches wide), like the kind a Land Surveyor or Architect might own, then you can download and print full-size outlines of the messages at: http://luke-15.org/scanned-messages/#Jesus-Ministry-Years-01.

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December Newsletter: An Amazing Summer!

Posted on Nov 24 , 2014 in Beach & Blog & Camp & Church_Teams & Kids_Ministry & Newsletters & Object_Lessons & Sermons & Street_Evangelism & Training

Dear friends,

Last week I mailed off our latest paper newsletter.

God has been doing AMAZING things, and it’s a privilege to share some of it with you. I pray that this newsletter is a blessing to you!

This newsletter has mostly photos in it, so it doesn’t take too long to read.

If you want to read it right away, or if you don’t get a paper one, please feel free to read an electronic version by clicking on the graphic belowโ€ฆ

I also included a flyer for a device that automatically blocks pornography from every device in your home. No software needs to be installed on any of your devices. This is a win-win for everyone because families are protected from destructive pornography, and this helps fund the vital front-line evangelism work we do.

Please check out this flyer at: http://Luke-15.org/2014-11-OMTS.pdf

If you don’t usually receive the paper copy of the newsletter, but would like to, please contact us and let us know your address and we’ll gladly add you to our mailing list! ๐Ÿ™‚

We love you and thank God for you! Please contact us anytime and let us know how we can pray for you!

And please feel free to forward this to anyone you think would be blessed by it!

For Christ and His gospel,

Mark, Shelby, Vivienne, Juliana, Caleb, and Gabriella

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Camp Ministry Was Very Special This Year

Posted on Sep 15 , 2014 in Blog & Camp & Kids_Ministry & Object_Lessons

Dear Praying Friends,

Working as the Youth Pastor at Camp is always wonderful, but this summer God appeared to work in extra special ways.

I’ll do my best to share what happened so you can be a part of the amazing ways God moved.

You’d think that at a “Christian Camp,” we’d get kids that “have it all together.”

That’s not the case at all!

About 1/3 of the kids come from homes where they do not attend church. For them, this week at camp is all they get for learning about who God is, who God says they are, their need for salvation, and how to become a child of God.

Many of the kids, and teen staff, shared with me about their broken homes, the hurts of divorce, and abuse.

As Youth Pastor, it is my privilege to preach 11 times each week:

  • A 5-Day Series on “The Gospel Through Creation,”
     
  • A 5-Day Series on “The Early Ministry of Jesus,”
     
    and,
     
  • A stand-alone evangelistic Bible message to close out the week.

These messages are very powerful because they’re right from the Scriptures. I believe that kids are very intelligent and can understand Theology if it is explained to them, and that was definitely the case this summer. So many kids reacted so positively to the Word of God and the Gospel Proclamation!

Approximately 130 kids attended camp the two weeks I Pastored there.

Of the 130, about 27 kids publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior! I find that astounding!

Many more confessed to not living the Christian life they should and committed to turning from idols in their lives. Please keep these new brothers and sisters in Christ in your prayers, and let’s praise God for the tremendous work He’s done!!!

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1)

Each Friday evening, the kids can share what God did in their lives that week. Want some encouragement? Need to be uplifted? Hear these kids (and older teens) share in their own words how God worked in their lives at camp this summer. Very cool!

In addition to the preaching, I also presented “object lessons,” or “Gospel magic tricks.”

These help to reinforce the teaching.

(And they’re fun too!)

I believe we can understand and retain information when we can both hear it AND see it.

The “object lessons” and paint board messages are very helpful for the kids to hear and see the message!

This year I decided to try five brand new object lessons I hadn’t done before.

One of them is called “The Instant-Solved Rubik’s Cube.”

If you have 2 minutes and 12 seconds, you’re welcome to view the video of it below:

If you would like to see all five of the new object lessons, you can do that at: http://luke-15.org/2014/09/5-new-gospel-magic-tricks/.

Give It To Phillup!!!

One of the most special ways God worked this summer at camp was through a 9-year-old boy name Phillup.

Tragically, he was trampled while playing a game with the other campers.

He was taken away, in tears, by ambulance.

God took something very bad, and turned it into something really tremendous!

Please please please check out this amazing and inspiring true account of what happened to this boy at: http://luke-15.org/2014/08/give-it-to-phillup/.

A Moment of Insanity…

The camp has a 40-foot-high zip-line, and during my free-time one day, I was talked into jumping off of it.

Why did I do this? I’m not sure. I’m thinking temporary insanity. Maybe not temporary???

The staff duct-taped my phone to my hand so I could make a “video-selfie.” They played the video before I got up to preach one night and the campers loved it! If you’d like to see me humiliate myself, here it is. Enjoy!

What the Teaching Is Like:

When the Word of God is preached, God works powerfully. I never know how God will work through His Word, and it’s fun to see what He does.

This year I developed a brand-new message for “The Early Life of Jesus” series. This message was #4 of 5 in the series.

Out of all the Bible Messages I preached at Camp this summer, this one on “Jesus and Nicodemus” appeared to have the strongest impact. After I was done, at least 7 campers (that we know of) asked an adult how to be born again, and committed their lives to Jesus Christ!

God’s Word is powerful because God is powerful!!!

So if you have a spare 29 minutes and 27 seconds, please watch this vital message entitled “You Must Be Born Again.”


 

I have some photos that will also show how God moved at camp this summer. I pray you enjoy these…

Click on photos to enlarge them...
This is super: 5 dozen kids singing songs to Jesus! A good number of these kids come from unchurched homes, so the teaching they get this week is foundational and vital to them.
This is super: 5 dozen kids singing songs to Jesus! A good number of these kids come from unchurched homes, so the teaching they get this week is foundational and vital to them.
Sharing the gospel using a physical "object lesson" is a great way for the kids to retain and internalize what they learn because they hear it and see it.
Sharing the gospel using a physical "object lesson" is a great way for the kids to retain and internalize what they learn because they hear it and see it.
This was Part 1 a 5-day series on "The Gospel in Creation." There were a whole bunch of unchurched kids, which is VERY exciting! We learned God is "Eternal," meaning He always existed and always will. We learned that God does not have a body of flesh and bones, but is a Spirit. We learned that there is only 1 True God, and He exists in Three Persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We learned that God does not need anything. He is self-sufficient. We learned that God is omni-present (everywhere at all times), and that God is more powerful that everything! Great Theology there, and the kids really "got it." Please keep them in prayer.
This was Part 1 a 5-day series on "The Gospel in Creation." There were a whole bunch of unchurched kids, which is VERY exciting! We learned God is "Eternal," meaning He always existed and always will. We learned that God does not have a body of flesh and bones, but is a Spirit. We learned that there is only 1 True God, and He exists in Three Persons: The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. We learned that God does not need anything. He is self-sufficient. We learned that God is omni-present (everywhere at all times), and that God is more powerful that everything! Great Theology there, and the kids really "got it." Please keep them in prayer.
These are the wonderful 60 (or so) kids I had the honor to preach to the first week. 17 kids that week publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior, and many more committed to giving up idols and following Jesus more closely! That never gets boring!!!
These are the wonderful 60 (or so) kids I had the honor to preach to the first week. 17 kids that week publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior, and many more committed to giving up idols and following Jesus more closely! That never gets boring!!!
I love these smiles! Two of my daughters, Juliana, and Vivienne.
I love these smiles! Two of my daughters, Juliana, and Vivienne.
Me and Phillup. I hope you got to hear about how God worked through this young man. Amazing! Please check it out at: http://luke-15.org/2014/08/give-it-to-phillup/
Me and Phillup. I hope you got to hear about how God worked through this young man. Amazing! Please check it out at: http://luke-15.org/2014/08/give-it-to-phillup/
This is Bub, the Director of Programming. I thought it was funny that he attached signs to his table that said "Free Advice." :)
This is Bub, the Director of Programming. I thought it was funny that he attached signs to his table that said "Free Advice." ๐Ÿ™‚
This is the cabin that Juliana (bottom-left) and Gabriella (bottom-right) stayed in!
This is the cabin that Juliana (bottom-left) and Gabriella (bottom-right) stayed in!
And what could be goofier than a cabin of boys? Caleb is on the bottom-right.
And what could be goofier than a cabin of boys? Caleb is on the bottom-right.
This is Raveena, one of the teen staff girls. Let's just say that Raveena is a little "intense." She adopted me as her daddy for the time I was up there.  :)
This is Raveena, one of the teen staff girls. Let's just say that Raveena is a little "intense." She adopted me as her daddy for the time I was up there. ๐Ÿ™‚
This is part 2 in a 5-part series on "The Early Ministry of Jesus." We learned that "In the Beginning" Satan successfully tempted Adam to sin, with disastrous consequences. Adam was humanity's representative, so all of us are under sin. After Jesus' baptism, Satan tried to temp Jesus to sin. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and, in His humanity, was hungry and tired. Still, Jesus, being perfect, successfully defeated Satan's temptations, each time using Scripture to thwart the enemy. Jesus is God, and greater than Satan. Satan is destined for the Lake of Fire, and so is anyone who belongs to Adam's family. Jesus will be our Deliverer if we are adopted into His family. A vital lesson!
This is part 2 in a 5-part series on "The Early Ministry of Jesus." We learned that "In the Beginning" Satan successfully tempted Adam to sin, with disastrous consequences. Adam was humanity's representative, so all of us are under sin. After Jesus' baptism, Satan tried to temp Jesus to sin. Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and, in His humanity, was hungry and tired. Still, Jesus, being perfect, successfully defeated Satan's temptations, each time using Scripture to thwart the enemy. Jesus is God, and greater than Satan. Satan is destined for the Lake of Fire, and so is anyone who belongs to Adam's family. Jesus will be our Deliverer if we are adopted into His family. A vital lesson!
Caleb and one of his very-best friends, Kjell.
Caleb and one of his very-best friends, Kjell.
Juliana made a character from one of her favorite book series, "Sailor Moon." Clever girl!
Juliana made a character from one of her favorite book series, "Sailor Moon." Clever girl!
This was part 4 of "The Early Life of Jesus" and God used this message very powerfully. The Religious leaders thought there were 2 things you needed to be "right" with God: you had to have the right birth (be Jewish) and you had to do good deeds. Jesus met with Nicodemus & told him that "You Must Be Born Again." Jesus pointed out that our first birth is actually sending us to death because we all come from Adam. And Jesus used Numbers 21 to point out that our "good deeds" aren't as good as we think they are. We NEED a second birth. Our first birth puts us into the family of Adam. Adam was a sinner, and his family inherits his sin, leading to the Lake of Fire. We must be ADOPTED into a second family, Jesus' family. Jesus was sinless, so those in His family are seen as righteous, leading to Eternal Life. How are you adopted into the family of Jesus? I told the kids that I'd share that tomorrow. At least 7 kids came to adults asking how to be born again, and they all gave their life to Jesus! Praise God!!!
This was part 4 of "The Early Life of Jesus" and God used this message very powerfully. The Religious leaders thought there were 2 things you needed to be "right" with God: you had to have the right birth (be Jewish) and you had to do good deeds. Jesus met with Nicodemus & told him that "You Must Be Born Again." Jesus pointed out that our first birth is actually sending us to death because we all come from Adam. And Jesus used Numbers 21 to point out that our "good deeds" aren't as good as we think they are. We NEED a second birth. Our first birth puts us into the family of Adam. Adam was a sinner, and his family inherits his sin, leading to the Lake of Fire. We must be ADOPTED into a second family, Jesus' family. Jesus was sinless, so those in His family are seen as righteous, leading to Eternal Life. How are you adopted into the family of Jesus? I told the kids that I'd share that tomorrow. At least 7 kids came to adults asking how to be born again, and they all gave their life to Jesus! Praise God!!!
These are the amazing 70 (or so) kids and teens I had the privilege to teach the second week. About 12 kids that week publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior! I find that astounding!
These are the amazing 70 (or so) kids and teens I had the privilege to teach the second week. About 12 kids that week publicly testified to repenting of their sin and trusting in Jesus as their Savior! I find that astounding!
Juliana and one of her best friend, Raiya.
Juliana and one of her best friend, Raiya.
Our final meeting was a camp-fire meeting outside. I taught on "Jesus and Bartimeaus."
Our final meeting was a camp-fire meeting outside. I taught on "Jesus and Bartimeaus."
As it got darker out, the black light and fluorescent paint made the message "glow in the dark." The kids really understood that they needed to turn from their sins and trust in Jesus!
As it got darker out, the black light and fluorescent paint made the message "glow in the dark." The kids really understood that they needed to turn from their sins and trust in Jesus!

Another neat thing that happened is that my 15-year-old daughter, Vivienne, was asked to volunteer to be a part of the Horse Staff this summer. That meant that she went up to camp a week before it started and stayed there all summer!

I’m so proud of how hard she worked too. It’s a LOT of work to clean the horse stalls, carry the heavy saddles, move the bales of hay, and the many other chores that need to be done early in the morning until evening time.

Not only that, but she worked with campers, helping them with the horses, and even walking alongside as they went on trail-rides in the heat.

Way to go Vivienne!

We missed her soooooooo much, so it was extra special for us when we’d drive up to camp for my preaching weeks, because it meant that we were reunited with Vivienne for another week!!! Yay!!!

I hope this post has encouraged you. God is working in the next generation!!!

Thank you for your partnership, prayers, and financial support, without which we could not be reaching the lost for Jesus Christ!!!

Please share this update with others you think would be blessed by it!

all for Jesus,

Mark (and family)

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5 New Gospel Magic Tricks

Posted on Sep 10 , 2014 in Blog & Camp & Kids_Ministry & Object_Lessons

Dear friends,

People are very visual. We often remember important truths better when we can “see” them illustrated.

This is why Gospel Magic Tricks can be so effective!

I have a number of “standard” tricks I use, but this summer, when I was the Youth Pastor at Camp, I wanted to try five new ones.

So the following are five brand new “Gospel Magic Tricks” that you can learn and use as you interact with both kids and adults. (I’ve found that the adults often get more amazed than the kids and beg to know how I did it!) Just tell them that the “truth” is more important than the “trick.”:


The King of Hearts:

This is a good object lesson to begin a 5-day Bible Club, as it introduces the gospel. A deck of cards is used to illustrate that Jesus alone is the King of kings and, through the gospel, can be King of our hearts!
 


The Impossible Balance:

This trick uses a belt and a piece of plastic to teach that God made things to work a certain way, and sometimes God made things to work in a way that we don’t expect.
 


Instant-Solved Rubik’s Cube:

This trick makes use of a “Rubik’s Cube” to teach that we only make our sin problem worse, and only God can solve it!
 


Disappearing Sin:

A silk and a velvet bag are used to teach that we might be able to hide our sin from each other, but we can’t hide anything from God. Hiding our sin isn’t the answer. Applying the blood of Jesus to us through repentance and faith is the answer!
 


Tied to Jesus:

A number of silks are used to teach that the only way to be tied to Jesus forever is to admit your sin, repent, and trust in the gospel. None of the “good things” we do can earn our way to Heaven.
 


 

I pray that these object lessons will be a blessing to you and that you’ll even be able to use them yourself! Please feel free to share these with others who you think will be blessed by them!

all for Jesus,

Mark