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Good Christmas webpage reference below
A Gift from a friend, don't miss ... Christmas Story 2010


For the fun of Christmas,


Christmas Trivia Contest for Youth Groups

Christian

A trivia contest and more! Please click: Christmas Trivia for Youth



International Bible Treasure Hunt 2013

In January 2009 this website offered the first "International Bible Treasure Hunt". About twenty youth groups participated from several different countries and great fun was had by all.

Changes have been made to the Bible Treasure Hunt reflecting comments made in 2009. This year an optional section that will compare the life of Jesus to a religious figure named Chihaysu, residing in a far away land, has been added. Studying teachings from the far away land of Caperston will make this year's treasure hunt all the more international.

If interested, groups or individuals wishing to learn more should click International Bible Treasure Hunt



Several times over the years people have asked how to obtain a copy of "Praise Him" playing in the backround of this webpage. Well, it is now available on I-Tunes ... which means ... no more sending me self-addressed, stamped envelopes with a blank CD to which I return a copy of the song!

If interested, please click Praise Him on I-Tunes



Activity of the Month: Yes, it is still our Easter Skit:The Look of Love

Why? Because the Easter season lasts until Pentacost and that is fifty days after Easter. This skit has rave reviews .. try it with your youth or in your church, We used it this year at our Easter dawn service and those present still think of those "loving eyes".

"He can tell you things Jesus taught and things he did, but he cannot tell you of his eyes, his reassuring, loving eyes. Only those who were with him can do so, and there are only a few of us left. Read this book and as you read it, imagine the love that a glance from Jesus shared with each of us, the look of god-sent love."

To read the entire skit, click Look of Love


Free Activity of the Month

The Look of Love

Thaddeus: It was a very long day and an even longer night, Peter.

Peter: I've had two sleepless nights . . . I . . . just can't get over it.

Thaddeus: Get over what?

Peter: The look . . . the look in his eyes, Thaddeus.

Thaddeus: What look?

Peter: As he was carrying the cross . . . yesterday . . . to Golgotha.

Thaddeus: You saw him?

Peter: Yes, I did . . . I just had to see him . . . after I had failed him so miserably.

Thaddeus: What do you mean? You failed him?

Peter: The night he was arrested, I followed him and his accusers. It was the worst night of my life.

[Mary Magdalene and John approach.]

John: We couldn't help but overhear. The night of his arrest was terrible. But last night after they took him down from the cross . . . I couldn't get that painful sight out of my mind.

Mary: I was with his mother and John [puts hand briefly on John's shoulder]. Mary was so strong at the cross. She was there for him, her son. It was only later that she let her pain show.

Peter: I saw him on the way to Golgotha. Thank God someone stepped in to help him with the cross. After I caught his eye, I couldn't bear to follow.

Thaddeus: Peter, you said that the night of his arrest was the worst night of your life. Why?

Peter: Because I denied him.

John: No . . . Peter. You were always the strongest of us all.

Peter: But John, I denied him. Not once, but three times. He even told me earlier that I would do so. I felt so ashamed. I had to see him again. I knew he was aware of what I did. When the Romans brought him out and started marching Jesus and the others with their crosses, I ran ahead. I had to get somewhere where I could see him . . . face to face.

Mary: Were you successful, Peter?

Peter: Yes, I was . . . I had to run a long way, but there . . . up there around the bend . . . the crowd was sparse. He was so tired and struggled so.

Thaddeus: When he approached, what did you say? Or was it he who spoke?

Peter: Neither of us spoke with words, but we did speak. I spoke with shame, with tears . . . barely able to look at him except for some fleeting glances.

John: And Jesus?

Peter: Jesus' eyes never left me as he approached. I expected to see a look of condemnation, but I got a look of reassurance and eyes filled with love.

The eyes of love

Mary: Why didn't you say something, Peter? It sounds like you needed to tell him how sorry you were.

Peter: I tried. My mouth opened, but my tongue wouldn't move. Before I knew it, he had passed by me.

Mary: Please don't be hard on yourself. We are all human. We are all afraid. What will we do without him?

Pete: He may be dead, but that reassuring glance, that look of love remains with me. When I saw it, I knew I had seen it before but I couldn't remember when. Then, late last night, I remembered. Do you recall the day Jesus called me to walk upon the water?

John: How could we forget?

Thaddeus: I couldn't believe how brave you were.

Peter: Oh, I was brave. I took four steps, looked to the water, lost my faith and sank. Just like when I said I'd always stand up for him, then denied him. That day, when I started sinking, I called out "Lord, save me"ť. And he looked at me with those reassuring, loving eyes. I'll never forget those eyes . . . that look of love he gave me two years ago on the sea and yesterday on the way to his death.

John: You know, I think I know that look. Yesterday, Mary and his mother and I followed him to the cross. He was truly in pain. As he was dying, he made several utterances, but two stood out in my mind. Do you remember, Mary?

Mary: Absolutely. I couldn't believe he asked God to forgive everyone who did this to him. Just after he said that he glanced at the three of us and we saw that look . . . the look of love that only Jesus had. I'll not forget it . . . even in his death.

Thaddeus: John, you said there were two things Jesus said that stood out in your mind.

John: Yes, there were. After asking God to forgive everyone who did this, he looked at me, then at his mother with those reassuring eyes. He said to his mother, "Woman, look at your son,"ť and to me, "Son, look after your mother."ť His mother and I now know we are to be like a family, and I will take her to my home. I know exactly what you mean, Peter . . . even as he was dying, he displayed a look of love.

Thaddeus: So where do we go now?

Peter: We all should go home and rest. Tomorrow is a new day. [Leaves.]

Mary: Tomorrow is the day we say goodbye to him. A few of us will get up early in the morning to anoint his body . . . then . . . I just don't know.

Thaddeus Then I shall see you all soon. [Mary and John leave.] And that is what I recall happened that day after his death. Jesus was gone. We didn't know what to do. We remembered his teachings, but they didn't seem important that day. We remembered his miracles, but wondered why he didn't save himself. But we couldn't and I still can't forget those reassuring eyes,”that look of love that was always a part of him. I left Peter, John, and Mary that day and returned to a friend's home outside of the city. I was not around for the excitement of the next morning, so I cannot tell you firsthand. I had to wait to hear later in the day. Now I am an old man. Over thirty years have passed since Jesus was with us, but he is once again alive . . . in this book written by the physician Luke. [Shows a scroll.] I just received it a short time ago, and I'd like to let Luke finish the story. Let's see . . . Luke writes . . . "On the first day of the week, early in the morning, they came to the tomb bringing prepared spices with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. And they entered in and did not find the body of Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were perplexed, that two men in shining clothes stood by them. And they became afraid and bowed their faces to the ground. The men said, 'Why do you search for the living among the dead? He is not here; he is risen. Remember what he said to you when he was in Galilee . . .'ť And they remembered his words. And they returned from the tomb and told most of us disciples. It was Mary Magdalene, the one who was with Peter, John and me the day before, and two others who first went to the tomb. [Holds rolled up scroll.] This wonderful book by Luke tells the story of Jesus so perfectly. I have read it once and will soon read it again. If any of you are interested, let me know and I'll make it available. Oh, if only . . . if only Luke's story could be read by everyone around the world, then everyone would know of Jesus' teachings, his miracles, his death for each of us and his resurrection. What a different world it could be? Luke's story is wonderful but he was not with Jesus. He can tell you things Jesus taught and things he did, but he cannot tell you of his eyes, his reassuring, loving eyes. Only those who were with him can do so, and there are only a few of us left. Read this book and as you read it, imagine the love that a glance from Jesus shared with each of us, the look of god-sent love.

We would love to hear if this activity was useful to your group. Please share your experience by writing to: TimFerguson@christianyouthgroup.org.


New Easter Skit for 2012: Jerusalem Gazette

christian teens resurrection skit Read and use this new skit, performed at our Easter Dawn Service on Fire Island , New York last year

Click: Jerusalem Gazette


Resurrection Question

Must we believe?

Easter Dawn Service, Fire Island, NY 3/31/13 Resurrection Question and more at our Question of the Month Forum ...

Question of the Month Forum



The Chest of Visions comes in Third Place

in 2013 Readers Favorite Contest

Youth Ministry Story

Christian Fantasy/Sci-Fi Category

"The Chest of Visions: Secrets of Caperston by Tim Ferguson is the story of Caperston as told by Mattpaul. Caperston is a planet much smaller than our own and its sun is much smaller than ours. Time is measured by generations that pass rather than years.

On May 2, Mattpaul shares information about Chihaysu. The man told the people about God who oversees the world, treats everyone equally and hears when people pray to him.

I find the plot of this book very realistic, for God is bigger than my imagination and who am I to say he did not place life on other planets?. This story was written for young adults; however, I enjoyed it very much. Tim Ferguson is very creative and has found a wonderful way to reach youth."

To read the complete review from the Readers Favorite Book Contest click: The Chest of Visions







New Easter Skit for 2012: Jerusalem Gazette

Read and use this new skit, performed at our Easter Dawn Service on Fire Island , New York last year







Looking for something new for Halloween: click: Halloween Questions


"it definitely made her think"

"I read this book with a thirteen year old girl and once we were finished I asked her how she felt about our experience. She said it definitely made her think about many things in her own life and in her walk with God."

Shirley Johnson, author/reviewer Sept. 19, 2012


For more information and a video about the book click: The Chest of Visions



Christian youth leaders sharing Bible lessons for teenagers, youth minstry activities and Christian youth group games Ask youth what their understanding of lent is. See if they feel lent is an easy thing to respond to or something that is difficult. Then tell them that Lent tells us many things about love! For more details on this activity,please click:

or try our second website ... Activities for Christian Teens


Hear ... the Whispers of God

Develop your listening skills ... ascertain the needs of others then ... hear the whispers of God.

Please click ... Whispers of God


Click here for

a Fun Event for your Christian Youth Meeting ...

Try our Christian teen version of Hide and Seek ... that demonstrates the value of youth ministry work and the needs of the impoverished. Just as importantly, it is fun!

Hide and Seek



Christian Youth Game and Activity ... We did Bombs Away then Trust and Prayer as suggested

When I asked the kids if they had someone they could talk to and trust with a difficult situation, they all said they did. When I asked "If it was something very private and they didn't want anyone else to know, except that friend," their response was, "No they didn't have a friend like that..."

Pastor Todd Hartsock


Read more of Pastor Hartsock's comments and the activity of which he speaks is described at: Faith: Christian teen advice Trust and Prayer : a youth group activity that encourages spoken prayer amidst Christian youth and has been successful on several occasions with different youth ministry programs.


"I have had the good fortune of knowing Christian youth worker, Tim Ferguson, for at least a decade. He has the passion to reach Christian teens, which is so key to any successful youth leader. He is deeply committed to relating to and caring for the youth that come into his program and his genuine concern and love have enabled him to be extraordinarily effective. Tim is amazingly creative, coming up with themes and ideas for communicating the gospel to youth that are fresh, fun and above all do the job. He is collaboratively creative, working collectively with both the youth and his other leaders in generating these ideas and themes"

Don't miss this book! Many, many successful ideas!!

Reverend Kennedy McGowan, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Learn from 360 pages of lessons - creating fun, faith and friends, click ... Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)


Christmas/ New Years Wishes

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

the fourth verse reads ...

O come thou Day-spring, come and cheer

our spirits by thine advent here

O drive away the shades of night and pierce the clouds and bring us light..

Coming very soon ... letters from afar that will bring us light!!


Pizza Fruits

Purchase pizza for your young people. Make a list of the nine Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23... Click and enter our second website for additional instructions



Come join us on our trip to the Holy Land ... Linda and Tim

Click to travel to Israel: Galilee and more

New Easter Skit for 2012: Jerusalem Gazette

christian teens resurrection skit Read and use this new skit to be performed at our Easter Dawn Service on Fire Island , New York

Click: Jerusalem Gazette



Christmas/ New Years Wishes

O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

the fourth verse reads ...

O come thou Day-spring, come and cheer

our spirits by thine advent here

O drive away the shades of night and pierce the clouds and bring us light..

Coming very soon ... letters from afar that will bring us light!!



Chest of Visions on the wall

Our youth are doing the Chest of Visions in New York ... how about your group!

"A story you will not easily forget...

a story you will not want to end."

An adventure in a faraway land, a "story of faith, hope, courage and intrigue"

The Secrets of Caperston revealed.

Marie Haugh review: " I began reading it with my ten year old grandson one day. When I came back one week later he had finished the book on his own and said he cannot wait to read the sequel.This is one of a few books that I will enjoy rereading numerous times."

For more information and a video about the book that is "perfect for youth group read and study" click: The Chest of Visions



New Easter Skit for 2012: Jerusalem Gazette

christian teens resurrection skit Read and use this new skit to be performed at our Easter Dawn Service on Fire Island , New York

Click: Jerusalem Gazette


More Easter skits are found in Chapter 20 of the book, "Not the Same Old, Done-it-befoire Youth Meetings". Book, filled with youth ministry games and Bible studies for teenagers is available on Kindle.



 Easter Activity for Christian teenagers

Easter Activity: Another Look at the Ascension of Jesus


Feed My Lambs … Make a difference


Please click on the below link in order to learn the details of this Easter Activity. Click: Easter Bible Lesson for Teenagers




"Feed My Lambs"

We have many ways of sharing the events of Holy Week. Ideas of how to do this are given in chapter 20 of the book, “Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings”.

It is suggested that in addition to such activities youth be challenged with a recorded event that occurred after Holy Week, after the Crucifixtion and after the Resurrection. In fact this is the last recorded correspondence of Jesus to one of his disciples with the exception of the words he shared in Matthew 28, moments before his ascension. Read John 21: 15-17. In this passage Jesus asks the question, “Do you love me?” Peter replies that he does. Jesus then responds, “Feed my lambs”. This dialogue is repeated two additional times. The fact that Jesus continues the dialogue three times suggests that it is important guidance he is giving.

Ask youth who they believe these lambs are? Who were they in the time of Jesus and, more importantly, who are the lambs to be fed today? Ask youth for generalized answers, for example, “the poor” or “the homeless” then ask them to be more specific. Perhaps there are fellow students who need to be fed. Maybe someone is facing a divorce in their family and need support or someone is picked on or bullied in school and needs a friend.

Define faith as not an inner feeling but an action, the act of “Saying ‘yes’ to the Word of God”. When we say “yes” to the Word of God, we are also “saying yes” to Jesus’ command to “feed my sheep”. When we take actions of faith we transpose Jesus from someone, who we know only in stories to a person, whose spirit dwells in our hearts. When we listen to that spirit, we are ready to “make a difference” in the world.

For more Easter activities click ... click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)



Halloween Activity

494 Rules

After some leading questions, youth began to understand that 494 represented not a number of rules but a number of years . . . into the past … to Halloween eve

Click: Holloween surprise at our annual Holloween party ...


More of Halloween activities found in chapter 16 of the book...

Not the Same , Done-it-before Youth Meetings


A Special Story about the value of Small Gifts of Love...

click: Glass of Milk


3-D View …3-D Activity

Two days after returning from our cruise to the Holy Land I woke up. A very vivid dream was fresh in my mind and still is. I was in the modern day Garden of Gethsemane viewing the ages old olive trees in the tranquility of this still beautiful (after 2,000 years) garden. The view was very portrait like, two-dimensional. Then suddenly the olive trees emerged, as if bursting forth from a canvas, in three dimensions while all else remained two dimensional.


It was all so beautiful and, when I awoke, I realized the meaning of this dream. This was a dream about the place Jesus prayed, asking God for clarity of his mission ... “If you will, take this cup from me ... nevertheless, thy will not my will be done”. The three dimensional olive trees provided clarity to the garden just as prayer provides clarity to our lives.

Below is an olive tree activity ...

Click : 3-D Youth Activity: The Treasure Chest


Christmas 2011 activity ...Expectations and a Declaration
During the evening ask youth to share their expectations for the advent season and later compare them to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth.

Begin by advising that the group will sing a 'welcome to advent' carol, 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. A verse or two will probably do. Then ask youth to verbally share their expectations. Leaders should record them. There will probably be some reference to the singing of Christmas carols or Christmas music. Sing 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' and discuss how the music of Christmas fulfills our expectations of the season.

Now refer to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus' birth. Two scripture passages are suggested to demonstrate the uncertain expectations the people had for the coming of their Messiah. Daniel 7: 13-14 tells of a human being who, at the direction of God, 'was given authority, honor and royal power, so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve him. His authority would last forever and his kingdom would never end'. Contrast this to the prediction in Isaiah 42, which reads, 'He will bring justice to every nation. He will not shout or raise his voice, or make loud speeches in the street. He will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all'.

Now ask the youth to shift gears and share what they imagine the three kings were thinking as they traveled a rather lengthy journey to Bethlehem to meet the expected king. Sing 'We Three Kings of Orient Are'.

Take a moment to explore the reactions of the shepherds. What did they anticipate as the angels appeared to make God's declaration about the child to be born. Sing all three verses of 'The First Noel' noting references to both the shepards and the wise men in the lyrics.

Now it is time to make comparisons. Read the youth's list of their expectations for the coming Christmas season. What things on the list are similar to those of the wise men and the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth? Did youth reference peace and justice coming to earth? Did they talk of focusing on the birth of a savior?

Take time to point out that, undoubtedly, as the wise men traveled to Jerusalem, their expectations of meeting the expected king must have heightened and, possibly, changed. Do our expectations heighten and change, and in what way, as Christmas Day approaches?

Now point out that the Biblical story in Luke presents us with, not expectations, but a declaration by the messengers of God himself - his angels, who make it clear the essence of the coming of Jesus - 'Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, goodwill to men' (Luke 2:14).

We ended our session by singing the song ;'Do You Hear What I Hear?' and then pointing out that a response to the season and story of advent is found in the lyrics of the song. Do we hear? Do we see? Do we know him? Do we pray for peace, people everywhere? When we do, the song lyrics conclude, 'He will bring us Goodness and Light'.

See more Christmas activities in Chapter 18 of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

High School Graduate Send-Off Celebration:

  • Memories Mad Lib
  • Bible Verse Plaques
  • Tell your grads how much you care for them and

    Have fun while doing so

    Click: Seniors Night
    Ask youth what their understanding of lent is. See if they feel lent is an easy thing to respond to or something that is difficult. Then tell them that Lent tells us many things about love! For more details on this activity,please click:

    Lent and Love

    A President's Day Lesson for Christian Youth Ask the youth to name characteristics of what will make an effective leader. It might be helpful to reference the recent inauguration of a new president and focus on what characteristics a successful president might have. After making your list, have the youth narrow the list to the five most important characteristic. For more details on this activity,please click:

    Presidents Christian Youth Game


    Micah's Story oif Chriustmas ...

    “Joshua, the star …everyone has been talking about it.”

    “Oh, yes … people were talking about a star at the well this morning.”

    “It was really something … twice as bright as any other star.”

    “Where was it?”

    “Over there … right above the vineyard and those caves.”

    “Quite a sight I am sure, Micah, … but why did it keep you up so late?”

    Read all of Micah's story ... make it a Christmas Skit for two See: Micah


    Micah works at night. His sheep are his family, a flock he inherited two years ago. It is midday after a working night as his friend, Joshua, approaches.

    “You look tired, my friend ?”

    “I am”, Micah replied, “I did not sleep much last night.”

    “Why? It was cool and comfortable. I slept like a log.”

    “I know it was comfortable but … let me start at the beginning. When the sun set, I brought my sheep in, as I usually do. Suddenly a breeze picked up; my sheep sounded restless… I checked on them and found them wandering. That was so unusual. They never wander but, last night, down the slope they went.”

    “The slope in back of your home where we used to roll down as kids?”

    “Yes, that slope … I followed them to the bottom and … there it was…”

    “What?”

    “Joshua, the star …everyone has been talking about it.”

    “Oh, yes … people were talking about a star at the well this morning.”

    “It was really something … twice as bright as any other star.”

    “Where was it?”

    “Over there … right above the vineyard and those caves.”

    “Quite a sight I am sure, Micah, … but why did it keep you up so late?”

    “There was more than a star. There was singing.”

    “Singing?”

    “Yes, my sheep heard it and started moving towards it.”

    “But where was it coming from?”

    “Please don’t think I am crazy … but it came from up there.”

    “Up there? Near the vineyard”

    “Yes”

    “Well, my friend … perhaps someone tasted too much wine last night and started singing.”

    “Oh, no … not at the vineyard, above it!”

    “You mean … in the sky”

    “Yes, Joshua, the sky.”

    “And what was the person singing?”

    “Something like ‘Give glory to God and peace has come to earth’”

    “Did you investigate?”

    “I had no choice; the sheep led me there.”

    “Where?”

    “To a baby and his mother and father.”

    “A baby? Maybe it was his parents who were singing?”

    “No, it wasn’t them… when we got to the cave, we could still hear the singing in the sky above us”

    “So, what did you do?”

    “I wasn’t the only one there. There were Hosea and Samuel.”

    “The two with herds on the north side?”

    “Yes, they also saw the star and heard the singing. Samuel told me that this is a good omen because the singing was proclaiming ‘Peace has come to earth’. Hosea looked at me and said, ‘Go tell the King”. So, without thinking, I ran”.

    “Then what happened?”

    “When I got to the palace, everyone was asleep except for a guard. I told him everything, the star, the singing, the baby and his parents. He said he had seen the star but did not hear singing. He replied, ‘Don’t bother the King” so I returned to the cave.”

    “And then?”

    “Samuel and Hosea had left; the baby and the mother were asleep but the father was awake.”

    “Micah, did the father say anything?”

    “He thanked me for running to tell the King and was not surprised. ‘Why would the King would be interested in this baby?’ he said. I responded ‘There’s the star and the singing?’ The father replied only those who believe God was looking over us would hear the singing. Everyone else would have an explanation … it was the wind or someone’s overactive imagination.”

    “So, then what happened?”

    “We sat and listened. The wind blew gently, the sheep slept and we again heard voices singing or perhaps chanting… ‘Give glory to God; peace has come to earth’. We heard it, off again, on again, all night long.”

    “Micah, what do you think really happened?”

    “I’m not certain … I know what I observed. This baby is a special baby and I believe there is a King who needs to hear about His birth. It is just not our King.”

    Epilogue: Three hundred, thirteen years passed for a King, Constantine, to recognize the child in the cave. Yet are we not all Kings of our lives? Do we accept the Lordship of the child the angels claimed brings peace to earth and goodwill to all?

    Click if you would like more skits like Micah ... Activities for Christian youth




    Tim and Linda, Youth Leaders share ... 485 Halloween Rules Christian Youth Leaders share Halloween Activity and decorations for Fall

    485 Rules. In 2002, our youth received a surprise at the annual Halloween party. They received near the end of the night a list of written, outrageous rules posted in the front of their meeting place. They were called the “485 Rules.”

    These rules were purposely quite unfair.

    Click... 485 Halloween Rules



    Our Favorite Activity: Olympics The concept of Olympics for youth groups was first developed in 1971 at a youth program called , “The Stony Brook Coffeehouse”. Since then I have organized and overseen 27 different Olympic programs. It is one of the highlights of our youth group year which:

  • Brings youth group members and adults from the church together.
  • Challenges the youth to display their abilities in a wide variety of competitions.
  • Challenges youth to be leaders of Olympic teams and to learn how to collectively use their creative skills.
  • Helps youth develop friendships with other members they do not know well.
  • For youth leaders – this will fill between 8 to 10 meetings of your youth group year.
  • Click on How to run an Olympics

    Fun, Faith and Friends during Olympics 2010!!



    Jan. 24, 2010 Â… Volleyball against the adults of the church. Last Youth Group victory was in 1998. Is this the year??

    Yes ... after 12 years of losing the Christians Under the Stairs Youth group team beat the adults of the church and youth group parents in volleyball. Here is the official press release...

    On Sunday evening, Jan. 24, 2010 the youth group beat the adults of the church two out of three to win the volleyball match.

    The first two games were by identical scores 15 to 12 with the youth winning game one and the adults game two. In the final game the adults jumped out to a 3 to 0 lead behing the serving of Michael Gebhardt (dad). The youth caught up and went ahead 5 to 4. The match went back and forth with no one scoring for about three or four minutes, then Julianne Murray served two winners and the youth got back the serve quickly. Dennis Marsh then had eight successful serves in a row to win the game and match for the youth.

    Most valuable player of the match - Dennis Marsh; congratulations, Dennis


    See more Christmas activities in Chapter 18 of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
    click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

    This activity is intended as a prelude to a Thanksgiving dinner for our youth group but it could also be done independent of the dinner.

    In order to aid youth to understand the severity of life in the Pilgrim colony, before a Thanksgiving dinner with the youth, have them sit around a decorated table void of food. Then bring out a paper plate for each youth member with five kernels of corn on each. Note that these are not ears of corn but kernels of corn. Youth are then advised that when the Pilgrims arrived from England, life was not easy. Months before the first Thanksgiving feast there had been hardship. Most of their attempts to plant crops had failed. The only success was a New World crop, corn, which the local Native Americans had introduced them to. Nevertheless, only so much corn could be raised and stored and near the end of the winter they were running out.

    Historical records indicate that there was a weeklong period in which food was rationed and the adults of the community, except for the pregnant women, had to live on a ration of five kernels of corn per day. It was the only food the community had as it awaited the early crops of the coming spring, which included wild berries, and the game that would return once the vegetation emerged.

    Youth are asked to eat the five kernels as if that were their daily allotment of food. Briefly discuss what living like this would be like if this is all people had to eat each day. Then it is time for the prepared dinner. The youth should have a greater appreciation for all that we have in this country after this exercise.

    Click if you would like more ideas like five kernals of corn ...
    Activities for Christian youth



    Help youth answer the question, "Where Can I Find you, God?

    David, Ezekiel and Jacob all experience the presence of God with Jacob experiencing him twice. In this activity we focus on the life of Jacob and ask the question, do we have to have a wrestling match with God or see angels descending on a ladder from heaven, to take the call of God for our lives seriously?


    Here is an activity to help youth share places or circumstances where they felt the presence of God.

    Click: Where Can We Find you, God?



    During the evening ask youth to share their expectations for the advent season and later compare them to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth.

    Begin by advising that the group will sing a ìwelcome to advent' carol, 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. A verse or two will probably do. Then ask youth to verbally share their expectations. Leaders should record them. There will probably be some reference to the singing of Christmas carols or Christmas music. Sing 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' and discuss how the music of Christmas fulfills our expectations of the season.

    Now refer to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus' birth. Two scripture passages are suggested to demonstrate the uncertain expectations the people had for the coming of their Messiah. Daniel 7: 13-14 tells of a human being who, at the direction of God, 'was given authority, honor and royal power, so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve him. His authority would last forever and his kingdom would never end'. Contrast this to the prediction in Isaiah 42, which reads, 'He will bring justice to every nation. He will not shout or raise his voice, or make loud speeches in the street. He will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all'.

    Now ask the youth to shift gears and share what they imagine the three kings were thinking as they traveled a rather lengthy journey to Bethlehem to meet the expected king. Sing 'We Three Kings of Orient Are'.

    Take a moment to explore the reactions of the shepherds. What did they anticipate as the angels appeared to make God's declaration about the child to be born. Sing all three verses of 'The First Noel' noting references to both the shepards and the wise men in the lyrics.

    Now it is time to make comparisons. Read the youth's list of their expectations for the coming Christmas season. What things on the list are similar to those of the wise men and the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth? Did youth reference peace and justice coming to earth? Did they talk of focusing on the birth of a savior?

    Take time to point out that, undoubtedly, as the wise men traveled to Jerusalem, their expectations of meeting the expected king must have heightened and, possibly, changed. Do our expectations heighten and change, and in what way, as Christmas Day approaches?

    Now point out that the Biblical story in Luke presents us with, not expectations, but a declaration by the messengers of God himself - his angels, who make it clear the essence of the coming of Jesus - 'Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, goodwill to men' (Luke 2:14).

    We ended our session by singing the song ;'Do You Hear What I Hear?' and then pointing out that a response to the season and story of advent is found in the lyrics of the song. Do we hear? Do we see? Do we know him? Do we pray for peace, people everywhere? When we do, the song lyrics conclude, 'He will bring us Goodness and Light'.

    See more Christmas activities in Chapter 18 of Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings.
    click:Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

    High School Graduate Send-Off Celebration:

  • Memories Mad Lib
  • Bible Verse Plaques
  • Tell your grads how much you care for them and

    Have fun while doing so

    Click: Seniors Night

    My favorite place in the world is a mountain trail in the Catskill Mountains. The road to get to this trail braches off the New York Thruway for about 15 miles through a tree filled countryside. There are small towns along the road and a few scattered homes. Upon climbing the trail there are three lookouts. The first is called Artists rock, named because artists in the 1800's used to hike up to this spot to draw portraits of the valley below.

    I do not claim to be an artist - though I am a songwriter. There is no better place to sit to have one's creative thoughts emerge. It is also one of the two closest places to the presence of God that I know. What is amazing is that, at Artists Rock, as I look down upon a valley of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen in one place, I realize that I just drove through that valley, passing through the small towns. Yet from Artist rock, I see no buildings, no roads ... all I can see are the Catskill mountains as God made them - perfect in every way.

    Last week I had the pleasure of having my grandchildren come for a visit. I spent considerable time with one year old Joseph, who peered into my eyes as I softly sang to him - "Kum bay Yah", "Edelweiss" and of course our favorite "Big Big Joe". As I sang, he stared and smiled, enjoying each note I sang. As I looked into Joseph's eyes, I saw a second place to observe the presence of God. This time it was in the eyes of a one year old, unblemished by the events of the world. Joseph doesn't know about the recent plane crash in Poland or the coal mining disaster in West Virginia. Later I watched as he crawled around in the deep green backyard grass. He loved every minute of the experience. I thought if only we could love the simple things of the world that God has given to us in the way Joseph sees them and loves them.

    Do you have a special place where you can experience God's presence this Spring? Please write to Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org and share it with us.

    Two Places to see the presence of God ... read

    " My favorite place in the world is ..."


    c International Bible Treasure Hunt: a Christian youth game that teaches the gospel

    So how do we get Christian youth from Pakistan, the Philippines, Uganda, the United States and other countries together? At the cost of air fare nowadays travel is difficult. But there is another way: an International Bible Treasure Hunt.

    Think of a cross between a Bible Trivia Contest and an episode of Indiana Jones searching for some missing archaeological treasure from the past. In January 2009 youth groups will take an evening to search through their Bibles, as a group, to find ten distinct Biblical Treasures – and where they have been hidden. Christian youth games of faith

    Word puzzles, simulated journeys through Biblical lands, collections of Bible verses, numerical/ logical reasoning calculations will be used to give clues to these treasures and their location. The treasure hunt is being developed by Tim Ferguson and youth groups are encouraged to sign up for this event. Currently three youth groups have signed up and we will be limiting the number of groups participating to ten on this first trial event.

    It will be held during a week in January during which the Treasure Hunt will be released on this website. Each group will pick an afternoon or evening to work on the hunt. There will be a maximum period of time to complete the Hunt – probably one and a half to two hours. More detailed rules will follow.

    Bibles, concordances, encyclopedias, Bible maps anything may be used but youth leaders, coordinating the event, cannot participate, except to gather the answers given and submit them to this website a week later. Upon grading the responses, recognition awards to the first, second and third place youth groups will be given. Each group will be asked to share, in a brief statement, what they learned during the event and what part of the event was most enjoyable. There will be no charge or fee required to enter the Treasure Hunt.

    As of April 15, 2009 applications for the Spring 2009 Treasure Hunt are closed. However, since interest continues to be expressed, we will have another International Bible Treasure Hunt in the Fall of 2009 - probably in October for those who missed out on the first hunt.

    More details will be offered as the Treasure Hunt is developed. Please e-mail Timferguson@christianyouthgroup.org to ask further questions, give suggestions and sign up.

    Click Bible Treasure Hunt January 09

    for details on the first round of the International Bible Treasure Hunt. Results and testimonials are given but te questions and their answers are not.

    Return to Index

    HeÂ’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

    * Christian Teens Candles of Prayer

    Christian teen prayer and song never worked more powerfully In order to share with the congregation the many facets of our youth program, we used a candelabra and the spiritual “HeÂ’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”. The youth group began by lighting a candle for each of the projects we were involved in. As a member lit the candle another read a brief statement. For example:

    Our first candle is for Lu Lu, an orphan, we youth members support by giving one dollar per member per month. We pray for Lu Lu.

    Our second candle is for the people of Indonesia, whose lives we have learned about this year during the Thirty Hour Famine. We pray for the people of Indonesia.

    The third candle is for our Christian friends in Uganda, with whom we have been corresponding. We pray for our friends in Uganda.

    The fourth candle is for Christians in Deer Park that we all will be filled with the Spirit of God. We pray for Deer Park Christians.

    All in all there were nine candles and nine messages like the above. After lighting the candles we asked the congregation to join us in singing a couple of the established verses of “He’s Got the Whole World in Hid Hands”. After completing these verses, we asked the congregation to look towards our youth group in the front of the sanctuary. Nine youth members held nine different signs representing the nine candles earlier lit. The last verses of the song went …

    He’s got Lu Lu from China in His hands

    He’s got Indonesia in His hands

    He’s got friends from Uganda in His hands

    He’s got the whole world in His hands

    Just as we got to “Lu Lu” then “Indonesia” then “friends from Uganda” the youth turned over the sign they held for everyone to see in order to sing the coming lyrics.

    He’s got Deer Park Christians in His hands

    He’s got New York City homeless in His hands

    He’s got all of GodÂ’s children in His hands

    He’s got the whole world in His hands.

    One more verse of candles, then a repeat of the original first verse and the usually serene Presbyterians were clapping their hands and swaying back and forth. And they even learned all about our youth program in this eight minute event. Try it Â… your congregation and youth will love it!

    Return to Index

    * Movie Review: Pray

    Video Release: 3/24/2008                             Content Description:

    Reviewer: Candice Moore                       Sex: Teen girl kisses her boyfriend on cheek.

    Source: Video                                         Language: None although a girl calls her boyfriend a "jerk."

    Company: Cross Shadow Productions     Violence: Girl elbows guy after he sneaks up on her;

                                                                   girl hits her attacker in the face to get away.

    Writer: Matt Mitchell                              Drugs: None

    Director: Matt Mitchell                            Nudity: None

    Producer: Tiaan Kruger                           Other: Abduction; teenage themes: dieting, relationships

    Genre: Suspense              

    Runtime: 72 min.              

    MPAA Rating: Unrated              

    Starring: Audrey Battah, Bonnie Johnson, Chris Houldsworth, Lea Bonne, Jack Boston, Dave Ferrise, Josh Smith, Delvin Brooks


    Synopsis:

    High School friends Madison and Lacy enjoy an out-of-town Christian Rock Concert. After some eerie events at their hotel, the friends abandon their night of rest and decide to drive through the night back to their hometown several hours away. However, someone or something follows them home!


    Dove Worldview:

    As a Christian “thriller” type film, this movie would serve as a great film for junior high/high school youth groups. The movie has normal teenage themes while keeping up with the thriller aspect throughout the entire film. This is not recommended to younger children due to the “scary” feel of the movie and its slant toward teens. In the beginning of the film, it indicates that the movie itself is based on actual events, so this could be used as an educational movie to show teens the importance of praying; and that sometimes, God will be the only one you have to talk to, and God wants you to ask Him for help. The Dove Foundation happily awards the Dove Seal.

    Editor's note: click here for a Bible study that accompanies the film

    http://www.praythemovie.com/biblestudy/

    Return to Index

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    More ideas ... try our newly formed website .... Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings: Site Two at ... Site Two

    .

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I Believe... for every drop of rain that falls ... do you remember the song?

    One of the Christians Under the Stairs young people sent to this web site a new version of "I Believe" Thanks, Michelle.

    I Believe...

    I believe - That just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.

    I believe - That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

    I believe - That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

    I believe - That true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.

    I believe - That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

    I believe - That it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

    I believe - That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

    I believe - That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

    I believe - That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

    I believe - That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

    I believe - That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

    I believe - That money is a lousy way of keeping score.

    I believe - That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

    I believe - That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

    I believe - That sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.

    I believe - That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

    I believe - That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

    I believe - That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

    I believe - That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

    I believe - That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life Forever.

    I believe - Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

    I believe - That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

    I believe - That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.

    I believe - That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

    I believe - That the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

    The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

    **

    Retreat 2008 Pictures ..... See Activities page for description of Retreat events. Scroll down this page to Newsletter Excerpts to read the Top Ten Events of the Retreat.

    Amazing Grace,

    How Sweet the Sound ........

    Studying the Stories: Lemming Condition, Small Fry, The Day Justice Died, The King and the Abbott, What is the Value of Prayer,and The King's Cathedral
    Fun at the Lake
    Yes, it was frozen solid!

    Finding Truth :the Candle Prayer< We light a candle and pray that we can overcome the roadblocks and take on the strengths God provides

    Lean on Me: the Christians Under the Stairs

    Christmas Symbols: A Story
    A friend shared this short story with me that she received from a friend. So thank you to Alba and to Sherrie for this story of Christmas. (I have abridged and paraphrased the story slightly for this web site)

    Just a week before Christmas a stranger knocked on our door. He looked friendly and we were immediately at ease. He asked if my mother had a moment to spend…. I could see he had tears in his eyes … then he said, “Teach the children”. I was puzzled. What did he mean? … then he said “Teach them the old meaning of Christmas…”

    My mother started to say, “How can I?” when he reached into his bag and pulled out a brilliant shining star. “Teach the children the star was the heavenly sign of promise long ages ago. God promised a savior for the world and the star was a sign of fulfillment of that promise. The countless shining stars at night – one for each man and woman – now show the burning hope of all mankind.” Our friend laid the star upon our fireplace mantle and took from his bag a glittering red tree ornament.

    “Teach the children red is the first color of Christmas. It was first used by faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all people by the savior. Christ gave His life and shed His blood so that we all might have God’s gift of eternal life. Red is deep, intense, vivid … it is the symbol of the gift of God.”

    “Teach the children”, he continued as he dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of his bag. He placed the red ornament in front of it. The deep green of the tree was a perfect background for the ornament, the second color of Christmas.

    “The pure green color of a stately fir tree remains green all year round,” he said. “This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind. Green is the youthful, hopeful color of nature. All the needles point heavenward – symbols of man’s best friend. It has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him.”

    Suddenly I could hear a soft tingling sound. “Teach the children that the lost sheep are found by the sound of a bell. It rings calling us all back to the fold – it means guidance … and signifies that all are precious in the eyes of God.” He then took a candle from his bag and placed it on the mantle next to the star. Lighting it, I noted a glow brightening the darkened room.

    “Teach the children”, he now whispered, “that the candle is a mirror of starlight. Years ago candles were placed on trees and resembled the stars of the sky glowing amidst the dark green branches.”

    He then bent down picking a wrapped gift from the tree. Pointing to a large bow upon it, our new friend said,” A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of brotherhood. We remember that the bow holds the present together as men and women should be joined together with bonds of good will towards each other…

    Reaching for a candy cane, hanging on our tree, he presented it to mom- “Teach the children that the candy cane represents the shepherd’s crook, which brings back the sheep who have strayed. The candy cane symbolizes the helping hand we are called by God to extend to one another”.

    Then one last time he reached for his bag, assuring mom this was the last thing to be shown. Somehow I didn’t want him to end. There must be more in that bag, I thought. Pulling out a small wreath he stated, “Teach the children that the wreath represents the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops or ends. It is one continuous round of affection… Please, please teach the children”.

    As suddenly as he had arrived, he bid his farewell. “I have others to visit” were the last words he said as I saw him wander down the street. My mother never knew that I had seen it all from the top of the stairwell that Christmas Eve in 1954. And to the best of my knowledge neither she nor any member of our family ever saw the stranger again. And mom never really “taught we children” the lessons the stranger related that night but she didn’t have to – I heard it all from the top of the stairs on a chilly Christmas Eve night over fifty years ago.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    l) Were You There?
    Bianca: Antonius Â… have you heard the stories that are spreading throughout the city ? One of those men crucified on Friday is said to be alive today.

    Antonius: I have heard of them and I am not sure what to believe. Which of the men has been said to have awoken from death?

    Bianca: It is the one called Jesus.

    Antonius: Was he the one crucified on the left or in the middle. I am familiar with the criminal on the right and I assure you he was dead. I, myself, inspected his body.

    Bianca: The one in the middle. Some call him Jesus, the Nazarene.

    Antonius: Yes, I have heard of him. He was said to raise a young girl of our friend Jairus from the dead a year or so ago. I found that difficult to believe but this is more incredible. How could a dead man raise himself from the dead?

    Bianca: I donÂ’t know. There are many stories about that man that make me wonder.

    Antonius: DidnÂ’t one of your slaves meet him at one time?

    Bianca: Yes.

    Antonius: Is she someone we can trust to give an honest account of her interactions?

    Bianca: Absolutely Â… she is one of my most trusted servants.

    Antonius: Call her in.

    (Bianca leaves then returns with Ariel.)

    Bianca: Antonius, this is Ariel.

    Antonius: Hello, Ariel. My wife speaks most highly of you.

    Ariel: Thank you, sir; it is an honor to be called into your presence.

    Antonius: My wife has reminded me that you once had an encounter with this man Jesus, the Nazarene. Would you share that experience with us.

    Ariel: Oh, that was so long ago. It was when I was a young girl and the encounter was not with Jesus but with his father Joseph. Jesus was only a young baby at the time.

    Scene changes. Joseph is standing next to a well with an innkeeper and a Roman guard.

    Roman: Move along, there are many people waiting for water.

    Joseph: Please, sir, give me a bit more time. Last night my wife gave birth and she is warm with a fever. I must get enough water to cool her forehead and to cleanse the baby.

    Roman: Well all right but donÂ’t be long. (Joseph pumps additional water. As he is pumping the innkeeper speaks.)

    Inn keeper: So, my dear friend, were you and your wife comfortable last night?

    Joseph: Yes, we were; it was a fairly quick yet difficult birth. My wife, Mary, was in such discomfort. She still now suffers from a warmness of her body. It is why I have come for water. (Rachelle, Arindan and young Ariel, dressed as shepherds, approach the well.)We were fortunate to have some shepherds visit us last night and one remains with her now.

    Roman: (To Rachelle, Arindan and young Ariel) You will have to wait your turn as, after this good man; I have been ordered to draw water for the magistrate. (They step aside.)

    (Joseph completes his task and begins to leave with a pot of water. The three approach him. )

    Arindan: Sir, I couldnÂ’t avoid hearing that you speak of a shepherd who visited you last evening and is staying with your wife at this time . Our father left us as we were going to bed and stated that he would return shortly but has not come home. His name is Esas. Is he with you?

    Joseph: I am not sure. A shepherd came with two friends and they all stayed several hours. Two left early this morning but this one man stated he would stay as he was aware of my wifeÂ’s fever.

    Rachelle: He must be our father as last night he left with two of our cousins after the angels appeared. The cousins have returned.

    Inn keeper: Did you say Angels?

    Rachelle: Oh, yes Â… they were there. There were many of them. Arindam, how many do you think there were?

    Arindan: Oh many, many of them. Ariel was the one who went up the hill. What do you think, Ariel?

    Young Ariel: I went up to the top of Notch Hill.

    Inn keeper: The hill with the crevice on the side?

    Ariel: Yes,

    Inn keeper: That is a dangerous hike, especially at night when it is dark.

    Young Ariel: Yes, I know. But last night with the star and all the angels, it was almost like day light when I was climbing.

    Inn keeper: You said Â… the star. Which star?

    Arindan: Oh, she means the star that is in the west. The bright one that has been shining all week long. Somehow, it seemed to shine brighter last night.

    Inn keeper: I retired early last night; I will stay up tonight to see this star.

    Rachelle: Ariel, please tell us what you saw.

    Young Ariel: When I got to the top of the hill and looked over, it was an unbelievable sight. There were twice as many angels in the sky that we could see from the tent. IÂ’d say fifty or more.

    Rachelle: Fifty Â… I could only see ten, maybe fifteen from the tent and I really couldnÂ’t understand what they were saying.

    Arindan: ThatÂ’s why Dad said he had to leave with David and Petras to see what was going on. Did anyone talk to David or Petras this morning?

    Young Ariel: I saw them this morning but I didnÂ’t want to wake them as they were sleeping but let me tell you what I heard.

    Joseph: I must leave as my wife needs me and I would like to send your father back to you. I, too, heard something in the sky last night and sometime I would like to hear more of your story, Ariel, but I must go now.

    Arindam: Please wish your wife and baby our best. What name are you giving the baby?

    Joseph: Oh, not an extraordinary name, even though I believe he is an extraordinary baby. We will call him Jesus. (Joseph leaves.)

    (Scene shifts to Bianca, Antonius and Ariel.)

    Antonius: Jesus? Â… my dear Ariel, could this have been the same Jesus, who was crucified two days ago.

    Ariel: I Â… I donÂ’t know though I suspect they are one and the same. Certainly their ages match. What I can say for certain is that it was an extraordinary night in Bethlehem the night he was born. I never saw or heard anything like it again and I lived in Bethlehem for ten more years after the babyÂ’s birth.

    (Scene shifts to shepherd children and inn keeper.)

    Inn keeper: Ariel, tell us some more.Rachelle: Yes, please do.

    Young Ariel: Well, I was very excited and I ran almost all of the way. The sky kept getting brighter and brighter as I got nearer to the notch at the top of the hill. I remember thinking how surprised I was that I was not tiring out.

    When I got to the top Â… well, the sight was overwhelming. I will never, ever forget it and I wish you could have all been there. The angels Â… they were off to the left right over the inn at the bottom of the other side of the hill.

    Inn keeper: ThatÂ’s my inn you are speaking of.

    Young Ariel: Yes, and for a brief moment I could see Father and Petras and David descending the hill towards the angels and the inn.

    Inn keeper: I wonder why I couldnÂ’t hear them.

    Ariel: I can’t imagine that you didn’t. They were not really loud but there were so many of them and they spoke perfectly together. “Glory to God in the highest and peace has now come to earth.” Something like that.

    Rachelle: Wow, I wish I had followed you to Notch Hill.

    Arindan: Me too.

    Young Ariel: I wish you had too. I know for certain that God was doing something special last night and it looks like it had to do with the baby that was born. What did his father say his name was?

    Inn keeper: Jesus, I believe Â… you know, I had better go check on that family. They are not in my inn but they are residing at the barn in the back. Thank you for telling me the story Â… all of you and I will stay up this evening to look for that star. Maybe the angels will come back.

    (Scene shifts.)

    Bianca: Ariel, did the angels return?

    Ariel: I never saw them again.

    Antonius: And what about the star? My astrologer was in Rome at the time and stated that he had heard of an omen in the eastern sky some thirty or so years ago.

    Ariel: I remember my whole family except for Petras, who stayed behind to watch the sheep, walking to the top of Notch Hill the next night. We could still see the star, high in the sky but did not see any angels.

    Antonius: How long did the star remain?

    Ariel: I am not sure. I was only twelve at the time. I would say it began to fade away after about a week.

    Bianca: You said you only saw the father not the mother or the baby. Did you ever see him again?

    Ariel: No Â… but I will never forget that night and that morning. I know there is a God that cares about all of us and, at this one special time, he let us know by sending his angels.

    Antonius: And he did Bianca and I a favor by sending you, Ariel, to us Â… to tell us this story. I must tell my physician friend, Luke, of this special story you have told. Would you share it with him?

    Ariel: Of course.

    [Have someone read LukeÂ’s story of the birth of Jesus Christ from Luke chapter two.]

    Interested in more skits for Easter, Christmas, The Lord's Supper or the Trials of Peter and Paul? They can be found in ...
    Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)


    Note: abbreviated version of thios skit with different pictures at bottom of this page.

    Activities in Malaysia

    These ideas of what youth groups in Malaysia do has been submitted by Jullian Victor.

    Last month, on the 23rd, we had a Youth Concert. It was a the first time though. We have always had concerts, at least about 3 or 4 times a year, but they were always held in our church, therefore, small crowds. But last month was the first time we did it in an auditorium that we rented. It was great! I was also one of the 5 worship leaders. We had a Pastor from the USA who shared the word, and we had other activities like a short drama and also dances and other presentations. We are planning a bigger one next year, with better publicity this time. Being a Muslim country, open-air Christian concerts and activities are a no-no, and its hard to do proper publicity. We even do various social works for the lost souls, like monthly groceries for the lost and poor families, and also recently had a carnival where we had food, activities, clothing, seminars and many more for free. Its amazing how God provided for the concert and everything else.

    We would also like to be in correspondence with youths of other nations too, so i cant wait to get started. While its good that they NOW know of the existance of Christians in this unfamiliar country, I believe its also important that we maintain a close rapport if you like, and to encourage, enlighten and bless each other in any way possible.

    Editor's note: We in the USA also wish to share and our young people have been doing so with young people from Uganda. Please have your youth tell us about your youth program - what they like about it and what they have learned from it. We all look forward to hearing from them.

    The Duck & the Devil

    This is a story about forgiveness sent to me by one of our youth group memebers, Michelle. It is a story that describes the devil just a little differently. It made me think and I trust it will do the same for each of you. Thank you, Michelle.

    There was a little boy visiting his grandparents on their farm. He was given a slingshot to play with out in the woods. He practiced in the woods; but he could never hit the target. Getting a little discouraged, he headed back for dinner. As he was walking back he saw Grandma's pet duck.

    Just out of impulse, he let the slingshot fly, hit the duck square in the head and killed it. He was shocked and grieved!

    In a panic, he hid the dead duck in the wood pile; only to see his sister watching! Sally had seen it all, but she said nothing.

    After lunch the next day Grandma said, "Sally, let's wash the dishes." But Sally said, "Grandma, Johnny told me he wanted to help in the kitchen." Then she whispered to him, "Remember the duck?" So Johnny did the dishes.

    Later that day, Grandpa asked if the children wanted to go fishing and Grandma said, "I'm sorry but I need Sally to help make supper."

    Sally just smiled and said, "Well that's all right because Johnny told me he wanted to help." She whispered again, "Remember the duck?" So Sally went fishing and Johnny stayed to help.

    After several days of Johnny doing both his chores and Sally's; he finally couldn't stand it any longer.

    He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the duck. Grandma knelt down, gave him a hug and said, "Sweetheart, I know. You see, I was standing at the window and I saw the whole thing, but because I love you, I forgave you. I was just wondering how long you would let Sally make a slave of you."

    Thought for the day and every day thereafter? Whatever is in your past,whatever you have done... And the devil keeps throwing it up in your face (lying, cheating, debt, fear, bad habits, hatred, anger, bitterness, etc.)...whatever it is...You need to know that God was standing at the window and He saw the whole thing. He has seen your whole life. He wants you to know that He loves you and that you are forgiven.

    He's just wondering how long you will let the devil make a slave of you. The great thing about God is that when you ask for forgiveness, He not only forgives you, but He forgets. It is by God's grace and mercy that we are saved.

    Go ahead and make the difference in someone's life today. Share this with a friend and always remember: God is at the window! When Jesus died onthe cross; he was thinking of you!

    For more ideas to help youth understand God's love and forgiveness... click: From the Mountaintop

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    The Three Pens Game
    In this game the leader sits behind a table which is bare except for three pens. The pens are randomly set in a design by the youth leader. The youth leader rests one or two hands on the table along side the three arranged pens. While doing this one or more fingers are pointed on the table. The group is asked to determine what number is represented on the table.

    It usually takes several attempts for at least one or two youth to discover the solution to the puzzle which is determined by the number of fingers pointing on the table and not by the arrangement of the pens. Of course one should take time before each guess to rearrange the pens carefully to leave the impression that you are diligently trying to get the formation of pens just right. The leader should alternate displays of fingers, using one or two hands with varied numbers of fingers pointing, after each rearrangement of the pens. The longer it takes for everyone to guess how to solve the riddle (count the revealed fingers), the more fun it is especially for the youth who have already figured out the answer and who usually cannot contain their disbelief that everyone does not get it. Make sure everyone 'gets it' sometime,even if you have to pound two hands with five extended fingers on the table and call out ìtenî for those who continue to struggle

    As simple as this game appears it has a very important message for the youth group year. Remind youth that the correct answer is obtained when they look at the entire table, the 'whole picture', not just the obvious (the pens). Similarly when we study things of faith, we need to look at them from various segments of scripture. Paul's views of faith and those of James are different yet the understanding of each gives us a more complete knowledge of how our faith helps us move forward in all the tasks of our lives.

    Christmas Gift for your Youth Worker

    Jo writes regarding Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings ... "I think this book is really good and helpful. I first read the online version of the book because i did not want to pay for it. But after reading a couple of program ideas and having a very very successful youth program I totally HAD to get this book. It is well worth the money." Read more reviews like this one by Jo by clicking ... Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

    Blessings for the Faithful The following two segments are separate yet related. One is a story of GodÂ’s blessings for the faithful. The second is an exercise to encourage youth to examine themselves and how their faith has actively guided them.

    * Arthlyn Ferguson memory

    The Story

    A short time ago my mother, who had been suffering from AlzheimerÂ’s disease for many years, fell and broke her hip. She was in significant pain so surgery had to be done. Though she survived what was deemed to be successful hip surgery, she was never the same thereafter. Her eighty-four year old body was worn down.

    It soon became obvious that she has a week or two to live. We placed her in a wonderful hospice facility and I brought a CD of old time hymns that many years before she had played while accompanying on piano the congregation of a fledgling church. The CD brought peace to my mom and all of us as we visited her during the last days of her life. The staff at the hospice agreed to play the tape for her after tending to her needs.

    The day she passed away my wife and I were on the way to see when we received the call that she has passed away. Advising that I wished to see her one last time (she was donating her body to science for research so there would be no viewing), the staff agreed to leave her untouched, as she was at death, until we arrived.

    A short time later my wife and I entered her room of the past five days and mom looked comfortable and at peace. I asked if the staff had put the music on that day and they said they had done so twice but were not sure that it was on when she died as the actual time of death was uncertain. The nurse asked if we would like to hear the hymns during these last minutes with mom. I said, “Certainly” and the nurse went to turn the CD player on. The player started and was clearly spinning but no sound could be heard. The nurse was surprised. She had successfully taken the same action several times that week including twice that very day. I looked at the device and saw it spinning and recording that it was now on track three. Still no sound even when the volume was turned up.

    My wife then spoke, “It’s not playing because she is no longer here to hear it.” Of course, why didn’t we consider this? Mom now had a heavenly choir to sing to her.

    I then spent about a half hour with mom, spoke to the staff for a while and left. On the way home we took the disk, which had been soundless in momÂ’s room a short time before, and placed it in our car stereo system. Instantly it played beautifully, loud and clear. But, I am sure, not as beautifully as the heavenly choir mom was hearing.

    Mom has passed to the heavenly choir but she leaves behind more than memories. Throughout this web site is my mother's art work, pencil drawings of "faith" and "trust", seen below on this page as well as drawings of the words "Fun" and "hope" elsewhere. Thank you, Arthlyn Ferguson (1923 - 2007).

    Faith Stories of Youth

    The Lesson

    I am sharing the above story at this time because it is important to find ways to share real life stories with our young people. A week after momÂ’s passing we held the following meeting which could be termed faith stories, but in a different sense than people would anticipate. We had our young people share every day stories of their lives which were used to demonstrate the essence of spiritual growth through faith.

    There are five segments to this lesson:

    • Bring two Bibles in. One should be old, worn and well used. We used my mom’s Bible she had received some seventy or so years earlier, copyright 1919. The second Bible should be new, perhaps with commentary, indexes and the like. I used The New Interpreters Study Bible which provides much reference material for my work.

    Now – ask the young people – which of these Bibles has the greatest value. The one that is falling apart, with much of it underlined and a listing of favorite verses on its cover or the Bible that is barely worn with wonderful reference material and maps. Our youth came up with differing opinions and it took about five minutes of discussion before someone said – the Bible that’s been most used is the most valuable. We then pointed out that there is nothing that will hasten youth along their faith journey than putting their Bibles into use by reading them regularly. And underlining them and leaving notes in the margin does not take away value from their Bible: it adds to its value.

    • Ask the young people to share a story of the earliest event in their life they can remember. As they share their memories, look for memories of joy, of loving acts by family members, and of expressed faith. One young lady spoke of remembering finding an filled Easter basket and the joy of the event. Others described moments of parents stepping forward to relieve a fearful situation.

    After all young people share their stories, read Luke 18:17. Point out that we must have faith in God similar to the faith a young child has in his/her caretakers. Challenge the young people to think about their early experiences of trust in those caring for them. This will give them insight in what trust in God consists of.

    • Ask the young people to share a time that they had a stranger or someone unexpectedly appear at their door. What was their family’s and their own reaction? Were they welcoming or were they cold and not accepting. We heard a variety of stories from that of salesmen and proselytizers appearing to old forgotten family friends arriving. As the leader make sure you can think of an occasion that you warmly received the unexpected guest and a time you were more rejecting.

    After hearing the stories discuss the dynamics behind the stories of acceptance of the guest and the times the guest was rejected. Why were the responses different? Point out that we, due to circumstances, are unlikely to treat everyone the same. Certainly the long forgotten friend, after the moment of surprise wears off, is likely to be warmly received while the salesman peddling exactly what the family does not need is not.

    Now read Revelation 3:20, “I stand at the door and knock”. Ask the young people how they respond to Jesus at their doorstep. Do they treat him like the long lost friend or the unwanted salesman. Take some time to discuss the persistence in which God pursues us to respond positively to himself and the word of God. Challenge the youth to open the door of their hearts and to let him come in.

    • Ask the young people to describe a moment when they or a member of their family did a good deed for another person with nothing to be gained for doing so. Take time to discuss why the deed was done and what was the effect on the recipient. Would the young person repeat the same actions if the opportunity came again? Since our youth group is involved in a number of local mission activities, this provided a good source of good deeds done.

    Now display a list of the fruits of the spirit: faithfulness, goodness, humility, joy, kindness, love, patience, peace and self-control. Take time to discuss which of these were present during the youthÂ’s good deed. If time allows, ask the youth which of these fruits of the spirit are hardest to attain. Our young people cited patience and self control as the most difficult. Reinforce the fact that when we openly let the Spirit of God into our hearts, we find these fruits of the spirit growing within us.

    Take a moment to expand on one of these fruits: love. Our youth described this as the most important and basic of all the fruits. Point out that the Apostle Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13 agrees when he states there are “faith, hope and love, these three but the greatest of these is love.” Read the earlier verses in the chapter that describe love as patient and kind, not conceited, jealous or proud and happy with the truth. These definitions of love are very similar to the fruits of the spirit.

    The wrap up for the evening will be different for each youth group involved. Take time to reinforce the part of the discussion that you had the most participation from the youth. Our group spent a lot of time discussing reactions to the stranger at the door. Therefore, our wrap up stressed the Revelation 3:20 verse – how are we receiving Christ … with open arms as some of our youth reached out to the unanticipated visitor or do we respond coldly like we often do to the individual selling things or those looking for charitable donations.

    Often after a detailed discussion such as the one above, I will review it at a later date and what sometimes happens is that when the essence of the program is reviewed youth will respond differently than the first time the program’s events were done. You may find the young people focusing on completely different parts of the program. This is actually good – it gives we youth leaders an opportunity to expand the faith of our youth.

    Try this program and write to me at TimFerguson@Christianyouthgroup.org and let me know how it went. May God continue to bless all efforts being made on behalf of Christian Youth.

    A Service of Connections at the Beach
    Easter Dawn at the Beach

    Below are excerpts from an Easter dawn service held on Long Island but remembering Christian friends from around the world.

    Leader: Paul wrote in Philippians 3:10, 'All I want is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection'.

    All: Early on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away. She went running to Simon Peter and the other disciple whom Jesus loved and told them, 'They have taken the Lord from the tomb and we donĂ­t know where they have put him'.

    Leader: Then Peter and the other disciple went to the tomb. The two of them were running but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and reached the tomb first.

    All: (to the tune of Morning is Broken)

    Early on Easter, Mary approaches

    An empty tomb; wonders where could he be?

    Peter and John ask, that very question

    Run for the answers, like you and me.

    Leader: The answer to the empty tomb, what could it be?

    All: Certainly it means that Jesus Christ is alive today. But we want to know more. Like Paul, we want to know about the power of the resurrection.

    Leader: Is not the power of the resurrection displayed in the power of ChristĂ­s message? How else could it be that so many, around the world, follow the teachings of this man Jesus?

    Look all around you. To the east we have China where the orphan we support lives. To the southeast we have Uganda where our newfound Christian friends reside. To the southwest is El Salvador where many of our church will be going on a missionary medical trip soon. Pick a spot around the world to someone you would like to be with this Easter. Reach out towards them and say the following prayer.

    My family and friends around the world

    Bring us together in the power of this Easter morning

    Let the hope of Jesus' calling

    Bring us together as one.

    All: How can we truly be brought together as One?

    Leader: Later on the evening of his resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples. They were filled with joy at seeing him. Jesus then said, 'Peace be unto you. As the Father sent me so I send you.' Then He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit'.

    All: So this is the power of the resurrection - the presence of the Holy Spirit!.

    Leader: The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians explained this nicely. He wrote, 'Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace which binds us together. There is one body and one Spirit just as there is one hope to which God has called you'.

    All: Let us all pledge to commit ourselves to that one hope..

    Leader: May GodĂ­s spirit connect us together as one, whether we live in the USA,

    All: Let us remember the promises of Easter and the power of the resurrection every day of our lives.

    Expectations and a Declaration
    During the evening ask youth to share their expectations for the advent season and later compare them to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth.

    Begin by advising that the group will sing a ìwelcome to advent' carol, 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. A verse or two will probably do. Then ask youth to verbally share their expectations. Leaders should record them. There will probably be some reference to the singing of Christmas carols or Christmas music. Sing 'I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day' and discuss how the music of Christmas fulfills our expectations of the season.

    Now refer to the expectations of the Jewish people at the time of Jesus' birth. Two scripture passages are suggested to demonstrate the uncertain expectations the people had for the coming of their Messiah. Daniel 7: 13-14 tells of a human being who, at the direction of God, 'was given authority, honor and royal power, so that the people of all nations, races and languages would serve him. His authority would last forever and his kingdom would never end'. Contrast this to the prediction in Isaiah 42, which reads, 'He will bring justice to every nation. He will not shout or raise his voice, or make loud speeches in the street. He will not break off a bent reed nor put out a flickering lamp. He will bring lasting justice to all'.

    Now ask the youth to shift gears and share what they imagine the three kings were thinking as they traveled a rather lengthy journey to Bethlehem to meet the expected king. Sing 'We Three Kings of Orient Are'.

    Take a moment to explore the reactions of the shepherds. What did they anticipate as the angels appeared to make God's declaration about the child to be born. Sing all three verses of 'The First Noel' noting references to both the shepards and the wise men in the lyrics.

    Now it is time to make comparisons. Read the youth's list of their expectations for the coming Christmas season. What things on the list are similar to those of the wise men and the Jewish people at the time of Christ's birth? Did youth reference peace and justice coming to earth? Did they talk of focusing on the birth of a savior?

    Take time to point out that, undoubtedly, as the wise men traveled to Jerusalem, their expectations of meeting the expected king must have heightened and, possibly, changed. Do our expectations heighten and change, and in what way, as Christmas Day approaches?

    Now point out that the Biblical story in Luke presents us with, not expectations, but a declaration by the messengers of God himself - his angels, who make it clear the essence of the coming of Jesus - 'Glory to God in the Highest and on earth, peace, goodwill to men' (Luke 2:14).

    We ended our session by singing the song ;'Do You Hear What I Hear?' and then pointing out that a response to the season and story of advent is found in the lyrics of the song. Do we hear? Do we see? Do we know him? Do we pray for peace, people everywhere? When we do, the song lyrics conclude, 'He will bring us Goodness and Light'.

    Please view Activites page for current activities.
    Christians Under the Stairs Activities Archives
    Activities For Fun

    Christmas Top Ten
    Tonight at our youth meeting we will be distributing a list of well known Christmas carols both secular and religious. Our young people will be asked to rate them between one and seven as to their favorites. They are also allowed to check off one and only one that they truly do not like. The votes are anonymous but the youth are to mark their ballot "boy" or "girl"

    At the end of the evening the votes will be tabulated as follows ... 10 points for #1 choice, 8 points for #2, 6 points or #3 then 4,3,2 and 1 points for votes four through seven. For every checked carol (that youth do not like) three points will be subtracted. We will create a top ten list for the girls, a list for the boys and then a cumulative list. Next Sunday (12/9/07) we will have a countdown Christmas carol sing, beginning with number 10 and ending with number 1 from the cumulative list. The boys' and girls' lists will also be shared. A song sheet with twelve songs will be used so that youth cannot guess the winner by process of elimination. Before each song, a brief history of the song, it's author and the historical significance of the song will be shared. The results will be posted on the CUTS page of this website during the week of 12/10/07.

    The Haircut
    It's time for a story about a Christian teenager. A young boy had just gotten his Driver's permit and asked his father if they could discuss his use of the car. His father said he'd make a deal with his son."You bring your grades up from a C to a B average,study your Bible a little, get your hair cut and we'll talk about the car." The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he'd settle for the offer and they agreed on it.

    After about six weeks his father said, "Son, I've been real proud. You brought your grades up and I've observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I'm real disappointed you didn't get your hair cut." The young man paused a moment then said, "You know, Dad, I've been thinking about that, and I've noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair and there's even a strong argument that Jesus had long hair.

    To this his father replied, "Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?"

    Please view Activites page for current activities.

    Listomania
    Listomania: A word game that is a team event. Pick five members of each team to play a round of the game. Make several rounds so that all youth can play at least one round.

    Line up five youth from each team in a row. The youth must remain in the established order which can be of their team captainÂ’s choosing. Once a youth has taken an action he/she must return to the back of the line. The adult leader presents a large piece of paper. (Half a sheet of oak tag paper for each round works well). Down the middle, horizontally, the leader lists the alphabet. The leader then declares the name of a category, say, the name of a state.

    The team behind in the Olympics goes first. Its team member at the front of its line of five has ten seconds to enter a state on the paper. No assistance can be given from the team.

    Upon writing his/her entry on the sheet, the marker is passed to the first person on the opposite side to do the same. No one can enter the same name twice so, if one team enters “Texas” as a state starting with a “t”, the other team would need to enter “Tennessee” or risk losing the “t” category. The attempts to fill the lists continue until the individual, due to enter a state, on both sides cannot write down an entry. At this moment the five person teams can confer and make one additional team entry per team. This time it is “first come, first served”. The following is an example of a listomania competition after each of five youth have gone twice.

    Team 1                        Team 2

    Arizona               A         Alabama
                                B
    Connecticut        C           California
    Delaware            D
                              E
                              F           Florida
                              G           Georgia
                              H           Hawaii
    Indiana               I
                              J
                              K
                              L           Louisiana
    Montana            M           Maine
    New York         N           New Jersey
                              O
                              P
                              Q
    Rhode Island      R
    South Carolina   S
    Texas                T           Tennessee
    Utah                   U
                              V           Vermont
                              W
                              X
                              Y
                              Z

    Score the round as follows. Winner gets the total states named plus five bonus points. The loser gets a point for each state named. Add up the scores of several rounds to declare a winner.

    Please view Activites page for current activities.

    FLORIDA COURT SETS ATHEIST HOLY DAY and it is coming soon!

    In Florida , an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter & Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews & observances of their holy days. The argument was ~ it is unfair that atheists had no such recognized day(s).

    The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, 'Case dismissed.'

    The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter & others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur & Hanukkah. Yet my client & all other atheists have no such holidays.'

    The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, 'But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant.' The lawyer said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists.' The judge said, 'The calendar says April 1st is 'April Fools Day.' Psalm 14:1 states 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned.

    Christians Under the Stairs Activities Archives
    Fifties Night : the Youthful Spirit
    Fun ... Fun ... Fun Friends and more Friends Christian Youth creating Fun
    Will you still love me tomorrow 1958 at the hop! Why must I be a teenager in love
    Let me say it louder so your deaf ear can hear it ... I quit and you're a bum! Why don't you try some of this ... stuff Ed Sullivan singing Love Portion #9 with dad and brother???

    Olympics 2008

    Sunday: March 20th: * Olympics begin with Volleyball and Spelling bee competitions. It is “Pocket Change” verses the “Lunch Bunch” this year. Banners are due tonight. [Running score of each evenings events and cumulative score will be added to this web site on a weekly basis.] Score after events of 2/20/08: Pocket Change- 30.0; Lunch Bunch- 20.7 (to be continued).

    Sunday, March 23rd: Easter Dawn Service – led by the Youth Group. We meet at Cedar Beach at 6:00 AM for worship. Breakfast served at the church after the service. No youth group in the evening.

    Sunday, March 30th: Day Two of the Olympics with Darts and Charades competitions. The first round of pool begins. Lunch Bunch squeaks by with win in Darts competition 539 to 484. Points alloted: 15 to winners, 5 to losers. In Charades Stephen Ermert has 25 seconds to get his team to say "10,000 B.C." He gets "10" and "bee" and that's all.Lunch Bunch comes from behind to win. Score - 15-5 Points. Pocket Change- 40.0; Lunch Bunch- 50.7

    Sunday, April 6th: Day Three of Olympics with Soccer, Domino Stacking and Musical Chairs competitions. First two rounds of Pool will be held. Meet at church at 4:00 PM for soccer. Pizza dinner provided after soccer. The Gebhardt duo (Michael and Tayna lead Lunch Bunch to a 8 to 1 victory. Domino Stacking finds Lunch Bunch winning competition 4 to 3. In Musical Chairs Chantel takes first with Pocket Change taking second, third and fifth. Pocket Change- 60.0; Lunch Bunch- 92.7

    Saturday, April 12th: Hope for the Future Outdoor Soup Kitchen: lower East Side of Manhattan. Meet at church at 11:00 AM to carpool to the Farmingdale warehouse. Travel to New York City in early afternoon – arrival about 1:30 to 2:00 PM Return to warehouse late afternoon to unload vans and clean up. Go to diner for dinner at about 7:00 PM after clean up. Bring a bag lunch.

    Note: this event is rescheduled for Saturday, June 14th. Same time - same hungry, homeless people in need of food, friendship and faith. Mark your calendars.

    Sunday, April 13th: Morning - we do a presentation of Thirty Hour Famine with performances of "Down to the River to Pray" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands". Ariel leads a candle ceremony and one church leader replied, "I am so inspired". We also find out that the number of cans raised in the food drive was 2,000 cans, twice what had been estimated. It was a special morning at the Deer Park Presbyterian Church.

    Later ... Day Four of Olympics: features Steal the Duck and Limbo competitions. Lunch Bunch jumps out to an early lead in "Steal the Bunny" ... we couldn't find a duck ! Lunch Bunch comes back to tie but Pocket Change wins last three contests for a 20 to 15 victory. Limbo finds a three way tie for first and a five way tie for fifth. Pocket Change outplaces Lunch Bunch5 to 4 but Lunch Bunch has two of top three and is credited with a 14.8 to 7.2 victory. Congrats to Ariel, Tayna and Nicole for three way tie for first (making about two and a half feet). (6:30 PM)

    Pocket Change- 72.8; Lunch Bunch- 122.5

    Sunday, April 20th: Day Five of Olympics with Family Feud and A Little Alliteration competitions. Meet at 7:00 PM. Wins by the Pocket Change team tightened the score. Rumor is Pocket Change is finally planning on completing their banner!!! What happened this year in A Little Alliteration ??? Score at end of day:Pocket Change- 102.8; Lunch Bunch- 132.5

    Sunday, April 27th: Day Six of Olympics with Softball,completion of Ping Pong and Pool tournaments, Puzzle Making and Pie Eating competitions. Meet at 3:30 PM for softball. Puzzle aking - closest competition ever. 150 piece puzzle completed by Lunch Bunch in 22 minutes. At completion Pocket Change had 4 pieces left to put into the Puzzle. Lunch Bunch wins all four ping pong matches but Rick Weidenburner defends his pie eating championship with teammate Antoni Raccanelli a very close second.

    Rachelle takes on the four time champion Now five time winner Ricky Weidenburner-on right; second place teammate, Antoni Racanelli, on left
    Score at the end of the day: Pocket Change- 125.8; Lunch Bunch- 171.5 ,

    Sunday, May 4, 2008 Day Seven of Olympics Track and Field with Team Bocce and Bible Trivia. Meet at church at 5:30 PM. Track includes the following; 50 yard dash girls/guys; one lap run (1/5th mile) girls/guys; broad jump girls/guys; softball throw girls/guys; Boccee team event; relay race - mixed and 1/2 mile run - girls get handicap. Over 100 points dispursed between the teams. Draft of skit and song for each team must be in by this date. Five Point late penalty!!!
    Pocket Change wins softball game 25 to 10 behind "bashers" Antoni and Vito Racanelli. Lunch Bunch bounces back with win in Track 67.5 to 46.5. Key event was Bocce when Lunch Bunch twice rallyed on their last throw to hold off an expected Pocket Change win. Score at the end of Day Seven: Pocket Change- 187.3; Lunch Bunch- 244.0 Here is the throw by Rachel Gebhardt that tied the score

    Sunday, May 11th Happy Mother's Day Bible trivia (15 points to winner. 25 points disbursed proportionately).

    Pocket Change sweeps all 40 points by getting 43 out of a possible 47 questions right. The Ermert boys, Danny and Stephen, studied and dominated. Score at end of the day: Pocket Change- 227.3; Lunch Bunch- 244.0

    Sunday, May 18th Final Olympic Competition: Skits and Songs Competition. Judging on skit, song and banner. Maximum points per team is 85 points. Bonus of 5 points to the winner of each event. Olympic ceremony follows with individual awards and the final totals.

    So what happened? Lunch Bunch scores high in Banner competition to go ahead by 37.7 points. Pocket Change hurt badly by getting banner in over one month late while Lunch Bunch was on time.

    In the song competition Pocket Change won 23.3 to 12.0 and with the bonus of 5 points and remarkably cut the deficit almost in half to 21.6 points.

    In the skit competition, Pocket Change scored 31.6 out of 35 points to Lunch Bunch's score of 19.3. With the five point bonus, Pocket Change picked up 17.3 points... picking up all but 4.1 points which was the margin of victory for Lunch Bunch.

    There have been 14 youth group olympics since the first one in 1995. This year was the second closest score ever. Pocket Change- 310.7; Lunch Bunch- 314.8

    Olympics Skits, Songs and Banner Competition
    Lunch Bunch Banner Pocket Change Team Lunch Bunch Skit
    The winning banner Go for it, even if we are down a bunch of points Since you kids won't listen to me, I'm going to go listen to the Mets game
    We all made it on time for rehearsal ... sort of on time Singing it out ... to victory Detention is really not that bad and we could learn to be friends here!

     I'll even make a team banner for a bite to eat < We can't wait for the ice cream parlor on Fifties Night
    Youth Group Summer Events
    June 2007
    • During our meeting on Sunday, June 3rd , we saw the full length movie Joni. This is the true story of a young girl, Joni Eareckson, who in the summer before her freshman year in college, goes swimming, dives off a jetty and severely injures herself. Her life goals are suddenly shattered and she begins to question her faith. 'Why did you let this happen?' she cries out to God.

      A thought comes to mind that,at the time of her accident, Joni was about the same age as our three newly elected leaders: Ariel, Tayna and Kelly. We know our three leaders are caring young women with a faith that God works in their lives - God worked in a special way through Joni and we have confidence that he will do the same through Ariel, Tayna and Kelly. We pray that God will bring ideas and energy to our three new youth leaders. A good year is ahead I am sure.

    • Youth Group Catskills Hike Saturday, July 21, 2007

      Youth members went on a two part hike in the Catskill Mountain at North Lake campgrounds, a few miles east of Hunter Mountain. We left the church at 8:00 AM for a three plus hour trip to the Northern Catskill region.

      We began with a hike that is a five to six mile loop. It was not a difficult hike with only a few challenging spots and some are fun as, at the beginning, we pulled ourselves up over boulders a couple of times. We made stops at Artist Rock and NewmanÂ’s ledge (for lunch), then on to North Point, which is 3,000 feet above sea level and 1,000 feet above where we started our hike. So why are there no pictures ??? Because the fearless leader/photographer, Tim, didn't put a video card in his camera while he took about twenty pictures of the hike !!! But Pastor John to the rescue with a picture of the group at the trailhead. After returning to North Lake we went swimming to cool off. Then to our second hike with video card in the camera !!!

      This second hike was about one half mile into the forest to Kaaterskill Falls, a two segmented waterfall, 300 feet in height. The beginning of the hike was challenging with a steep area is at the beginning then a cool mountain stream to lead us the falls. And finally some pictures for the website!

      New vocabulary learned on the hike - the phrase "No hands". This was an enunciation by youth group members as they scampered up a steep slope without reaching out to trees, bushes or rocks for balance. Second new vocabulary phrase learned enunciated by adult leaders on the hike, "Oh, no ... not 'no hands' again". Then "I hope there will be no injuries on this hike". Only injury - sore left knee by an adult who did not participate in "No hands" challenges!!!.

      So, Stephen, Danny and Ricky - which was more challenging? North Point and Kaaterskil Falls or the Slide Mountain hike two years ago?.