A new journey in faith

So, this summer I am directing a day camp and there has been an interesting turn of events that I would like to share about… Here we go!!

The weeks leading up to Sonshine Day Camp were filled with wonder. Wonder of what I were supposed to do (being a first time director was intimidating to say the least). Wonder of if I was doing the “right” things. And Wonder of what the future would bring. The week preceding this week, my assistant director and some of her church youth group went on a local missions trip called “Serve”. Upon return, many of them fell ill, and she fell victim as well. After visiting the hospital, it was concluded that my assistant director would not be able to participate for the first week of camp.

When I received the news (on Saturday), I was pretty devastated. To make things worse, I was scheduled to help lead worship the next day at The Way Community Church and I felt like I couldn’t give it my all. Despite my feelings, I decided to proceed with leading worship because I really like the worship leader that was leading that day and she doesn’t lead with us very often. On Sunday morning, I was making lots of mistakes during rehearsal because my mind was on what I had to do with SDC and was kinda freaking out. Even though I hadn’t told the worship leader my situation, after rehearsal, she came up to me and told me that she felt like I was holding back in my guitar playing. She then told me to just let everything go and just play my heart out for God regardless of any mistakes that I would make. I felt comforted by what she said and I did play hard, I did make (many) mistakes, and I did pour out my soul to God. The two songs that stood out to me that day were the songs “Everyday” and “Lead me to the Cross” by Hillsong. Both songs reminded me to lay myself down and live for God and to shine my light. This gave me comfort that God would always be there even if my assistant couldn’t. I didn’t have to go through this situation alone.

Almost right after service, I got a text message from one of our volunteers who was not scheduled to help out for week 1. She had found out our situation through an announcement made at Broadmoor Baptist Church. Now this was one of our volunteers who was extremely shy and didn’t feel comfortable stepping up in many situations, yet when the need arose, she was the very first person to step up. Not only that, but she asked me to help instead of the other way around.

Throughout the week, I learned to rely and trust my volunteer team heavily. Even though we had lots of new volunteers, they all rose to the challenge and helped make the first week of SDC a success. I am so grateful for each and every one of them!! Whenever one volunteer could not come out another person would come and take their place.

On Wednesday, my greatest highlight happened. I am mainly in charge of the worship portion of the day camp and my assistant director is mainly in charge of the crafts portion of the day camp. Interestingly, the craft idea for this particular week was an idea I had and it made me feel a little bit more confident because if she had planned it, then I would be constantly worrying if I was doing the right thing.

Actually, the craft idea I had in mind had to do with worship, it was to create a song album for the campers to take home (check out https://soundcloud.com/edward-dengler/sets/step-by-step-an-sdc-album) and enjoy and to have them decorate the cover as they pleased. Many campers had a blast singing and it really made my day. I played the CD as they decorated and the campers and volunteers would sing along and do the actions. This helped me see the light that I shone in the camp. I couldn’t previously see the light I cast because my shadow of doubt covered it from my sight, but now that I am aware of it, I will try my best to continue to let it shine for the rest of SDC. I always here compliments about my musical talents and I’m always flattered but would kind of think of my other friends whom I perceive as more talented and brush the compliments aside.

I pray that I can stop being so insecure about the talents given to me and to help others see their light as well.

Are we missing the BIG picture?

A couple of Sundays ago, a visiting pastor at my church shared a story about his childhood with the children.  He talked about how he was cut from the school baseball team when he was a young child and how his father comforted him by giving him ice cream and encouraging him to practice hard and improving for the next year.  In the next year he not only made the team, but he was selected as team captain and then they went on to win first place in the playoffs.  At the very end of the story, on little boy spoke out and said, “You never told us what flavour the ice cream was?”

History-of-Ice-Cream-1

Of course all of us adults laughed at the innocence of such a question asked by this child, but for him it was actually really important.  This got me thinking, are we the same with things that God tells us?  Does he tell us stories and plans that he has for us, yet all we focus on is the fact that there are little treats throughout our life journeys.  Is he telling us all the hardships, time, effort and hard work that we need to put in to go through life and succeed, and at the very end all we caught on was that there was going to be ice cream?  Then when we go through life expecting ice cream and wonder when the ice cream will come.  Is this what we focus on?  All the treats and not the actual journey?

This was just a thought that I had.  I pray that ALL of us can focus on the BIG picture and then we can enjoy our treats that much more.

Like a child

If you haven’t caught on yet from reading my previous blogs or if this is the first blog that you are reading by me, I learn a lot from children and youth.

As a youth leader and coach I love to watch youth from my youthgroup play sports.  Whenever I (or any other youth leader) go watch a youth play a sport they always feel like they have to play their hardest and win their game.  A couple of examples.  One youth lost her hockey game and she felt so bad and kept on apologizing to me and the other leaders that were there for losing.  Another youth told me not to bother going to any of his basketball games because they had a bad record.  I love how these youth look up to us in this way where they feel like they let us down when they lose.  In reality, we love to watch them play because they love playing their sports, we watch proudly as they compete, we cheer every point they score and we sympathize with every point lost.  We want to be there for them in all situations, win or lose.  We want to share in all their joys and sorrows and support them in any way that we can.

This is just like our relationship with God.  Sometimes we feel ashamed when we do something that we perceive as letting God down.  Maybe we put our faith on the line and it doesn’t turn out the way we imagined, so we perceive it as a failure and try to push God away.  Through all of this, God looks at us and says, “I want to be with you through all situations.  Let me get close to you, I am proud of you for who you are!!”  We have to accept him and let him cheer us on.

This song touches on this subject.  Pay close attention to the lyrics and may it help you let God come closer to you (or get closer to God).

Children: The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

Oh the things that you can learn from children.  What they say, how they act, some of it is just so precious.  My parents are preschool teachers and some of the stories that they tell are so intriguing.  There was this one child that was being tested by an observer to see if he needed to be put into the school districts ESL program.  My parents described the incident saying that the observer was asking questions that were required to be asked to determine if the child needed to be put into ESL.  Meanwhile, the child is talking about all the things that he is interested in and all the amazing things that he can do.  After a while he (the child) noticed that the observer wasn’t as interested in the topics that he was so passionately describing so he stopped talking and said, “You aren’t listening to me!!”  Imagine the feeling of being scolded by a child like that… “You aren’t listening to me!!!”

Today I had twenty minutes to teach a group of grade 5-6 students how to execute a netshot in badminton.  I had the lesson plan all made out and it looked great, but when the students came into the gym, it turned out that it was the same group that my colleagues taught on Tuesday, so they had already learned everything that we were going to teach them today.  My group was a rowdy, restless group of boys.  Wow were they full of energy!! The whole time I was trying to teach them through the proper progressions, but they just wanted to play a game of badminton.  It’s not like they were proficient at the skills that I was teaching them, but they knew how to do the skills, and which ones they were good or bad at.  They weren’t scared to tell me when they were bored or when they weren’t good at a certain skill.

This honesty, boldness and innocence.  No wonder Jesus told his disciples that the greatest in the kingdom of heaven would be children.  They know exactly what they want and want to do and they are honest and bold enough to tell us so.  On top of that, they have this obedience that we sometimes lack.  The group that I was teaching today, sure they were rowdy, and yes they didn’t do what I told them to do the whole time, but when I asked them to stop and listen, they would.  Children have this faith in grown ups where whatever grown ups say and do must be right (even though many times we are not right).  That’s why they will stop and listen to you, but whatever impression you put into them is the way that they may grow up to be (so we need to be cautious in how we teach them).  Therefore we need to have the faith that they have (in us) and try to be the best that we can be and strive for what we want and need in life.

Sometimes we should learn from the children that we come across in our lives.  When was the last time you knew exactly what you wanted to do and had the boldness to ask to do that, yet have the obedience to abide when people tell you “no”?  Take my parents’ student’s advice and listen to children when they have something to say.  Maybe you can learn something about yourself and what are important virtues in the kingdom of heaven.

I pray that I can find childlike faith.  I pray that I can listen when someone tells me that I am not listening.  I pray that I can trust myself the way a child would trust me and do what is right and required of me.

I hope that this song will encourage you to listen carefully to things around you.

Hello, first blog

So here I am. I didn’t think that blogging was my sort of thing to do, but a few different people have suggested that I try it out.  I guess first off, my name is Edward.  I want to use this blog for things that come to mind that may stem from what I learned at school, what I observe around me in life, or different lectures/sermons that I attend.  I don’t want to sound all “holier than thou art”, but I will use Christian references and view points.  To understand why I chose the title for my Blog “Rooted in Christ”  read this blog posted on my behalf in August http://www.bbc-youth.com/2013/rooted-at-serve-keats-edward/

For this first blog, I want to talk about something that happened during the service at my church yesterday.  The children were dismissed for Sunday School and one father took his son’s hand and led him out of the room to go to his class.  The little boy looked up at his father and asked innocently asked, “Where are we going?”  This is like a metaphor for what my current relationship with God is.  I am totally oblivious to where I should be sometimes and even though it has been clearly stated, I still don’t clue in.  Then (my Father) God will take my hand and take me to where I should be going.  I will look up to him and ask, “Where are we going? I want to stay.”  He may respond, “You are not ready to stay, I’m taking you where you need to be.  I’m taking you to an environment where you will learn and actually understand.”  Abba (“Daddy”) knows what’s best for me and I need to follow willingly (which is exactly what this little boy did).

I pray that I can take this to heart and always remember this image.  I pray that I will follow willingly when Abba takes my hand and leads me to where I need to be to grow in strength and understanding.