Meeting Recap (11/17/14)

Tonight was a combined meeting with the Pioneer Girls who also meet at NVEFC.  It was “Movie Night!” and we all watched the “Story Keepers” Christmas special.  Plenty of popcorn, cheezy-doodles and lemonade!

Following the movie, Ranger Stephen led a brief devotional discussion on the account of Nehemiah.

From Wikipedia:

In the 20th year of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, (445/444 BC), Nehemiah was cup-bearer to the king. Learning that the remnant in Judah were in distress and that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, he asked the king for permission to return and rebuild the city. Artaxerxes sent him to Judah as governor of the province with a mission to rebuild, letters explaining his support for the venture, and provision for timber from the king’s forest. Once there, Nehemiah defied the opposition of Judah’s enemies on all sides—Samaritans, Ammonites, Arabs and Philistines—and rebuilt the walls within 52 days…

Nehemiah recognized a need and an opportunity to do something very valuable and helpful.  First, he prayed very reverently to God.  Next, when the king asked Nehemiah what was troubling him and what could be done, he prayed and asked God for direction.

Ultimately, God and the king who was ruling the people, gave Nehemiah the task of rebuilding the walls which protect Jerusalem.

Nehemiah took this job very seriously and by planning and leading thoughtfully, managed to complete the task against steep odds (many of the neighboring nations didn’t want the walls rebuilt so Nehemiah had to guard against attacks while rebuilding the walls).

Questions for the boys and girls, have you, or friends/family ever had to cope with a big project?  Did you pray and ask God for His help and direction?  How did the project turn out?  Do you feel that Nehemiah would have been successful if he hadn’t been reverent and trusted God fully?

The discussion helped to illustrate that we can make plans and do all sorts of things, but ultimately our efforts will be fruitless unless we start with God in a reverent fashion. Some verses that reinforce this notion include:

  • Proverbs 19:21 – Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand
  • Proverbs 16:9 – The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
  • Jeremiah 17:5-8 – Thus says the Lord“Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord. “For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant. [HOWEVER]  “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.
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Devotional – Communicating with God

communicationHow do we communicate with each other on a daily basis?  There are a lot of ways — we can use the internet, we could write a letter or a poem if our message is very personal, or we could simply call or text each other.

If I wanted to talk to you (or you, or you, etc.) can I just dial any random number and expect to be connected with you?  Nope!  I’ve got to remember and dial your particular number to reach you.

How do we communicate with God?  We can read the Bible and we can pray.

Just like calling someone with our phone and needing to know their number, can we pray to anyone or anything and expect God to answer that call?  Nope.  We need to dial God’s number — what do you think that might be?

Let’s look at Romans 10:12-13 (NLT): “Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  So what’s the name of the Lord?  JESUS.  If we call on Jesus, we’ll get connected to God.  How do we know this?  Consider John 14:6 (NLT) “Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

We learned through our activities tonight that messages can get distorted or confused. What keeps us from communicating clearly and effectively with God?

Look at Romans 10:9-10 (NLT) “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.”  We can talk to God with our mouth and our mind and say all sorts of nice things, but what part of us makes all the difference in communicating clearly so that it makes a difference in our lives?  OUR HEART.  We need to believe in our hearts that we are made right with God.  

IMGP7151Further, we can look at Romans 10:14-15 (NLT) to learn more about calling on God:

But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

These verses remind us that we really communicate effectively when we believe on God with our hearts — not just our minds or by what we say.  Our hearts are what we use to make choices and decisions — to obey God or to do what we want to do which, sometimes, can be opposite of what God wants.  Additionally, the verses conclude that we should tell other people how they can reach God, too.  If they don’t know “His number” (JESUS) then they probably can’t reach Him when they need Him the most.

Jeremiah 29:12-13 reminds us again;

Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” 

Remember that we have the ability to talk with God through prayer.  When we seek to talk with Him we need to believe with all our heart that He’s there, He’s listening, and He cares about what we have to say as long as it is honest and from our hearts — what we really believe.  It’s also important to share “His number” (JESUS) with those who are trying to get in touch with Him — if they believe in their hearts then they can reach Him, too.

bridgebuilder

Meeting Recap (11/10/2014)

dipping applesFollowing the opening ceremony, the boys were able to visit the church kitchen where Ranger Rob discussed and demonstrated how to make caramel apples from scratch. While it’s not a particularly difficult process, it is a stove top safety hazard so we talked about both the ingredients and how to handle with appropriate supervision.

The boys took turns dipping their apples with Ranger Rob’s assistance, and all were set aside to cool while we returned to our normal meeting room for activities.

Tonight’s activities focused on ways people communicate with each other and how those communications can become distorted.  We broke into teams of four and set up tables with chairs for each team.  We also assigned a Junior Ranger to each team to help facilitate the activities.

Here is the worksheet that we shared with each Junior Ranger:

communicationCommunication Skills

Game one:  How do we communicate?

  1. Divide into teams and sit at tables.
  2. Everyone gets a piece of paper and a pencil/pen/marker
  3. Silently write down as many ways people communicate with each other as you can
  4. When the leader at your table says so, discuss your responses with each other at the table and count the number of unique ways we communicate
  5. Team with most responses gets 10 points, second best gets 5 points, every other team gets 3 points

Game two: Communicating badly

  1. Look at your table’s list from game #1.
  2. Silently write down when that type of communication would be a poor choice (example = texting while driving a car)
  3. When the leader at your table says so, discuss your responses with each other at the table and count the number of unique ways we communicate
  4. Team with most responses gets 10 points, second best gets 5 points, every other team gets 3 points

Game three: Whisper down the lane

  1. phonegameTake your team and make a line – spread each team member out a bit.
  2. Leader will provide a written message to the first person at the end of the line. He will read it and give the paper back to the leader.
  3. The first person will whisper the message to the second person so that no one else can hear it.
  4. The second person will whisper the message to the third person so that no one else can hear it.
  5. And so on until the last person hears the message and tells it to the leader or writes it down.
  6. Compare the initial message to the final message – did it change? Did it stay the same?  If it changed, why do you think it changed?  If it stayed the same, what helped to keep it clear?
  7. Each team to get this done quietly and calmly gets 10 Points, those who run around or mis-behave get fewer points as determined by their leader.

Game Four: Broken Picture Phone

  1. Teams sit at tables. Every other person gets paper and markers/pencils, etc.
  2. Leader reads a message to the person #1 who then draws a picture to communicate the idea of the message.
  3. Person #2 looks at the drawing and guesses at the meaning
  4. Person #2 writes down their guess of the meaning.
  5. Person #3 looks at Person #2’s drawing and guesses at the meaning, then writes down their guess to share with Person #4 (and so on until it’s back to the leader)
  6. As a group, the leader now reads the first message out loud. Person #1 explains what they drew (and shows the group), then Person #2 explains how they interpreted the picture, etc.
  7. Should be laughter – but not poking fun at any one person.
  8. 10 Points if everyone participates and has fun.

Game Five:  44 ways to use paperclips (100 point bonus to any team that gets 44 or more ways)

Game Six:  Introductions. Each member of group takes a turn to introduce themselves to the rest of the group (name, age, favorite class topic at school, career goal, what I like about CSB group) – 5 Points for each introduction

Junior Rangers helped boys who were struggling with drawings or had a tough time making additional or fresh connections; however, most everyone eagerly participated and did a great job within their teams.

Devotional:

Ranger Ken led the devotional which also tied into the theme of communication.  His devotional is summed up in a related article.

After closing circle, we had the boys retrieve their fresh caramel apples and sent them home.  Another great club night at NVEFC.

dipped apples

Meeting Recap (11/3/2014)

Not just another great meeting, tonight, but a milestone in the annual calendar — FISH FRY NIGHT! Two of our avid fishermen rangers brought an ample supply of fish they’ve caught, cleaned and prepared for frying.

Following our opening ceremony, the junior rangers led the boys in several games – fishnet, steal the bacon and musical chairs.  While the games were happening, the rangers were steadily cooking and prepping a bountiful feast for everyone.

Our activity time was focused on sampling a wonderful assortment of fish and side dishes like homemade sweet pickles.

Our devotional time included a discussion of Romans 13:1-7 and 1 Thess 5:12…what is authority, who is in authority over us and why should we submit to their authority?  Also, we talked about showing respect and working peaceably with other people.