Battalion Tonight (Friday)

Session three of Battalion will be held tonight at NVEFC.

Pre-session from 7 to 7:30 is for rangers and junior rangers to prepare for Monday night meetings.

At 7:30 we start the DVD and go into a group discussion – wrapping up by 9 PM.

  • The first session covered “courage” (a video link included, below to provide a sampling of what we’re discussing)
  • The second session covered “boyhood and adolescence
  • Tomorrow night we continue by examining the stages of manhood when we take on adult responsibilities, start families and finish as family patriarchs.

Dads, men of the church and boys in grades 7-12 (or college) are welcome to come.

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No Battalion Meeting Tonight (See schedule, below)

Tripod TowerThe schedule for Friday Night meetings is:
  • October 7 (Completed!)
  • October 21 (C0mpleted!)
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2

We’ve had two great sessions – one that examined the definition of courage and how it applies to manhood, and one that examines the first two stages of manhood – boyhood and adolescence.

Our next meeting will be on November 4th in the Lower Auditorium.  7 PM for stockade planning meeting, 7:30 PM for the launch of the next video segment in our study.

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Sacrificial Love – Is there another kind?

Recently a colleague shared an article on parenting and perceived changes in society among younger generations.  I suppose “older” generations have always been harsh critics of “younger” generations, but there were several interesting points made in the article.

The article appears at “Stream.org” and is titled “Baby, you stole the life I wanted” (LINK)

The gist of the article (and I encourage you to read it for yourself) is summed up in this quote from the article;

…there’s a growing and largely ignored group of mothers all over the world who are confessing their regret over having children. Day after day, as they change diapers, drive to soccer practice, and help with college applications, they fantasize about a life unburdened by dependents and free from the needs of others. A do-over.

I can certainly identify with (and remember) the stressful times of dealing with our (anyone’s) first child — it’s all “new” and “unsure” and “no sleep” and “anxiety”.  Dads IMGP6811get to run to work in the morning, engage in adult conversation and then drag themselves home at night often to a mom who looks like she’s been mauled by lions.  Some dads muster the courage to grab the child/children and hustle them to the park for playtime and give mom a break, but some may grab a drink and head for the TV (leaving “mom” to finish making dinner without suffering an emotional breakdown).  Adding a second or third child adds to the stress of juggling schedules, school, extracurricular activities, etc.  Oh, and add “homeschooling” to the list.

Still, I think this article is driving at a different point.  Not only are some moms frustrated by the change in lifestyle, but some dwell on what might have been instead of having a family.  Here’s another quote to illustrate;

“I wonder if my accomplishments would be more spectacular,” says Ananya, a 38-year-old freelance writer and editor who divides her time between the United States and Singapore. “Would I have written my second or third book? Would I be able to travel to chase that elusive story? I feel motherhood has slowed me down so much. She envies friends not for their spontaneous vacations and naps, but for the time and space they have to think.

norman-rockwellreading to childrenI would imagine there are Dad’s who fall into this same analysis and it’s not fair to single out moms as the sole bad actors in the analysis.  Dads do get to pursue their career, but they could easily build up a silent resentment for not being able to take a job in China opening up a new sales division or having other younger, single men take key promotions especially if they’re perceived to be less experienced or qualified.

Perhaps it’s important to remember why, as individuals and now as a couple, the choices were made to commit to building a family.  There are joys to counter the frustrations, promises from God to offset the discomfort. Still, I like how the author states;

Love is a cross. It always has been, and always will be. The mystery of love is that it demands death — the death of self. Myself. Yourself. Love is only about the other. And when we love, we are released from the prison of resentment and the tyranny of insatiable wants. Love is the only freedom.

A society built around the individual, rather than the family, will petrify into unspeakable emptiness.

  • Psalm 127:3 NASB – Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.
  • Psalm 112:1-2 NASB – Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, Who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.
  • IMGP7151Psalm 127:3-6 NASB – Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
  • John 16:21 ESV – When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.
  • Proverbs 17:6 ESV – Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.
  • Psalm 139:13-16 ESV – For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

Children are a blessing from God.  We choose to invest ourselves in them so that they can fulfill God’s purposes and plans.  A man (or woman) may have many plans in their heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that will be carried out (Proverbs 19:21) – we’d be wise to recognize this as inescapable for He created us to carry out His vision and plan for our lives — attempts to go our own way will inevitably be futile and less rewarding (eternally) than being submissive to His leadership.

  • IMGP6935Psalm 37:4 ESV – Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
  • Psalm 37:5 ESV – Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.
  • Proverbs 16:1-3 ESV – The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.
  • Matthew 6:21 ESV – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
  • Proverbs 16:9 ESV – The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
  • Matthew 6:33 ESV – But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Commit your sacrificial love to God, your spouse, and your children.  Investing time to walk closer to God and really understand His plan for your life can only help bring context and relief.    If you are struggling, talk to your Pastor, Priest or Spiritual Advisor.  Seek out like-minded friends and certainly pray about your feelings and struggles.

Christian Service Brigade offers a magazine for parents called “Valor” – http://valormagazine.csbministries.org/  – its free, and you can view it online or subscribe to have it delivered by email.  You may find one or more articles that speak to current concerns in raising your son(s), and you can certainly reach out to the editor with suggestions for future articles of interest.

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Battalion Meetings (grades 7-12)

ALTERNATING FRIDAY NIGHT PROGRAM LAUNCHES OCTOBER 7th:
This year, we are trying an experiment by relaunching a modified Battalion program for boys in grades 7-12.  This program will meet on alternating Friday nights from 7 to 9 PM in the lower auditorium: 
  • First 30 minutes reserved for planning for Monday night meetings (arrive by 7), and
  • the second block of time (arrive by 7:30), is for a video, workbook and discussion based bible study called “Stepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood” (Preview videos:
The bible study is suitable for teens thru all adult ages, and I’d encourage Battalion cadets / Junior Rangers to invite their dad to attend if possible (not a requirement, but they may find it highly engaging to walk through the program side-by-side with their sons) Our church will require each adult to fill out a youth volunteer application and submit to a background check (but it’s pretty painless!)
The schedule for Friday Night meetings is:
  • October 7
  • October 21
  • November 4
  • November 18
  • December 2

The Stepping Up series is 10 segments long, this group of five meeting nights carries us halfway through the program, allowing us to finish it in the Spring.

There is a cost for the workbook – I’m shopping around the internet to find the lowest possible price now, and will send an update (It’s likely to be about $6-$7).  I’m not planning refreshments on Fridays at this time, but would be open to bringing coffee/juice/tea with an offering basket to offset costs, etc.  If we want to do something more, we’ll discuss at the first meeting and perhaps someone can take charge of that part of the meeting planning, etc.

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9/26/16 Meeting Recap

What a great opening night!  We had ten boys, four junior rangers, and three adult rangers participate.

Our focus for the fall is “Cars and Trucks” as we head into “Pinewood Derby” (or as CSB prefers to call it “Shape’N Race”) season following Christmas time.

Boys arrived from 6:45 until 7 PM and we played dodgeball with safety rules in place (no head shots and keep it fun for all).  We have Gatorskin, Soft-Balls to help keep the game fun, too – the balls are squishy, easy to grab and throw, but are softer than “Nerf-style” balls of similar size.

fig_049At 7 PM we called the meeting to order by forming the stockade — this is where the boys line up as though they’re the walls of a frontier fortress called a stockade.

Next, we selected two volunteers to hold our American Flag and CSB Stockade Flag while we recited the pledge of allegiance, the CSB motto (“Bright and Keen for Christ!“) and checked on our positive mental attitude (response from boys is to shout loudly “Boy, Am I Enthusiastic!“)  We covered announcements, and went over the schedule for the night’s events.  We went around the group and had everyone introduce themselves so that we’d begin to learn everyone’s names.

We dismissed the stockade and returned the flags to their closet.  The Junior Rangers are responsible to organize games for the first half hour of the program, and tonight we fhwa-classificationscontinued with variations on dodgeball as everyone was enjoying that game.  Sometimes we do team building events, and sometimes we organize board game nights, etc.

At 7:35 we took a break for icewater, and then got organized for the evening activity – a discussion of cars, trucks and buses — how many different designs there are and how to classify them and name them all. The boys were then given markers to color any of their favorite cars or trucks and this exercise was to help them work on fine motor control, art, and to learn what types of cars or trucks the boys would want to build for the upcoming derby program.

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At 7:55, we gathered the markers and started our devotional.  We noted that man has made many types of cars and trucks – each with a purpose or function in mind.  Some are suited 2012-6x6-truckfor hauling rock and gravel, while others are designed to race on special roads.  Some are designed to help fight fires, or transport special cargo and others move our families to the shopping center and back home again.

While we may have a preference for sports cars, we can recognize that they all have important roles to play and that without trucks, we’d be in the dark (utility trucks to fix the electric wires) and without much to do (trucks deliver all our furniture and food to stores from factories and farms).

jeep-under-construction-1Just like each type of car and truck has a purpose in the way it is designed, God had purposes and plans in mind when He created each of us.  Even if some of us function differently than others, each role is important and we’d all suffer without the diversity and range of purposes and activities in our lives.

  • We are created to glorify God.  Our very existence is also a purpose or role that we occupy.  We are, as created beings, a testimony to God’s greatness….Isaiah 43:7 – “Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory….”
  • We were created with specific plans in mind when God created us – good plans for our welfare….Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a hope and a future….”
  • We have had duties (revere God and obey his commands) communicated to us — things that we can do out of gratitude to God for His love and care for us….Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man….”
  • We have specific jobs to do, good works to perform on a daily basis….”Ephesians 2:10 – “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them….”

Following the devotional time, we cleaned the room and gathered in a circle to solicit prayer requests from the boys – we learned of an upcoming quiz at school and the celebration of a birthday.  We prayed and thanked God for a great night of fun, that students would be calm and ready for their quizzes or tests and that birthday celebrations would be well remembered.

We conclude our meetings with a benediction;

Lord, our Savior, Guide and Captain,

Be a stalwart wall around us;

Make of us Stockaders valiant;

Keep us in the name of Jesus, Amen!

It was great to meet many moms after the meeting, and we appreciate your prayer support for the program – that God will keep us safe, help us to have fun, and reach the boys with strong lessons from His Word to help them grow into strong, faith-filled men.

Upcoming Meeting Schedule:

Oct.  3 – Club Meeting

Oct.  10 – Holiday: Columbus Day (NO club meeting)

Oct. 17 – Club Meeting

Oct. 24 – Club Meeting

Oct. 31 – (NO club meeting)

Nov.  7 – Club Meeting (Need extra CSB Adults – Ranger Leslie Lin will be available)

Nov. 14  –  Club Meeting (need extra CSB Adults)

Nov. 21 – No Club Meeting – Week of Thanksgiving

Nov. 28 – Club Meeting

Dec. 5 – Club Meeting (CSB in White House/Sunday School Annex — across the parking lot that night so Pioneer Girls can have their Tea in the main building.)

Dec.  12 – NO Club meeting, off until January restart (to be announced)

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Brigade Experience 2016

Today, we had the opportunity to receive regional training and a National update on what’s happening with the ministry.

Offering a total of ten different workshops over the course of three time periods, we found that there was “something for everyone” — whether very experienced or brand new to the program.

Peter Westerman offered a three part series to enable adult leaders to become “certified” with basic training on: “Brigade Principles”; “Brigade Ministries Overview”; and “Leadership Skills”.

Joel Fiscus, from our National support team, offered a pair of workshops:  “Fatherless No More” (delving into ways leaders can better support boys from single parent homes) and “leaving a legacy” (looking at ways to build up bench strength in adult leaders so that the program will continue at your church).

Ron Rynd offered two sessions: “Why Achievement?” (promoting the value of the achievement program for boys to feel a sense of accomplishment and goal setting); “Brigade Chairman” (covering the distinct mission of the Brigade Chairman position and how it is different from the role of Chief Ranger)

Duanne Moeller from Rutherford Bible Chapel offered a workshop designed to help familiarize leaders on the various stockade booklets, leaders guides and other deliverables.

Andy Puttbach had a seminar on getting your unit ready for a Shape N Race event (pinewood derby).

Paul Farrell covered how to leverage social media to better connect with parents, church supporters and the local community.

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Planning Resources for Day Outings

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Bish Bash Falls

Magazine article – http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/new-jersey/nj-10-best-hikes/ – offering places for day hikes for folks with varied ability (some strenuous, some flat – – all picturesque)

Not from NJ?  That’s OK – check out this link for info on activities closer to where ever you live – http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/

1. High Point Monument – High Point State Park has a variety of trails, ranging from .5 – 4.3 miles (near the Northern Tip of NJ – the tri-state area of NY, PA, NJ) – also the highest point (elevation-wise) in the State of NJ.  Has camping available.

2. Buttermilk Falls – “While you don’t need to hike to see the falls (there’s a parking lot and viewing area), it’s a great starting point for several other trips.” Located in NW New Jersey along the Delaware Water Gap. (http://www.njhiking.com/best-hikes-in-nj-buttermilk-falls/)

3. Manasquan Reservoir – “You’ll find four designated trails at this reservoir, ranging from just .2 miles to a more challenging 5.1 miles.”

4. imgp7163Pochuck Boardwalk – A section of the Appalachian Trail in Norther NJ that features an extensive boardwalk system (1.5 miles end to end) over a protected marsh area with stunning wild flowers in summer, and a nifty suspension bridge.

5. Pyramid Mountain – located in Morris County, the park offers a range of trails with interesting views and scenery.

6. South Mountain Fairy Trail – “This whimsical, family-friendly hike can be found along the Rahway Trail (white blazes) of the South Mountain Reservation. It is dotted with charming fairy abodes, made of all natural materials.”

7. Island Beach State Park – Offers eight trails, beach hiking and wildlife observation.

8. Batsto Lake Trail – Based in the Wharton State Forest, this trail is an easy 4.2-mile loop around the lake. May want to schedule time to visit the historic Batso villiage, too.

9. Belleplain State Forest – part of the Pinelands region of the State, this trail system is in the southern reaches of the State featuring bogs, lakes, wetlands and forests.

10. Delaware & Raritan Canal Towpath – “Offering 70 miles of flat, level terrain, this scenic towpath is ideal for hiking and biking. It is wheelchair and stroller accessible in most areas and takes you through towns from Trenton to Lambertville. Be sure to stop at Washington Crossing State Park.”

These are the hikes recommended by the magazine, but represent only the tip of the iceberg — there are so many great places for day hikes in NJ and the surrounding area.  A careful study of the NJ State Parks web site as well as the NY/NJ Trail Conference (http://www.nynjtc.org/) web portal will help you identify great hikes and camping locations.

Also, don’t forget about History Hikes (history scavenger hunts combined with day hikes) — https://traillife113.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/activity-profile-history-hikes/

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The “Lemon Squeezer”