Meeting Recap (10/24/16)

20161024_193849Another great night for our Stockaders!

We focused on an introduction to basic first aid techniques for cuts, sprains, and carries (we only carry an injured person if they’re in danger of becoming hurt worse if we don’t move them).

We also read the account of the Good Samaritan — one of the accounts in the Bible where first aid is used to help save someone’s life.  More importantly, we discussed how the story explains basic truths about our commitment to care for people – even those who we don’t know.

Luke 10:25-37 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And He said to him, What is written in the Law? How does it read to you? And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself. And He said to him, You have answered correctly; do this and you will live. But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?

The Good Samaritan

Jesus replied and said, A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And 10-27-2016-9-25-32-amby chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands? And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, Go and do the same.




Meeting Recap (10/17/2016)

Sorry for the delay in posting a meeting recap, but was away on business travel this past week!

20161017_190950We had 11 boys, 4 junior rangers and three adult rangers present for our Stockade meeting on Monday night.

20161017_194403With really nice weather, we took the opportunity to work outside on campfire basics and cooking “banana boat” desserts.

Banana boats are easy to construct — just cut the skin away from the inner curve of the banana, cut a “V” slot into the banana flesh and then stuff it with caramels, mini-chocolate chips, and mini-marshmallows.

Next, replace the skin flap and wrap tightly in aluminum foil – bake in hot coals of campfire for 10-12 minutes and eat with a spoon!

Many of the boys took their treat home to share with parents.

Fire Safety Rules
A campfire can keep us warm on a cold night. Campfires can be used to cook our food, too. However, if we’re not careful, fire can become a danger. Here are some tips to be safer when using campfires:

  • Select a safe place to build the campfire. Keep it away from trees, shrubs, overhanging branches or tents/buildings. A safe distance is about 12-15 feet.
  • Always try to use an existing fire pit or fire place – fires built on the ground will prevent plants from growing there for many years (the soil becomes unable to feed plants).
  • Keep the fire contained with a ring of rocks or within a special “fire pit” such as a metal tray or bin.
  • Keep a bucket of water, fire hose, or bucket of sand nearby to put out the fire when you are done. A shovel is also helpful to help break up coals and be sure that the fire is fully put out.

Gathering the Right Materials

Gather three types of wood (from the ground – never cut living trees unless it’s life-or-death emergency)

  • Tinder (dryer lint, newspaper, small twigs, dry leaves or grass, dry needles)
  • Kindling (sticks smaller than 1″ around)
  • Fuel (larger pieces of wood)

Building the fire in one of these methods:

  • Tepee (Good for cooking) — Lay the kindling over the tinder like you’re building a tent.
  • Cross (Perfect for a long-lasting campfire) — Crisscross the kindling over the tinder.
  • Lean-to (Good for cooking) — Drive a long piece of kindling into the ground at an angle over the tinder. Lean smaller pieces of kindling against the longer piece.
  • logcabinLog Cabin (Longest lasting campfire) — Surround your pile of tinder with kindling, stacking pieces at right angles. Top the “cabin” with the smallest kindling.

Do’s and Don’ts for Fires

  • Do enjoy the warmth and glow.
  • Do feel free to cook over your fire.
  • Do make a plan for when you are done so that you have time to properly put out the fire safely
  • Don’t burn trash or food (the smell attracts animals)
  • Don’t put cans or bottles in the fire – they won’t burn and could hurt people later (glass shatters and cans have sharp edges)

Putting out the fire

  • Start early – it takes a while to fully put out a fire: give yourself at least twenty minutes where you stop adding any additional fuel.
  • Let wood burn down to ash if possible, if not, sprinkle water over the coals and ash until the hissing and steam stop.
  • Stir the remaining coals and ash – sometimes hot spots occur under the logs.
  • Don’t touch coals/sticks to see if they’re cool, but you can place the back of your hand near them to detect heat. If they’re still warm, repeat sprinkling with water and stirring with the shovel.

Clean Up Before You Leave!

  • Campers should clean up their site of any trash (whether someone else left it or you did. Leave sites cleaner than how you found them.
  • If you have leftover wood, leave it neatly piled for the next camper.

Thoughts from the Bible

Sparks flyThere is power in fire – we can heat our homes, warm up on cold nights when camping, or even cook meals over a campfire. Sadly, fire can cause destruction, too – wildfires burn down forests and other fires can destroy people’s houses or cars.
There is power in the words we speak – we can encourage other people, make them laugh or comfort them when they’re sad. In the same way that fire can be used for good or can cause destruction, our words can also hurt people’s feelings or damage friendships, too.

Transfer from cell phone June 2011 050In the Bible, there is a section in the Book of James that says “See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire…” If we’re not careful with fire, we can burn down a forest AND if we’re not careful with our words (how we use our mouth and tongue to speak) we could cause just as much damage among the people we care about.

In the Bible, James continues to say “With it (our tongue/our words) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things should not be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.” We shouldn’t use our words to help AND to hurt – we ought to teach ourselves to always use our words to help other people, but it’s not easy. When we get angry or tired or frustrated we forget and say things that we shouldn’t say.

Ephesians 4:29 New Living Translation (NLT) says “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”

We must learn to control our tongues and our speech in order to be consistent (helping instead of hurting). How can we do that?

Group Effort for Fire


Meeting tonight (10/17) to include campfire basics

logcabinDue to the nice weather, we’ll be adjusting our schedule a bit tonight for a fall campfire program in the parking lot.

We’ll be making Banana Boats and learning how to use a flint and steel striker to light a fire without matches.

Come prepared for fun, snacks and some game time, too.

Allamuchy winter 2011 017


Reminder: No Meeting Tonight!

Reminder to club parents and youth – No club meeting (brigade for boys, pioneer club for girls) tonight due to Columbus Day holiday.

Will resume meeting next week.

Backup files 142

Meeting Recap (10/3/16)

jeep-under-construction-1We had a couple new faces in the crowd this week, and continued out theme of “cars and trucks” through our activities and devotional.

Following our opening ceremony, the Junior Rangers organized teams for games and led the fun while monitoring for good sportsmanship.

Our activities included several word searches and crossword puzzles on the cars and trucks theme.  Boys were encouraged to work as teams, taking turns finding key words or solving riddles for crossword clues.  Junior Rangers stood close by to offer assistance and individualized encouragement so that no one became frustrated or felt isolated during the exercise.

Ranger Stephen offered the devotional discussion on “ENGINES”:  he took time to present open ended questions to the group, and draw from them their creative and fun answers.  While they typically presented the most obvious response, he was able to encourage them to think about a broader context and discover new connections.  As part of his program, he handed out select bible verses and asked volunteers to read a short set aloud.  Following each reading, he would ask the group how that set of verses helps to clarify our thinking and understanding of our own roles as specially created individuals.

Ranger Stephen provided a concise recap of that discussion, below:

Tripod TrebuchetWe’ve been talking about cars and trucks as of late, and they are driven by engines, however, in the world we also have search engines like google, siege engines like catapults, and locomotives like steam engines besides.

So what is an engine? An engine is something built to accomplish a particular task, something made with a purpose in mind.

Thinking about that, we can say that God made the world with a purpose in mind, so that can be seen as a form of engine. It is worth noting that it is an engine we are responsible for, as pointed out in Psalms 8, God has made mankind rulers over the works of his hands, this is also seen in Genesis 1:26-28. Beyond even that, the task of general stewardship of the world given, God has special purposes in mind for each one of us, making us all engines of a sort!

Now, there is something else that needs to be said about engines, engines require certain things (i.e. fuel, input of data, etc.) to run correctly:

  • a diesel engine needs diesel fuel, and
  • a basic calculator works with numbers,

However, if you were to substitute sugar-water for diesel fuel, the engine not only might not run, it might flat out destroy the diesel engine, and if you tried to use letters instead of numbers, the calculator wouldn’t understand the input and couldn’t provide it’s services to you.

So it is important that we learn to distinguish good fuel from bad, and proper operation from improper operation.

The bible on the whole is great for that, but Proverbs is a very dense collection of suggestions to work with:

  • Proverbs 3:5-8 reminds us first that we will not understand everything that happens in life, but God has his reasons if we will trust him. Further, his rules will, to stretch the analogy, keep the driveshaft aligned, and finally, even in less profound issues, we don’t know everything, but turning away from evil will be refreshment.
  • Proverbs 3:27-31 Suggests that we should not withhold good from others when we can give it, be it encouragement, service, or physical support. Moreover, this passage warns us against seeking conflict where none has been called for and to choose role models with care.
  • Proverbs 10:17 points out that instruction, from trustworthy sources, is meant for your good, and introduces the concept of a “reproof.” When a younger sibling reaches for a hot pot, you would warn them, you would tell them not to touch it, you would be reproving them. It’s not a very scary word or concept, it is simply to warn sternly.
  • Proverbs 12:25 introduces a simple example of both good and bad fuel directly, “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.” We probably won’t always resist anxiety, but it is something to remember.
  • Proverbs 12:26 notes that those who are righteous, those with good fuel, is a trustworthy guide to his neighbor, and then warns that the wicked, those with bad fuel, will lead them astray.
  • Proverbs 13:12 talks about a few issues we can’t always control, “hope deferred,” the forestalling of that desired, can weigh you down, and in some cases weigh heavily, and a longing fulfilled, a true longing, is almost never fulfilled purely on your own sole efforts, expectations can be adjusted slightly, but such adjustments will require a lot of time, and if care is not taken to have the right mind about things before such delays appear, they can be a weighty matter to deal with indeed.

Obviously, there is much more that can be said on the subject, but for now, this is what I have to provide based on what I was able to read in preparation for tonight’s discussion.



Happy 2016, Got Resolutions?

This is the narrator’s script for tonight’s Stockade story circle (devotional). It is a free-lanced program, not taken from the standard ministry curriculum so that we could highlight a specific theme.

Have you heard of people making “New Year’s Resolutions?” What does that mean to you? Resolution is pretty big word that comes from the idea of being firmly resolved or pledged by oath to commit to do something.

Have you heard anyone in your family or among your friends make a resolution at New Years? What sorts of things might a typical New Year’s Resolution include? I’ve heard of people resolving to:

  • Lose weightIMGP6935
  • Exercise more
  • Save money
  • Work harder on personal habits (be nice, argue less, spend less time on face-book, etc.)
  • Pray more, read the bible more, etc.

What typically happens to these resolutions? Do people start the year and do a good job of sticking to their plan? Do they eventually fail to follow through?

Why do you think people fail to follow through on their resolutions? Studies have actually been done on this issue, and from most common to least common the factors include:

  1. Setting Unrealistic or Poorly Defined Goals
  2. Failing to Keep Track of Personal Progress
  3. Simply Forgetting About it (no partner to hold them accountable)

Is setting a goal for the New Year a good idea or a bad idea? Is it just a joke – something to laugh about, or is it something we should consider as a serious commitment for self-improvement?

What does the Bible say about setting resolutions? Quite a lot, actually.

First of all, we don’t need to resolve to save ourselves from sin and damnation. We can’t do it on our own, and God’s already provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him (we sinned – broke His law – but Jesus paid the penalty for us).

I need two volunteer readers:

  • Someone read Ephesians 2:1-10 to the group. Notice how it says in verse five “by grace you have been saved” and in verse eight it says “and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
  • Someone read Titus 3:4-8. Please tell me what you hear in these verses – are there two different messages related to each other? In verses 4 thru 7 we’re told that our salvation is clearly an act of God, but the direction or reminder in verse 8 is to do good works once we have believed and been saved. Why do you think Paul wrote this to Titus in this letter?

So if God has saved us from sin and damnation, what would we have left to do? I’m handing out some verses for volunteers to read. Take a moment and read the verse to yourself. Think about what it is suggesting that you take action to do. What is it that we could resolve ourselves to practice consistently throughout the year and throughout our lives? Now let’s take turns – read your verse and tell the group what you think we are called to do by that verse. (Psalm 119:9-16; Titus 3:1-2; Matthew 5:13-16; Colossians 1:10; Micah 6:8; 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 John 1:9; Philippians 4:8; Joshua 1:8)

There are many more verses we could study, and that’s why Joshua 1:8 is a great example – a call to dig deeper into the Bible – to learn what it has to say, and to apply the principles and practices it suggests or commands us to do on a daily basis.

IMGP6811New Year’s Resolutions can become pretty silly if we let them, and as a tradition it can become something unhealthy if we spend too much time obsessing over the practice. I think it’s a good reminder that we have commitments that we ought to be reading the Bible, helping other people, and such every day of the year – not just around the start of a new year.

Even more importantly, it’s critical to remember we do these things to show our gratitude for what God has already done for us (not as a way to “earn” salvation), and that it’s a healthy response to what God has done (it’s the next step in our growth as Christians).

If you want to incorporate some of these verses into your daily routine, remember you may have more success if you write down your goal, post it someplace you’ll see it each morning, get someone to help you stay on track, and keep a journal to show your progress, and to help you see that you’re doing well (stay encouraged).

If you’d like to learn more about CSB Ministries or Northern Valley Evangelical Free Church, just click on their names (hyperlinks open in new windows).



Meeting Recap (10/20/2014)

Last night’s meeting was action packed.  Our focus for the evening was on teamwork and learning to work together cooperatively.

Following our opening ceremony there was the usual time for games including an indoor version of capture the flag led by the Junior Rangers.

Next, we had the boys settle down for a brief remembrance time where we talked about Chief Ranger Dave’s untimely death in the hospital.  The boys handled the news well, and the boys shared their recollection of Dave’s ministry to them.  We also read a letter of what Dave “might have said” if he had known he had to say farewell one last time.

Our activities for the evening consisted of three special team challenges designed to help the boys recognize the value of communication, enthusiasm, and leadership within small groups.

  • skisSkis built for threeis a physically active challenge where three boys step up on a pair of skis and must walk in unison to get across the room in the shortest possible time.  The challenge is further complicated halfway to their goal by turning one of the boys to face backwards and they have to compensate for calling out cadence based on “left and right” since some of their team are backwards. Other variations call for blindfolds, not allowing the boys to speak, having them walk backwards, etc.
  • “Two Rope Circles” is a challenge for boys to work together with strong communication and planning skills. The rules are simple: the team can only move when they’re inside the boundary of one or the other rope circles and they must work together to figure out the best and fastest way to cross the room as a team. The boys begin standing within the boundaries of a rope circle and holding a second rope in their hands.  They could toss the second rope circle and jump from one to the other, but they need to find a way to bring the first rope along in leap-frog fashion. Other methods are fine, too.  Sometimes the boys realize that they can simply pick up the rope and walk directly across the room as long as they’re still “inside” the circle!
  • “Hazardous Waste Crawl” is a game where a pretend shipment of “hazardous waste” must be moved across the room without dropping it, touching it or getting too close to it.  Equipment may include an inverted frisbee, ball and ropes, but we simply cut down an old cardboard box and used a pee-wee football.  The carry tray has four (or more, or less) strings at each corner that are roughly 24-36 inches long.  The teams must use the strings to lift the load (and keep a “safe” distance from the load at all times).  Working together, they must carefully move their cargo across the room without dropping it.  This takes precision, communication and teamwork.  It can be easy to drop the load so coaches help the team stay positive to avoid frustration overload.

Following the actives, we formed a story circle and discussed teamwork as a concept found in the Bible — see associated devotional link for that teamwork discussion (Click HERE).


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