Friday, October 25, 2013

What are you doing?

We get this question from time to time...glad you asked!
Here's what's going on in the youth group and young adult ministries at Quisqueya Chapel this week. For those of who pray for us or give to us or both - thanks! We are glad to be here and do this sort of thing. Serving in Haiti is a blessing.
There are several links in this blog post if you are interested in these resources.

Rejoicing in God's Good Design

For the youth group Sunday school class we are learning about God's design, purpose and roles for men and women in the church and in the home. It's been a very good study and has inspired some very interesting conversation. In today's culture, in Haiti, Canada and the Untied States (we have kids from all three places in the class), Biblical roles for men and women have been challenged and significantly perverted and blurred. I would highly recommend this study for any high-school Sunday school class.





To Be Like Jesus

Andrea and Dieula, a past youth group member, are team-teaching the 3rd and 4th grade Sunday school class. Andrea started teaching the class with Dieula last year and plans to hand the class over to Dieula very soon.
To teach Children Desiring God curriculum is to be discipled by it. We've grown because of it and we pray that she will grow as she teaches it as well. Seeing kids, when they start to "get it", is very rewarding. Pray for Dieula if think about her. Teaching is rewarding and challenging. We hope that this will grow into something very good for her and the kids she ministers to in Haiti. God is faithful. If your church is looking for Sunday school, midweek or VBS curriculum I want to steer you to this place.

Disciplines of a Godly Man

Is there a place in the world that doesn't need disciplined, godly men? The lack of godly men is seen everywhere in Haiti (as in many other places). We are about three weeks away from finishing this book study. It's been challenging to each of our lives and my hope is that the men who have been coming to this will lead more disciplined lives for the glory of God. We've had about 15-25 men coming every Monday night to this study. "To open this book and find someone taking seriously the biblical call of agonizing to enter the kingdom and...boxing and sweating like a champion to get victory over sin is the most refreshing thing I could have set my eyes on." - John Piper


Because He Loves Me

Andrea is leading a Monday night women's study. They recently finished working through the book of Ephesians and are now using the book Because He Loves Me by Elise Fitzpatrick. There is a very good group of young and older women coming to the study. In January, Andrea and Makayla started meeting together in hopes that others would join them. They met together for about a month with no one else joining. On the fifth week of meeting, just the two of them, Andrea decided they could just meet at home rather than walking to the church every Monday. On their way out of the gate to head home one of the youth group members came in just as they were going out. So, they came back and did the study that night. Since then there has been a consistent and growing group of women meeting every Monday night!


What did you Expect?

On Wednesday nights we've been getting together with about 20-30 youth and young adults to watch video sermons. We've been gathering for several weeks, watching various pastors on video. Next up we are going to watch a series by Paul Tripp titled What Did You Expect? It is a study on marriage.



Discipleship

Discipleship has been front and center since we've moved back to Haiti. The first time we visited here we felt that Haiti was evangelized but not discipled. The longer we've been here we realize how true that is. We, with Quisqueya Chapel, are putting a special emphasis on creating a culture of discipleship. Part of what we are doing involves using the book Multiply by Francis Chan. Andrea and I are almost finished going through this book with four youth. We have plans for two or three more discipleship groups to start in the next few weeks. Another recommendation: if your church is looking for a manual on discipleship I would check this one out. Learn more about it here.



The Best Christmas Pageant Ever


When I was young my mom read to us a book called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Years later I took Andrea and the kids to a play on the same book. If you've ever read it you know what a good story it is. This year we are going to attempt to do it as a play for the church for Christmas. We need 25 youth to participate as actors and many more to help pull off the production. We look forward to spending many hours with the youth practicing and working toward doing this together. Our hope is that it will bless the youth and those who watch it with a clear Gospel message. We also hope to build better relationships with the kids who will be working on this project with us!

Narnia Book Club

Good fiction is difficult to find here. Finding a teenager who reads good fiction is even harder! Noticing that, we decided to see if there was anybody who wanted to read The Chronicles of Narnia with us. The response was good, so we started the Narnia book club and we are reading/discussing the Narnia series together. Currently we are on The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and we have about 20 youth reading with us. Thank you to those of you (thanks mom) who have supplied us with dozens of these books. Aslan is on the move!



Youth Group on Saturdays


Every Saturday we meet for our regular youth meeting. We usually have over 50 youth in attendance at this meeting. Recently we've been studying issues of modesty from a Gospel-centered perspective. We're asking the question: How does the good news of Jesus dying for my sins and delivering me from the wrath of God relate to issues of chastity and modesty? 




The Gospel Coalition
Theological Famine Relief

They say it all here. The Gospel Coalition has made Biblical resources available to ministries outside of North America. We've been able to bring down several cases of books. Friends and family have also brought down books and Bibles to give away to youth, young adults, and future leaders in Haiti. Good theological and Christian living books are difficult to find here. We're thankful for TGC giving us these resources in English, French and Haitian Creole!





Pray for one of our youth group members 


Thanks to all of you who have agreed to pray for one youth this year and for purchasing the book Setting Their Hope in God. We are looking forward with anticipation to see how God uses your prayers in the lives of these young people! We still have about 10 youth group members who we’d like to get prayer partners for. If you are interested in joining us here’s how it works:

1) Purchase this book, Setting Their Hope in God, by Andrew Case.
It is available for $8.99 on Amazon. There is an electronic version for $.99.

2) Email us at jason.schmick@gmail.com and let us know that you’ve got the book and are committing to pray for a youth for the next year.

3) We will email you a picture of the youth and their name. (**We will only be able to share a name and picture to protect the youth’s privacy agreement.)

4) Read the preface and instructions at the front of the book.




Monday, October 21, 2013

Limitations

Limitation.  I like how the guy has his binoculars.
Look for God.  He's working in every limitation.

They're everywhere.  Some change the course of a day while others a lifetime.  We encounter them all of the time. If they're not our own then we experience them in the world around us. Other people's limitations effect us. Creation is full of limitations. Streams of water are shaped by limitations. Cities develop according to limitations - whether demographics, the economy, history or weather.  The southern cities developed much more after air conditioning was invented because the hot weather limited it prior. We live within limitations and we ourselves are limited.

 While contemplating my next pair of running shoes I researched a recommended brand called Newtons. Their claim to fame is that they help you tap into otherwise unused muscle power by using better form. Most running shoes "use passive cushioning...that flattens under your body weight...". This cushioning obstructs your ability to sense the ground under you and communicate with your brain what muscles are needed. In essence you're running in a non-sustainable, comfy bubble that limits your best muscle/ligament power to propel you over the ground.  Crazy enough, you're even more susceptible to injury in that unrealistic bubble.

It dawned on me that many of the limitations I experience frustrate my "passive cushioning" which obstructs my ability to sense the real ground I'm running on. I can get all sorts of bent out of shape when limitations block my perceived desires, needs and goals. Worry and anxiety rear. A victim mentality consumes. Anger boils.  Depression and apathy paralyze.  Quickly my selfish-focus becomes fixated on establishing the "passive cushioning" I crave. My prayer life becomes about removing the limitations of finances, sickness, difficult people, etc. You get the point.  Any and all limitations must leave in the Name of Jesus. "Right?"

Stamina wains with my limited wisdom and remedies.  Thoughts are crowded with promising, bubble-visions titled, "IF only...".  As if that was possibly the only remedy.  However, with increased concentration, these limitations don't vanish.  Instead fears multiply because I'm not utilizing God's infinite power and wisdom to satisfy and propel me.

The blessed truth is that God is always jealously at work in every limitation. These limitations are totally in His mercifully-sovereign care.  He is the master of them!  They are essential tools in His skilled hands. Where I'd obliterate every supposed limitation and labor to restore or increase cushioning God is faithfully working to develop and tap into the better strength. The strength that comes when I realistically see and feel the road underfoot, realize He's bigger and trust Him to faithfully provide. Again, He has supplied all that I need to run this race with endurance.  There is nothing in heaven that He hasn't given.  He gave everything and held nothing back.  He gave HIMSELF.

I'm challenged to ask in the face of these limitations, "Who is God in this?  How is He sufficient?  Am I trusting in the fullness of Him and His perfect wisdom or am I seeking my own remedies?  Am I willing to pray through this diligently and keep running or  will I rebelliously fall down in a defeated pile?  Whose race is this any way?  Mine or God's?"

How about you?  Are you experiencing limitations today?  Are you enjoying His complete sufficiency found through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus?

I encourage you to rest in His perfect, protective love at work in your ordained limitations.  His righteous wisdom holds each of them with great love for you.  Do you trust Him to strengthen your real muscle power in Him or do you prefer the "passive cushioning" that doesn't last?

 Oh, how He loves us!  He doesn't give us what we think we need but instead gives us Himself and teaches us to treasure Him best of all; making our joy full.

Romans 8:32"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"