MainKids Camp Out 2016: Part 2

June 23, 2016

By Dolores Rader, Minister to Children

Camp Out is coming to a close and we are filled with sadness to leave our
friends and this beautiful, beautiful place! It has been such an amazing
camp filled with God’s presence at every turn. Here are a few highlights
from me and then highlights from the boys!

Since worship is our central theme to Camp Out, we have one worship
service each day we are here. On Tuesday, Rachel Moore was our preacher
for our midday service and the girls lead in every aspect of the service
from tolling the hour to singing “Little Lamb” as the offertory anthem to
praying, reading scripture, and ushering. On Wednesday, Suzann Herrmann
and the boys led the evening service at the water. Suzann preached on
looking up and finding God wherever we are. The boys sang Amazing Grace
and ended the service with a joyful “I’ll Fly Away”. As is our tradition,
on the morning we leave, we will have our final Camp Out worship service
outside at the giant cross here at Artesian Lakes. Anna Rader is our
preacher and the camp counselors lead in worship. All of our worship was
based in Psalm 92 this year.

MKCampout2016FWe played at the playground, played capture the flag, hiked, swam, flew
down the slides into the lake, and shopped at the gift shop for candy and
souvenirs. In between all of the fun, we talked about and practiced
different disciplines for personal worship. Amanda Villasenor talked to
us about what the Bible says about personal time with the Lord and how
she practices journaling. We made our own journals and journaled
throughout camp. Emily Westerburg talked to us about the importance of
devotion time and how she and Mr. Trey do this together and separately.
We also talked about ways to ask for prayer from our friends and ways we
can pray when we can’t find the words and when we only want to share our
thoughts with God. We made teeny, tiny prayer boxes, lit candles, and
prayed for each other.

MKCampout2016E

And now highlights from the boys:

I loved everything about this camp. My favorite parts though were playing
with my friends, swimming, free time, and seeing wildlife. –TrevorMcLaughlin

I love camp because we can have fun. My favorite part in camp is the
slides and seeing wildlife. -Ulysses Paredes

I liked naming the wildlife. That is my favorite thing. -Cody Sawyer

I love swimming with my friends and spending time with my friends. For
swimming, I love the slide! -William Fowler

My favorite thing here to do is Circle Time and free time. -Timothy Kutz

Quiet time is my favorite time at camp. -Marco Campos

My favorite part about MainKids Camp Out is hanging out with my church
friends. I love playing tag, swim, and do a bunch of other stuff. -Lee
Fowler


MainKids Camp Out 2016

June 23, 2016

MKCampout2016DBy Dolores Rader, Minister to Children

Our fourth and fifth graders are at a point in their lives when they are ready to exercise their gifts of leadership and to dig deeper into the practices of corporate and personal worship. Camp Out at Artesian Lakes is the perfect place to safely and boldly lean into these two ideas. Below is a sentence or two from each of the 9 4th and 5th grade girls on what their favorite aspect of Camp Out is, but before you read on to their favorites, let me briefly share some of my favorites.

I love that we bring high school youth to serve as the perfect role models to the children in how we lead with a servant’s heart. They work REALLY hard and at the same time swim and play games establishing relationships to ease the transition to the Youth Group, sing songs around a campfire introducing them to Youth music and traditions, and sit side by side in worship praising and praying together.

One of my other favorite elements of Camp Out is our tradition of “Circle Time”. Every child, youth and adult gets the opportunity to sit in the middle of a big circle surrounded by all the rest of us, where we each, one by one, sisters and brothers, boys and girls, best friends and new friends, offer a sincere blessing which begins “What I like about you is…”. It is a beautiful gift of affirmation to receive and a empowering gift to give. This tradition is life giving and life transforming.

I could on and on about all of my other aspects of Camp Out, but for now hear straight from the kids and counselors themselves…

 

My fav part of camp is riding the horses. It’s fun. #horses

Gillian Tinsley

I love to ride things mainly horses, and Lily G. Hot coco in my mouth is the best! J Playing games in circle time is great!

Isabella Campos

MKCampout2016A

During camp, everyone has a secret helper. Their secret helper is extra nice to them and pushes them in the right direction.

Elaina Mays

The absolute best thing about camp out is the opportunity to watch each and every child be authentically and completely themselves! We have the BEST kids!!

Amanda Villasenor

I love the outside space at Artesian Lakes. Our house is huge, and I love how big our living room is. #lake

Lily Gribble

MKCampout2016B

I loved the pool another favorite is the slide and finally the store the best of all the three!

Kiran Harper

One thing that I love about Camp Out is swimming. I also love the Gratitude Cafe. I also love circle time.

Lily Durden

The absolute best part of camp is quiet time when all my friends come in my room and we have a snack party and talk. It is nice being new to the church and getting to know everybody. I love circle time a lot. I also enjoy swimming.

Jessie Horton

One thing I like so far in camp is hanging with my friends. Another thing I like about camp so far is Gratitude Café. The last thing I like so far in camp is the swimming and the alligators.

Kayden Nickel

 

One of the many things I love about Main Kids Camp Out is Gratitude Café. First thing in the morning, everybody in the house gathers to make crazy drinks – topped with sprinkles and whipped cream, and talk about the many blessings for which we are grateful. Gratitude Café allows us to really reflect on the joys in our life, from tangible objects to our friendships and opportunities. This daily morning ritual fills our hearts with thanksgiving and prepares us for the day.

Anna Rader

MKCampout2016C

My favorite things about Camp Out are:

-Swimming in the lake

-Circle time outside

-Free time

Rachel Kee

My favorite thing about Camp Out every summer is watching the development of every child’s leadership skills! I have especially loved so far this week seeing both the fourth and fifth graders be and grow into incredibly mature and thoughtful members of our church family, and I am so excited for the future of the youth group and the church in the hands of such open-minded and knowledgeable Christians. The respect and care for which each and every child treats their peers and counselors and their unrelenting curiosity and joy has made Camp Out this summer an unparalleled experience!

Elysa Tulek


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 5

June 16, 2016

By Brian Chambers

On our first mission trip to Peru our group was able to visit La Plaza de Armas, the beautiful area within Lima containing the Presidential Palace, Congress, and the Cathedral of Lima. Though we could walk around the cathedral’s impressive exterior, we were previously unable to enter.

PeruDay5.JPGHowever, this time around our small group was fortunate enough to be allowed to enter into this awe-inspiring building. Enormous sculptures of meticulously crafted wood and stone adorned several inlets within the main chamber of the cathedral, great care taken to perfect even the smallest aspects of the artwork. Our tour guide, Marta, took us into the crypt below the altar. Once in the crypt our music minister, Carey Cannon, lined up the youth choir and we proceeded to sing “Esto Les Digo”. The sound of the music echoed through the catacombs, enhancing our voices. Other visitors to the cathedral came down the narrow stairs leading to the crypt, some with cameras in hand, to listen. The entire experience was extremely moving and unforgettable!

Brian Chambers is beginning his Freshman Year at Texas A&M this Fall. He was active in band, but this week is helping in the Discovery (science, art, gardening) and Recreation Classes at OSA. He is the son of Mark and Jeannie, and the brother of Suzanne.


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 3

June 14, 2016

By Isabella Baar-Hill

As a member of the music and dance team on the mission trip to Peru, I teach the kids songs and dances to perform for their parents and friends at the end of the week. Breaking through the language barrier, we learned specific Spanish words that are often used in teaching music and dance. During our second full day in Peru at OSA, we presented the children with the theme of Cultural Exchange; we worked from American & Texan perspectives so the kids got a taste of our culture. During dance, we played many rounds of musical chairs (a game I’ve quickly learned they LOVE). We only played English music because that’s what we know and brought with us. While others led the game, I played and stopped the music, watching the kids from the side lines. I began to notice that the kids were quietly singing and humming along to our English songs, words they couldn’t have known. I realized these kids were subconsciously, and joyfully learning our culture in ways we had not planned.PeruSummerBlogDay3During the music classes, Carey took time to teach and translate words we could use in common enabling us to bond with them in a unique way. I was reminded of how excited the kids were two years ago when I came when they would ask how to say things in English and I’d attempt to teach them. This was a new and eye opening experience because I was accustomed to being their student, struggling to learn Spanish. Their willingness to overcome our foreign language and pronunciations with attitudes of joy is a gift I will carry home with me. Their openness to a new culture despite the struggle is inspiring. Every moment I spend with these kids who show such eagerness to learn despite failure, makes me strive more and more to be like them.

Isabella Baar-Hill completed her Junior Year at Houston Christian High School. She is the daughter of J Hill and Hillevi Baar.


Peru Mission Trip Summer 2016 Day 1

June 12, 2016

By Anna Rader

Today, we got the opportunity to visit OSA’s new church, Luz de Esperanza, and meet some of their youth as well as participate in their worship service. As returning youth, we saw some familiar faces and encountered new ones as we passed through confused faces and broken translations with silly games, from finger jousting to Gigantes, Magos, y Duendes. Sharing some of our own youth group game traditions, we got to know the other youth and break the ice. After these games, we sang for them in both Hebrew and Spanish and listened to a heartwarming story told by Kevin and translated into Spanish by Dennis. As we worshipped together, we realized that while we may speak different languages, sing different songs, or pray in different ways, we all worship the same God. Our faith unites people from Houston, Rome, Collique, and many other cities around the world, which is a very comforting and humbling feeling.perusummer2016Day1.jpg

Anna Rader is a recent graduate of Manvel High School. In the Fall she will be attend William & Mary.


How Can I Find God?

June 3, 2014

How Can I Find God? is a compelling book edited by Father James Martin, a writer and Jesuit priest. Father Martin asked a number of contemporary thinkers– authors, astronomers, social workers, theologians, farmers, politicians, artists, prisoners, educators, ministers, business people, physicists, etc.– the quintessential question of life: How Can I Find God? This book is a compilation of their interesting answers to this big question. The book is an easy read, full of dynamic thoughts, most from a Christian perspective probably shared by Father Martin, but some not. All the writers give the reader something interesting to consider, including those from other faith traditions. The book is just about 200 pages and great to pick up and read in small doses as you go about your summer plans. We will be posting thoughts and responses to the book on the South Main blog and on Facebook throughout the summer as a way to stay close to one another, even as we go our separate ways for parts of the season. Please feel encouraged to contribute to the conversation which will form around this, our congregation’s summer reading.

Where Can I Find God, you ask?

God is magnetized by truth, and there you will find him, like the linnet dipping in the stream.
— Mark Helprin, author


Thinking about worship

May 1, 2011

By Melissa Scott, South Main Member

Melissa Scott is currently living abroad in Doha, Qatar with her family. This was reprinted by her permission from her family blog post on March 31, 2011.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about worship.

Actually, I’ve having a little bit of an internal struggle about it. We are attending a church here in Doha and to be honest, the worship style is a little bit hard for me. It’s very contemporary – different in every way from what we are used to in Houston at South Main Baptist Church, and even before that. The worship is led by rotating teams, a different leader each week. I think I understand contemporary worship – that it’s meant to be very organic and emotional. I appreciate the poetic song texts and the rock/pop style and I also appreciate that lots of different kinds of musicians can be a part of it and the whole congregation can participate.

That’s all good stuff. But – in the end it just doesn’t move me. It’s hard for me to connect – too much noise, it sounds too forced and unintentional, and I just don’t ever feel I’m a part of it. I find myself tuning out, watching the time, and kind of retreating into my own thoughts – blocking it out and waiting for it to be over. Trying to fix my face into a relaxed expression rather than a pinched wince. Why is that? I’m not sure, but here’s a little excerpt from a devotional I read recently:

These Are My Gifts

I am opening the treasure of my heart to look for gifts to give you, my King. My offerings reflect the ways I worship you in the everyday. Love for my family. Kindness to others. Help in the face of need. Faith in the future. Trust through doubt. Lord, please accept these responses as they reflect my deep affection for You.

From One – Minute Devotions for Women by Hope Lyda

Though the devotion is about gifts and what we can offer up to God in our daily lives – I still feel there’s a message for me written in the text about worship. I have to sit with the idea that worship isn’t about a style or even a specific 15-minute window during each week. Worship is about responding and honoring God every minute. To say I don’t connect with a certain style of worship is to say I’m not really seeking to connect with God. That is very convicting for me. And, if I have any gifts to offer – aren’t they gifts of music? What am I doing exactly – sitting in chairs and waiting for the 15 minutes to pass each Friday during the service? How does that fit into any sort of obedience to God’s call on my life? What does it say about my deep devotion for Christ?

So it was already on my mind and then I got an email from my church specifically about worship. A few years ago I participated in a committee. We were asked to take a critical look at worship at the church we attend in Houston. I visited several other congregations – listened to their worship services and we spent long hours talking within the committee about what was good, maybe not so good, and how it all fits with the vision and church culture at South Main. It was a task force of sorts – focused on examining and thinking about what worship means to that congregation and how we could make it meaningful each week.

As I reread the report, I was quickly reminded that the act of worship is not about me. It’s not about getting something. It’s about what we each give to God in every moment.

What does it matter how I think a worship service should look, feel, and sound? It’s more about what we offer up to the God who makes all things new. Intentional worship is about taking time weekly to attend to your relationship with God. To refocus and remind ourselves that we are called to be different, that we have decided to follow Jesus, and that the stuff of life that takes such a front and center place in our thinking may not be what God wants us to focus on. So, I’m trying to step over my opinions and preferences and my need to have things feel like home, and into a place of obedience and renewal. God has brought us here to Doha for a reason (or several reasons), and I believe that every part of the experience has the ability to teach and grow us.

This verse helps crystalize that idea for me:

Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind. –Romans 12:2

I’m also trying to remember that in working to honor God in the way I care for the girls and my students, in offering friendship and encouragement to an expat friend, and in continuing to build a strong relationship with Steve – I am in a way worshiping. I’m offering my best to God and showing my deep devotion to Him. Through love, kindness, help, faith, and trust I am honoring God. Or trying to, at least. These are some of the thoughts that are holding my attention these days. I can’t promise that when next Friday morning rolls around I won’t be struggling, but I will be hoping for renewal and for a fresh perspective. Maybe one of these Sundays there will be an opportunity for me to lead worship and I’ll be able to embrace it and follow God’s call through it.

I’m trying to keep moving in that direction.

#innerloopchurch


New chances. New life. New futures.

February 23, 2011

By Kevin Sinclair, Minister to Youth

I’ve seen two things recently on which–I think–God wants me to reflect. These two events represent, on one hand, the paradoxical spectrum of work that we ministers do from time to time.

First off, let me say, have you ever had one of those weeks where you had like three things you HAD to get done, and by Thursday you realize, due to other metaphorical fires that need extinguishing (Tom Ehlers, a firefighter, is one of my all-star youth leaders, so I feel as though I should specify the figurative, imaginary nature of MY fires), you have not done any of those tasks? Yep. That is what I am talking about.

Armed with a cup of coffee and the best intentions, I set out to complete my task: DiscipleNOW logistics, an exhaustive email to Host Homes and Leaders, and Curriculum, Curriculum, Curriculum! In the words of the great poet, Meatloaf…two outta three ain’t bad…right?

As the morning rolled along and I crafted my emails and work, like Michelangelo if he had an Apple Laptop and was writing emails, and I received a distressing email from my beloved former church colleague, now turned city-wide colleague, the always marvelous, Chelsea Wade, who is now doing extraordinary development work over at SEARCH Homeless Service. It was the day of their GED Graduation service, and Erin Conaway was commissioned to offer the invocation. The pianist for the service canceled at the last minute, and they needed not only a keyboardist, but a keyboard itself. Fortunately, the ever-resourceful Thomas Coker had an extra electronic keyboard in his office that he allowed me to take to Chelsea. After dropping off this relic from 1994 of an instrument (Hey, it played notes at least!), I left SEARCH. A hour later, poor, sweet Chelsea discovers that her now back-up keyboardist has canceled, and asks if I can bring my guitar and play a little. Erin and I rush to my house where my trusty guitar, affectionately named Hudson by my friend Chris August, the previous owner, and I see my new accordion. “Hmm, I wonder…” I pick up my accordion and play, without a blemish the first half of pomp and circumstance, and then fumble through a few notes. Surprising as it might seem, I am not so bold and brash to carry an instrument I can barely play (I am getting there, but not quite yet!), to a graduation service and blare out tunes on my accordion (Yet to be named, btw).

We arrive to the service, and in walk the graduates. Two young men enter from the back wearing green graduation robes and hats, followed by many others who are being promoted to the next level within the program. As the teachers and also Mike Feinberg who started KIPP and Yes Prep (If you don’t know what these are, google them) rose to spoke, a sense of affirmation and pride swelled in the room. I can’t speak for everyone else in the room, but the dining area at SEARCH, for that moment at least, became holy ground…a place of second, third, fourth, possibly even seventy times seven chances…a place of resurrection and salvation. One woman rose to tell her story, a story of abuse, addiction, failure, and ultimately victory and redemption. She ended by saying, as simply as I have ever heard, yet more profoundly than all my seminary classes combine, “When I was going through recovery, my sponsor always said, ‘I know it’s hard, but with God all things are possible.'”

New chances. New life. New futures. Who could ask for more for these young men?

So as I right this on a cold evening, I took my youth bowling at Palace Bowling Lanes. To match the standard Kid’s Night Out format, we were scheduled to be at Palace Lanes from 6:30 to 10:00 bowling. In case you have not done the math, that’s 3 1/2 hours of being in the same place with a gaggle of middle schoolers and high schoolers. Now, faithful blog reader, if I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’…our group two years ago would have after about 2 hours started fussing about how bored they were or just left…but not this group. Our youth group has gone through some major maturation and evolution in the past two and a half years I have been here. It takes time to knit community, and God is doing that with us on a day to day basis. Tonight, I was absolutely floored at the camaraderie, patience, love, enthusiasm, and joy that just permeated our five lanes. Everyone being cheered for when they knocked down even one pin, and then encouraged on every gutterball.

I told some of my leaders, “Look at this. They just love each other!” The drama, cliques, and junk all left at the door…high schoolers and middle schoolers playing together and just living life and loving every second of it. I struggle a great deal to think how I can make this group closer and better.

Am I one good curriculum or night of worship away from becoming exactly who God has created us to be? I think not. I think we are, in fact, already exactly who God created us to be, but the beauty with how God sees workmanship is that the work is never complete. We are all at once whole and perfectly formed, and broken, longing for repair.

What do these stories have to do with each other. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe everything. What seems to amaze me the most about how God does whatever it is that God does is that so often the most beautiful, holy, sacred moments in life are the ones that we don’t orchestrate…we just show up with our guitar to make some music or we buy a couple of pizzas and God takes those meager offerings and before we know it, we stand in the presence of the Kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven.


Grace…by Charis Smith

October 11, 2010

By Charis Smith, South Main Member

Grace is a strong, theological, abstract word that we who have always been in church use freely.  Defined it means a gift that wasn’t deserved.  For me to notice moments of grace takes really paying attention.  My Tecoma Stans bush, also known as Esperanza or hope, froze to the ground last winter.  About May, in a moment of grace, a very tiny green leaf appeared.  Thank you, God for tiny graces.  As a family we once thought we had a solution to a financial problem, but our idea failed.  Five years down the road we were so glad it had. Thank you, God, for the grace that prevents.  Our forty-seven year old son is marrying this year, adding a gracious woman and her family to our circle.  Thank up, God, for the grace that answers our desires.

Grace, like the stained glass in our sanctuary, is always there with the possibility of breath catching brilliance added to my life.  Sometimes I miss grace light because my back is turned; sometimes I miss it because “fullness of time” hasn’t come, and all I can see is a dark outline.  In an unsuspecting moment, the light of God shines from outside of me and bathes me in the colors and glory of grace.  Then I stop, and with thankfulness, really pay attention.

Give Grace.


Are you yearning for a deeper experience of God?

September 17, 2010

Are you yearning for a deeper experience of God?

Would you like to be part of a small group of people with whom you can share questions of faith?

Come Walk with Companions in Christ:

  • A weekly journey in prayer, scripture, sharing, spiritual friendship, and meditation
  • A spiritual-formation group designed to deepen your spiritual growth
  • An invitation from God to come close. Read the rest of this entry »