MONTHLY ARCHIVES: November 2012

Conversation Starter: Objection – Frustrating the Father

Posted on November 28, 2012 by Phil

Malachi 2:17–3:12

Considering How We Treat God

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
How big is God? How can we show a big, big God that we love Him?

You may want to tell about Jesus feeding a big crowd with the lunch that the little boy gave Him. Emphasize that God likes to use gifts from little children to help people. Helping other people and giving money to our church are two ways we can show God we love Him.

For School-Age
Do you ever see kids mistreating their teachers or parents?

How do you feel about that?

Do you think we ever treat God badly like that?

What are ways we can treat God with respect and show Him we love Him?

For Students
If you can catch them in the car without their earbuds in, play Waiting for the World to Change by John Mayer. Draw attention to a phrase such as “It’s hard to beat the system when we’re standing at a distance. So we keep waiting, waiting on the world to change.” Discuss questions such as: Should we wait on the world to change or go do something about it? If you could change one thing in this world, what would you? What can we as a family do to change our corner of the world and make life better for someone else?


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Traditions – at Camp… and at Home!

Posted on November 21, 2012 by Phil

At Ridgecrest Summer Camps, we have a lot of great traditions that have been ongoing since the 1930’s.  One of them, at Camp Ridgecrest, is singing “Tell Me Why”.  Our old brochures indicate that this has been happening for well over 80 years!  At Crestridge, our Council of Progress ceremony has been ongoing since camp started in 1955!

Songs, ceremonies, and other traditions are an important part of camp… and also of families!  They provide a familiarity, a “down home” feeling, a connectedness between the past and the present.  Traditions help to make us more comfortable.

Are you making sure your family has traditions?  I remember as a child, one of our family traditions was to go to the Dairy Queen every Sunday afternoon after Sunday lunch.  We loved the soft serve ice cream, which you couldn’t get just anywhere at the time.  I remember one time my dad letting us get Parfaits in the conical plastic glass cup, which I believe at the time cost 25 cents!  That was quite a treat, as we usually were allowed only the ice cream cone which was 10 cents.  Am I showing my age?

Another family tradition we had was praying before each meal around the table.  You might think that everyone does that, but I don’t believe that happens as much these days as it used to.

Are you providing family traditions for your family?  Maybe you visit the park or do a nature walk with your children on a given schedule.  Maybe you set aside a time for family devotions.  Maybe a tradition started when you were a child has carried over to your family now that you are the parent.   Whatever your traditions might be, find some that work for your family, and keep those traditions.  It will help your family stay better connected, both now and in the future!

Ron Springs
Camps Director
Ridgecrest Summer Camps
November 2012


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Six Summer Olympics Lessons for You and Your Kids

Posted on November 14, 2012 by Phil

This past summer, while your kids weren’t at camp, I’m sure lots of you huddles around the TV to watch some of the greatest athletes in the world…

“As you enjoy[ed] the adrenalin-charged competition, [did you] remind your kids about the years of determination, discipline, and sacrifice that shaped these athletes into champions. Want to know how they got where they are today? We asked two Olympic gold medalists to reflect on the life lessons their own families taught them – lessons you can pass on to your kids today.

Going the distance

A broken home. Rebellious teen years. A dangerous violent streak. Bryan Clay faced these obstacles and more on his way to the 2004 silver medal and the 2008 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, which he hopes to defend at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Looking back, the husband to Sarah and father of a 2-, 4-, and 6-year-old says he could have ended up in prison or worse. But through the persistent prayers of Bryan’s mother, who insisted he go out for track and field in middle school, Bryan found a new passion.

“As I entered high school, she repeatedly told me: ‘God’s got a plan for your life. He’s got something special in your future. I know it,'” Bryan recalls.

Bryan eventually dedicated himself to the decathlon, but he still faced obstacles despite wins in high school and college. His height and weight were below average for a decathlete, and his scores fell short of qualifying for the Olympic Trials. Bryan had committed his life to Christ but still struggled with partying and bad choices. However, he managed to stay focused on Olympic gold – thanks to his family in Christ.

“I had people in my life, a support system,” Bryan explains. “Isaac Newton has a quote: ‘If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ People like my mom, wife, and coach have been the giants in my life. They raise me up and swallow their pride, and sacrifice to see me succeed. God intended for us to be in community. Success in life and faith is all about the people you surround yourselves with – accountability partners, people to encourage you.”

Today, Bryan, 32, relies on God and his family for strength to help him perform well. He hopes to become the first decathlete to medal in three Olympics. Bryan also prays for and encourages his own kids to embrace the faith and work ethic that changed his life.

“What I’ve learned from my mom is that parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world – it’s what shapes the beliefs and values in your kids,” Bryan says. “Though they may not understand or follow your lifestyle in the beginning, when they hit that time of need, they will come back.”

Three lessons I teach my kids

1. God first

“When I was in college, it was something they preached to us all the time,” Bryan says. “‘God first’ really has shaped the way I do things now. My priorities are God, family, and track, and everything else last. I hope our kids see that modeled and put God at the forefront of their lives.”

2. Always try your best – even when things come easily to you

“My son’s really gifted in academics; he’s a first grader reading at an eighth grade level,” Bryan shares. “But we try to teach him about always giving his best even though he might be able to get away with writing three sentences on his homework.”

It’s important to Bryan that he teaches his kids to strive for excellence rather than succumb to society’s pressure to be the best. “You simply give 100 percent in everything you do and let that be OK,” Bryan says.

3. Win and lose well

“Let your kids see how you handle winning and losing,” Bryan says. “I share a lot of my own real-life experiences … ‘Daddy does this, and this is how he deals with it.’ I don’t win every time I go out, but I always give my best effort and that’s what I’m proud of. That’s why God needs to be first, so we aren’t defined by our wins and losses.”

A perfect balance

Four-time Olympic medalist Shawn Johnson grew up in an ordinary family in suburban Iowa, taking fishing trips with her dad. And that down-to-earth upbringing was exactly what helped mold her into an extraordinary athlete.

“My parents are the type who never pushed me or made me go to practice,” Shawn, 20, says. “I never had the dad who said, ‘You can’t give up,’ or ‘You have to win.’ They were so supportive and wanted to be in the front row cheering me on no matter what I did.”

In elementary school, Shawn began taking lessons at Chow’s Gymnastics and Dance Institute. Gymnastics brought out her playful side and her love of adrenalin. Still, Shawn’s parents made sure her passion didn’t become her whole life.

“Mom and Dad talked freely with me about God,” Shawn says. “They taught me to look to God as a tremendous source of comfort and peace through all of life’s ups and downs. They encouraged me to talk with Him, and I know my mom regularly prayed for me.”

The road to elite competition was long, but by the time she was 13, Shawn had made the national gymnastics team and continued to climb to heights she never thought possible. She was named the 2007 all-around world champion and the 2007 and 2008 all-around U.S. champion. As a member of the 2008 U.S. women’s gymnastics team, she won an Olympic gold medal and three silver medals at the Beijing Olympics. She even won the eighth season of “Dancing With the Stars.” But in 2011, a ski injury to her knee threatened to end her promising career.

“What drove me to overcome my injury was the challenge in my mind of Can I?” Shawn relates. “I always loved the physical part of gymnastics, pushing yourself and proving the naysayers wrong. After the accident, I felt physically unfit and mentally unhealthy, but gymnastics helped push me into a better place and turn my life around.”

Shawn’s comeback on the gymnastics scene means she will once again compete for a spot on the 2012 Olympic team in London. But thanks to confidence from faith and family, she doesn’t feel overwhelming pressure to win.

“It’s almost impossible, and I want to prove to people that it’s possible,” Shawn says. “I don’t have anything else to prove, but what if I could go one step farther?”

Three lessons my parents taught me

1. Home is a safe place

Rather than use their home life to talk about gymnastics, Shawn’s parents gave her a welcomed time-out.

“My parents’ unconditional support led to my success because I had that backing and not the pressure that so many kids face every day,” Shawn says. “I had a place to go to get away from it – home. They made it a place I always wanted to come back to.”

2. Don’t be afraid to be different

“Growing up, you’re always trying to fit in with the popular crowd and do what everyone else is doing,” Shawn says. “My parents told me to be my own person and do what I loved even if it was different. That taught me to have confidence in myself and who I was instead of finding someone else to rely on.”

3. Your worth is not in winning

“It’s not about the medal or the placement. Your worth is not determined by that. Faith has a lot to do with it – you’re giving it your all, and no matter what the placement, you’re still proud. Too many kids get caught up in determining their success or worth in the color they’re wearing rather than what they’ve worked for.””

by Andrea Bailey Willits on Monday, June 25, 2012


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Conversation Starter: Objection – Casual Commitment

Posted on November 7, 2012 by Phil

Malachi 2:1-16

Honoring Your Commitments

Conversation Starters

How can you keep this conversation going at home? Try bouncing some of these questions around at the dinner table, as you’re driving your kids to school or an activity, or even while you’re shopping together:

For Preschoolers
Help a child glue two pieces of paper together. Ask what makes the paper stick together. Say that love makes people stick together. Give her a big hug and say, “I love you; I stick like glue.” Make a game of it this week – every time you pick him up from daycare, the nursery, school – hug one another and say together, “I love you; I stick like glue.”

For School-Age
Who are your best friends? What is it you really like about those friends? Do your friends ever hurt your feelings? What do they do that hurts your feelings? What do you think you need to do to keep from hurting your friends’ feelings?

For Students
What qualities do you most value in a friend? A boyfriend/girlfriend? As you think about getting married one of these days, which of those qualities will still be important to you? Which qualities do you think matter most to God? What do you think is the best way to find people who possess the qualities you think are really important?


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