Monday, December 29, 2008

~New Year~

Kylie: Oh Boy. I can't believe you still put up with me.
Elizabeth: Are you kidding?
Kylie: You're such a good friend :) I'm such a PAIN!

That's a recent conversation I had with my friend Elizabeth. I was SO grumpy and Elizabeth was just being wonderful and sweet. I'm so lucky to have friends like her :) It's true I'm a real pain sometimes and my friends aren't grumpy back to me. They remind me of what's really important and they make me smile.

I've been looking back on a lot of conversations I've had with my friends this past as I've been thinking about the New Year. I'm so grateful I have made such wonderful friends this year, and I look foward to growing in all of my friendships in the coming year. Thank you all!

I've also thought about my family. The fun moments we had together, the not-so-fun moments. When Dad would burst into singing 'Dentist' from Little Shop of Horrors when we were shopping together...all that stuff. And I laugh at the good times and frown at the times when I let them down.

But mostly, I think about God's consist grace and love toward me. All through the year (and ALWAYS) he's forgiven me and loved me, and I don't deserve any of it. I think it's safe to say that you all feel the same way!

"I am the way, follow me and take my hand. I am the truth, embrace me and you'll understand. And I am the light, and for me you'll live again. For I am Love. I am Love." (Deathbed by Relient K)


We have been so blessed with such a wonderful, gracious God. Not just when we're good. God's with us forever and always.

I've also been thinking about things that I can change in the coming year. Some people would call these New Years Resolutions :) And I decided that my resolutions won't be as crazy as last years. Last years were like, 'Go to Europe', 'Meet the Jonas Brothers', 'Don't Sin' (okay so maybe 'Don't Sin' wasn't one of my resolutions, but do really think those were reasonable resolutions? No.)

These are my Resolutions:

1. Try my hardest to spend time with God every day.
2. Be a better friend.
3. Obey and Respect my parents.

I think those are a little more reasonable. I'm not saying that I will always succeed, but they are a couple of the many areas I need to improve in. I'd just urge you that your New Years Resolutions aren't something crazy like 'Don't Sin' or 'Meet Switchfoot'. There's no way we're not going to sin, and it's not wrong to want to meet Switchfoot but I wouldn't put it on the list of things you want to get done by the end of the year.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and are constantly reminded of God's grace.

Incredibly Blessed,

Friday, December 26, 2008

Saint Stephen's Day

It's not a very widely celebrated holiday here in the USA, probably because Christmas is so huge in our culture. After all, we're tearing around like mad even before Thanksgiving, buying presents and swarming malls, and we do that for about a month. So perhaps, the day after Christmas, we're all just plain tired out. We want a break... we've been running non-stop since Halloween, for crying out loud!

But, whether or not it's widely celebrated, today, December 26, 2008, is St. Stephen's Day. When I tried to research this holiday, I found out that it's widely European, and traditions vary all over. Ireland has a long rhyme, the Welsh used to bleed animals (and apparently people do... thankfully they stopped that a good while back,) and so on.

But today is, supposedly, the day that the first martyr was stoned. Stephen is one of those people whom I would love to meet in heaven. He was arrested for speaking "blasphemous words against Moses and God" (Acts 6:11.) He then, after his arrest, knew full well that these authorities had the power to get him killed, yet he proclaimed the truth anyway. He went on a great length about Moses and Joseph and the Israelites. He calls these Jewish authorities "stiff-necked people" (Acts 7:51.) He tells them that they have killed the Righteous One, who is Jesus. For this, he is taken out of the city and beaten to death with rocks.
Now, here's the even more amazing bit... he cries out these words to the Messiah: "Lord Jesus, receive my sprit. Lord, do not hold this sin against them." (Acts 7:59, 60) Sound familiar? It echoes the cry on Calvary: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"(Luke 23:46)

The even greater thing is that this type, this Christ, was the one who gave Stephen the strength to be killed for the sake of his Lord. Stephen looked up and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God. He could die without a terror because he knew that Jesus had died before him, and that this Messiah had taken the punishment for his sins. He would not burn eternally, he would not be subject to the wrath of God. (If you want more on Stephen, go ahead and read Acts 6-7. I do not ahve room here to put in everything.)

So, Happy Saint Stephen's Day! Have fun cleaning up wrapping paper, eating even more food that you ate yestreday, and messing with your presents. Remember also the martyrs, and the reason that they can still die without a worry, even today. Pray for them, too. People are still persecuted in the 21st century.
God bless!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Word = flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

So begins the book of John. It is, if you think about it, a very cool glimpse of Christ. He is eternal (both past and future), and he was with God. Whoa... so what, he's some sort of supernatural power? An angel or a spirit or something? Not quite... he is God. He was there when God made the world, and in eternity before that. He was involved in the process of making everything, from the Himalayas to the amoebas. He's the source of life, and is a light to us. So, that there should be enough to make anyone stop and stand in awe. But John doesn't stop there...

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.... And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

And that should make your jaw drop, and the word "wow" should slowly come out of your mouth. That Word about which we were talking, the Word who is equal to, and even is, God Himself, became flesh. Flesh! Skin, bones, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, blood vessels. With that flesh came weariness, hunger, thirst, sorrow, and pain. Why should the Maker be so subjected to this? It gets even lower; He was born as a child, in a stable. He didn't even come down in what we would consider wealth. Something like coming as the Emperor of Rome would have suited Him better. But no. A child, with parents who were oppressed by the strongest of Empires, born among the cows and the sheep in the hay.
What sort of love is this? The Son of God humbled Himself to the point of incarnation as a baby. Further down the road, He would die for our sins on a Cross, as the only innocent man. If the incarnation made you say "wow," this should leave you speechless. There aren't words for this. The English language falls far short of being able to portray this love. All we can do is worship this Saviour of ours, who was crucified on our behalf, and who pleads for us before the Father.

*I know, this is very similar to what Mr. Purswell said a few weeks ago. But I don't think we can have our minds blown by God enough, so it's here too.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Not only at Christmas Time- The Whole ShaBang!

You are all invited to a birthday celebration!

For whom: Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour
Date: Everyday of the year (traditionally December 25th)
When: Whenever you're ready, but don't be too late, you'll miss all the fun!
Where: In your heart. You'll hear God knocking. :)

Hey everyone! Kylie here and I'm so in the Christmas spirit! Can you believe that there are only four days until Christmas? It's so exciting! Well, this is probably going to be the last post before Christmas and it should cover a lot of ground.

Didn't you all love that invitation? My grandmother sent that to me, and thought it would be cool to share with all of you. I love how it says that Jesus' birthday is to be celebrated everyday of the year, not just Christmas. Here is something that makes you think...when was Jesus' birthday? December 25th wasn't Jesus' birthday. Neither was January 6th. We don't know when exactly Jesus was born. In 320 AD Pope Julius chose December 25th as the day to celebrate Jesus' birthday. December 25th is when we celebrate Jesus' birth. But Jesus' birthday shouldn't bound our praise. Let the wonder of his birth stay with us throughout the year.

Here's another one. How many wise men were there? Most people would answer "three". But really how many Magi were there? We don't know! The Bible says that Jesus received three gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh from Wise Men that came from the East. It never says, "And then came three wise men from the East each bearing a gift for their king." That will remain a mystery for time to come. Another thought about the Magi is them coming to Jesus. They travel far and wide to find him, most likely by night so they could see the star to guide them. They didn't have map quest!!! They didn't have directions that said, "Go Northeast for 400 miles until you come to a dead camel..." It didn't work that way. They believed that there was a Messiah, a coming King and that the star would lead them to him. So they traveled many months, maybe even more to find this Messiah by following a star with faith and hope.

I could write a book on Christmas along with Dave, Elizabeth and Allie but I can't do that right now :D. Like Dave said in his earlier post Christmas isn't about the gifts or the IOU feeling gifts might bring (if you haven't read Dave's post you should!!! It's really good). And like I said in my other post, Reflect on the Miracle of Christmas year round. Sing for joy that you have a Saviour year round! And always remember that the birth of Jesus led to his death for our sins.

Now for some Christmas traditions...Do you have any Holiday traditions? Tell us about it. Leave a comment on this post and let us know what you do at Christmas time.

At my house, we normally set up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. On Christmas Eve my family used to go to my Nana's house, but she past away earlier this year so now we're singing in the Christmas choir! On Christmas morning, we open stockings while listening to Charlie Brown Christmas music. Then we open presents (each child gets three gifts because Jesus got three gifts from the Wise Men) and make brunch. We go to my Grandmother's house for Christmas dinner and more Christmas fun.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, and you get to spend lots of time with your family and people you care about. And remember the real reason for the season, Jesus.

Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gifts, gifts, gifts.

Hey everyone, how are you enjoying Christmas? I know for me I've been so busy with school I haven't had much time to enjoy the season. But as it's been slowing down, I've been catching up with being in the Christmas spirit. One of the things that really gets me into the CS is...... well CS! Christmas Shopping! I love going out in the cold and smelling the winter air and then plunging into some warm shop, surrounded by lights and the smell of nearby restaurants. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Being a guy, my taste for this is sometimes ridiculed, but I don't care. I love it. But every now and then I've encountered something that causes me concern. Gift giving can turn into peer pressure. This year a few of my friends have told me that they where getting me a present. In the past I have told those I know that I was getting them a present. In some cases it caused the opposite party to think "Oh, now I should get them a present." In others it has made him or her fell bad because they did not give a present to the one who gave a present to them. Or it can cause the reciever to fell bad because they did get a gift but not as nice as the one they recieved.While it's nice to get each other presents, we don't want it to be a contest or be about fairness. I'm not sure how to solve this problem. Not get gifts for one another? Well we could, but in some cases it can be very building up to get a present from a friend. Make sure to all get presents for everyone? Well then we'd all be broke, at least those who go to CLC. In the end the best thing we can do is, in the case of recieving a present pray and ask God to help us be gracious and turn our eyes away from ourselves and think about what we should've done, and instead turn them on others and thank God for those who gave us gifts. In the case of giving gifts, we pray that God help us to give from the heart and not be offended if someone does not get us something in return. We are not doing it for our glory, but for Gods. Wether you eat, sleep, or give presents do it ALL for the glory of God. That's the best answer I could come up with, anyone think they can improve.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Not only at Christmas Time: Reflect on the Miracle of Christmas

Teenage girl, much too young.
Unprepared for what’s to come,A baby changes everything.
Not a ring On her hand, All her dreams and all her plans...
A baby changes everything

The man she loves she’s never touched
How will she Keep his trust?
A baby changes everything
And she cries

She has to leave, go far away.
Heaven knows she can’t stay.
A baby changes everything.

She can feel it’s coming soon...
There’s no place, there’s no room.
A baby changes everything
And she cries and she cries

Shepherds all gather round
Up Above, a Star shines down

Choir of Angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king!"
A baby changes everything, every day! Hallelujah!

My whole life is turned around.
I was lost and now I’m found
A baby changes everything

~Faith Hill (A Baby Changes everything)

Hey all. Kylie here.

Think about this...Mary, the virgin girl God chose to bear his only son was probably no older than me. A lot of times we think about Christmas and a beautiful scene from a nativity set. The choir of angels singing, Jesus had a halo above his head etc...but it wasn't like that. The stable probably wasn't a nice little stable outside a Bed and Breakfast. It was most likely a cave that smelled like animals, dirty and crowded. Jesus probably looked like any ordinary baby. But imagine the story before that....

Girls in Bible times were married when they were about my age (that's fourteen!!!) and they would get married to men who were probably twice their age. God saw that Mary was a virtous girl living a wise life and chose her to bear the son of God. So he sent an angel to her to tell her what God had planned. He explained that this baby would be the Saviour of mankind. Mary humbly took the task God had given her. You must remeber at this time, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, a very good man, but she was a virgin and God knew that and created the Christ child in her womb.

That you were probably familiar with...but think about this. She was pregnant. Imagine trying to make your husband and friends to believe what God has planned, especially something as serious as being the mother of the promised seed. The punishment for impurity was to be stoned...killed even. Joseph was in much doubt of this and considered breaking off the engagement. He had a reputation to keep up! But an angel came to him in a dream and told him that what Mary had said was true and to not be afraid to take her as his wife. So Joseph, with much faith, he claimed the baby as his own, and was to take Mary as his wife.

What do you think happened during the next couple months of Mary's pregnancy? They were just one big happy family right??? WRONG. Mary and Joseph were probably the most hated people in their village. Those people still thought Mary and Joseph had commited a major sin. Mary and Joseph did not expect them to understand, and with faith went through the next few months.

Then Caesar Augustus decreed that each man should go to his family's home town to be accounted for. So Joseph and Mary(who was extremly pregnant) went on a long trip to Bethlehem. During the long and weary trip Mary started having contractions. They were nearing Bethlehem and finally got there when it was just about time to give birth. Mary was in much pain and Joseph scrambled to find a hotel room. But there was no room anywhere. Joseph was stressed out when an Innkeeper told him that Joseph and Mary were welcome to stay in his stable. A dirty cave where his animals slept. Mary was about to give birth and it is very probable that she had no midwives from the hotel to help her and that Joseph had to help with the birth.
He was probably extremly freaked out.

But the promise of God was fulfilled. The Christ child was born, and wise men from the east brought gifts and followed the beautiful star the God provided for them to see and to guide them. And angels went to shepards and told them of the Christ child, born in Bethlehem and to follow the brightest star in the heavens to find him. And they did.

Christmas isn't just a beautiful story. It's a miracle. That a baby changed everything. That baby was to grow up to be perfect in every way. And he taught about God's ways and his love, and he was killed. He died on a cross for the sins of the world.

Reflect on the Miracle of Christmas, but not just at Christmas time.

Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 8, 2008

The show must go on!

Hi all, Dave here. I wanted to share a thought and concern I have for myself and anyone else auditioning for the high school play this year at CLC. Mrs. Mays has said that due to the amount of roles that are in the play this year, it is not a given that anyone with a mediocre voice or small amount of acting talent will make it in; in contrast to previous years where they did. This being so, it is possible and probable that someone we know, perhaps very well, will get in and we won't. I am concerned cause i know this can cause hard feelings between friends. I have sadly expirienced this. I was once in a play, and the role I wanted was given to another actor. I was upset, not only at losing the part, but because (sadly) I felt I was a better choice. It was hard for me to be nice to this person for a while. I know that, without God's help, I will be subject to this type of pride when the cast list comes out for the play this year. Any prayer any of you could raise for me would be GREATLY appreciated. That's all for now! Thanks for being friends who will listen and support.
You all rock,

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh brother... and sister

Hey all, this is Allie 
I'm just here wanting to talk about siblings and how they can be a joy, and yet at the same time, a bit irritating (sometimes ;))5 siblings, one older than me, and 4 younger! I feel like the oldest though, because my older sister, Bethany is severely handicap and can't do much, keep her in your prayers :) Anyways... siblings can sometimes be annoying, or we can be annoying to our siblings. :P But really that's not how God wants us to act towards them, neither be annoying or be annoyed... God wants us to LOVE our siblings by caring for them and also caring about their souls! "We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing." 2 Thessalonian 1:3 (esv) We not only need to love our brothers and sisters and care for them, but thanking God for them too! Sometimes, it seems hard to do, but that's probably the time we need to be thankful for them the most! If you're ever upset with your siblings, I would suggest just writing down everything you're thankful for about them and why you love them :) I'm sure that you'll be able to do this :) I want to share a story from a good friend of ours here at One Way Up, Jenna C, she has a good example of how God showed her how much she really does love her sister: i used to get mad at my little sister all the time.  she would do things (that if you really stop to think are actually pretty reasonable) that angered me so much that one time i even prayed that somehow my parents would give her up for adoption. i really dont like to admit this, but at times she made me so mad that i would sit in my room afterward grinding my teeth thinking "i hate her". yes, that took a lot  for me to admit, but its true.
one night i had a dream that she was going to die. but this wasnt just a normal dream - it seemed so real, more real than any other dream ive had before. it was a dream that she was dying. but only a few hours before the doctors said she was supposed to die, i got to tell her how much i loved her. it felt like i was digging so deep into my heart. but deep down there, i found so much love for her. love that i hadnt known until the hour she was going to die.
when i woke up (it was like 4:00 in the morning) i was in a cold sweat and had tears running down my face. at that moment i prayed with all my heart that it wasnt a real dream. i was so happy i couldnt believe it the next morning! she was alive!
since then, God has taught me so much patience. but God didnt just teach me patience with my little sister; everything that made me mad beforehand the LORD has helped me to deal with it. its like i cant even get mad any more! praise the LORD!
two verses i think associate with this subject are:
1 John 2:7-11 -
Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
2 Timothy 2:24 -
And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil...
 Jenna, thanks so much for sharing this! I believe that this is a great example of finding why you love your siblings and how God helps us do this! I encourage you all to find good reasons why you love your siblings and I also encourage you to, as God helped Jenna, pray to God for help to deal with the things that bother you and pray for your siblings, and pray for God to work in them and that the'll become closer to God! And also, encourage your siblings!! See what God is doing in their life and tell them how it pleases God, even if they aren't believers you can still encouarge them and try to show how God is working through them even though they don't believe. Anyways.... Sorry this is such a long post!! Thanks for reading all the way to the end :D 
P.s. If you have any stories that you think we might be able to use on the blog don't hesitate to email us at, and we'll see if we can use it here :)
P.s.s if i'm correct, our first episode will be the christmas special! :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

God is our battery!

Yeah so this is Dave here. From the post title you probably are like, "Uh.... buddy you have some serious theology problems." Please don't think I mean any disrespect to God or think that I think of him as a battery. What I'm saying is, without God, we are like electronics without batteries. Utterly useless and lifeless. I sometimes realize that i have been trusting my own strength and not God's in hard situations. I am frustrated, because things are not going the way they should, despite all my hard work. In those times I need to remember that it is God who gives us strength. We must depend on God's strength, and give him the glory for our accomplishments. He created us after all. I remind myself of this from something that happened to me this summer. I was in a play, and I had quite a few lines to memorized. God has blessed me with a pretty good head for memorizing lines, but despite all my efforts, the dress rehearsal was terrible for me. I stuttered and stammered and was REALLY nervous. Sitting back stage before the performance, I reflected on the rehearsal. I came to realize that I had been depending on my strength and thinking I could do everything. I realized that without God, we are helpless. I prayed and asked God's forgiveness for my behavior, and asked for his help. Well, God answered me. The performance went really well. I didn't get the lines perfect, but God helped me cover my mistakes and I didn't stammer nearly as much. This is just one of the many example's of how much we need God.
just a thought,
P.S. Oh and this right here is a evidence of our need for God. If you get anything out of this post from a foolish, pridefull, 14 year old boy, it's only by God's grace.