We're here to talk about the wild, ridiculous love and grace of Jesus. So come along for the ride, and take time today to laugh, love & forgive. Never regret anything that makes you smile. Don't label people & focus on the positive. And enjoy EVERY sandwich!
Christmas Party - There were 50+ youth in our 2 bedroom, 1 bath home!
For me, Throwback Thursdays don't get much better than this memory. In March of 1994, after 8 glorious years of service, it was time for Marilyn and I to leave Springfield Friends Meeting. It was was one of the hardest decisions we ever made. Before we left, the church threw us a farewell party. There were food, skits, music, laughter, tears and lots of gifts, including money and pies. The pies were given to us in the face (and on top of the head- both Marilyn and I were covered in whipped cream!) and things got a little crazy, but the kids in the youth group were not quite done yet. They wanted to sing one more song. One last song together. For the previous songs they had performed that night, Bob Spencer, our choir director, had played guitar for them. For this last song they wanted me to play - and they wanted to sing Let Me Be There. The song was an old country/pop tune that had been a hit for Olivia Newton John in the 1970's, and that we had been singing at TNT for a number of years. I never thought of it as a spiritual song- we made up special parts, sang it with great gusto and it was just fun. But as we sang it for the last time, the meaning of the words became crystal clear to me and the only thing that kept me from breaking down was the whipped cream in my eyes. Here are those lyrics:
Wherever you go, wherever you may wander in your life
Surely you know, I always want to be there
Holding your hand, and standing by to catch you when you fall
Seeing you through in everything you do
Let me be there in your morning
Let me be there in your night
Let me change whatever's wrong
and make it right (make it right)
Let me take you through that wonderland
that only two can share
All I ask you is let me be there (oh let me be there)
Watching you grow and going through the changes in your life
That's how I know, I always want to be there
Whenever you feel you need a friend to lead on, here I am
Whenever you call, you know I'll be there
Christmas Party Overflow Room!
Now, some 20 years later, that song (minus the "wonderland" line!) has become the very definition of student ministry in my mind. Being there for one another in the name of Jesus is a great privilege and a true calling- and one far too many ministries fail to see as important. In youth ministry, relationships are job #1. At SFM, we GOT that. I spent 8 years "being there" for one of the greatest groups of kids anyone has ever had the privilege to serve, and they were there for me and for each other. The love we shared remains strong to this day. God had called Marilyn and I to a new ministry, and we were faithful to that calling. But as someone once wrote, "Miles may separate as life moves along, but the bond between friends will remain ever strong." As I write this, I suddenly wish I had some whipped cream in my eyes... I love you guys. Have a blessed and happy Thursday!