Tag: awesome

Revolution: An Amazing UMC Youth Group Retreat – Our Group’s Report

Amazing-Revolution

Revolution 2013 Youth
Growing with God this Weekend in Columbia, SC
14 of the Surf and ACDC Youth set out on an adventure to Columbia to the USC Coliseum for a Revolution.  We joined thousands of youth from Methodist Youth Groups from around the state there for an amazing time of worship, challenging talks, and amazing arts meant to inspire and grow our faith.
We knew it would be a great weekend when the entire stage erupted with a Youth Group version of the Harlem Shake, with youth ministers and youth from all over running up and dancing for about 30 seconds.  This was definitely going to be an energy packed weekend.  Watch the video – its a bit crazy ;D
Harlem Shake at Revolution SCUMC
Harlem Shake at Revolution SCUMC

Then the big worship started.  The Digital Age began us in songs of hope, worship, and love of God with a sonic envelope of amazingness.  All our young people ran up front and they can be seen in many of the conference pictures taken from the stage worshipping, laughing, enjoying the entire experience.

From Hip-Hop (SPF on!) to worship through dance, amazing choir singing from Claflin, and a country performance by a local young person – we were inspired and wrapped in the love of a God who gives us talents and abilities to lead and point everyone back to His amazing presence.
All weekend long our speaker Mark Oestricher challenged us in our faith to “Build and Reconstruct” ourselves looking to Christ as our center.  He talked about the Stupid things we do, and how sin can effect our lives and hurt those we care about.  We learned how we are all misfits who are in desperate need of being rescued by God.  He pushed us to think about living a life of holiness, centered on Him alone.  He talked about being like a baby eagle who makes a journey from the nest and has a mother eagle who teaches us how to fly making sure that we don’t hit the ground when we are dropped and learning how to fly.  He challenged us to take risks in faith and to live it in an action packed way.  The main scripture verse John 10:10 wrapped it all up, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  I could see the eyes light up, and faith grew this weekend.
 In the midst of the conference we grew closer to each other, as we got to know each other better in the hotel, chilled and ate meals together, served together picking out good potatoes from the nasty ones for a local food back (40,000 lbs of potatoes were sorted and bagged for local families).
God has done an amazing thing in this group, and it is my prayer as a youth minister, that their inspiration will translate to transformed lives in the people around them, and they would feel a boldness to spread the light, the goodness of Jesus Christ to anyone who will listen.  Just ask one of our participating young people, and you will find the seeds of a faith that is alive and ready to reach others in love.
-Daniel Griswold, Director of Youth
Saint Andrew By-The-Sea UMC
 For more information about Revolution check out the website: 

Pass It On: What Google Glasses Will Be Like to Wear – Point Of View

I love new technology and I’ve been watching what Google’s new glasses are going to be capable of.  There are a lot of upsides to being able to access information without your hands.  Watch this video and I’ll give you a few of my thoughts below, good and bad:

Wow – pretty cool.  The upside seems to be that you’ll be able to record things without having to pull out a camera.  That’ll be really handy when you’re doing something dangerous or skilled. I picture “How To” videos becoming very easy to make.  Also, it seems that people having fun can continue to have fun.

The downsides?  I see a lot of people trying to stand still to take videos, talking incessantly into the thing when they don’t understand how to make prompts work, and awkward moments with people just staring forward like a robot watching video that you can’t see.  Kind of freaky.

What are your thoughts?  Comment below!

Gabby Douglas – Olympic Inspiration and Glory Goes to God

Olympic glory goes to athletes … and to God

(picture source)

 By DANIEL GRISWOLD
danielgriswold@gmail.com
Published Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Weren’t the female gymnasts amazing? These teen sensations captivated the whole country during the Olympics.I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really interested in the actual sport of gymnastics. I would not have watched much of it at all, in fact, except my wife was fascinated and as she nudged me I began to appreciate the amazing detail and hard work that goes into making these two- to three-minute routines so perfect. And when they weren’t so perfect? I appreciated even more how intensely these young women trained and how specialized the sport really is.One of the five, Gabby Douglas, really made an impression as she flew higher, moved faster and wowed the audiences in London, winning multiple gold medals. I took a moment to look up her profile and found out that she has been training to be a gymnast since age 6. She persuaded her mother to enroll her in a program and by age 8 she was winning competitions in the Virginia area. If her pure athleticism doesn’t already impress us, then her commitment and passion should grab at our hearts and challenge us all.

It would be difficult to separate her faith from that passion and, like many athletes who have accomplished great feats, Gabby took a moment to thank God: “It is everything I thought it would be; being the Olympic champion, it definitely is an amazing feeling. And I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him, and the blessings fall down on me.”

I let that soak in a bit, thinking of the context. This young lady, who has dedicated her life to a singular driving passion and profession; who has just shown audiences that her talents are the best in the world; who has pushed through the pain of practice after practice, pushed past any humiliations or failures; and who is now about to mount a podium, does not think to herself, “This was all me.”

Instead she points to her faith in a glorious God.

My small way of relating to the Olympic athletes is through my love-hate relationship with running. The more I run, the better I feel, but simultaneously, the more I run the more I ache — temporarily. And when I get good at running I go out more and I run harder and longer over time. Then, in times of busyness, I fall into a state of disrepair, and my wife eventually informs me that I need to exercise. I do not want to, but I am prodded by a higher power (in this case the love of my life) to do better and keep moving. She gets me out with her, and we begin anew a process of growth, pain and betterment.

Now I imagine myself in Gabby’s place, though this is merely conjecture: I’ve achieved a level of excellence so far above what normal athleticism requires that there are only a handful of people in the world who are capable of matching what I am capable of doing. In that sphere, we are in competition every time we see each other, and while we want to cheer each other on, we are always jockeying for our place in the hierarchy.

From where do I receive true affirmation? Where can I find and unconditional love? Who can understand the separation (or holiness) that reaching this platform achieves? Who is even greater than myself? Who looks at me and sees who I truly am? Who created me and gave me the ability to grow so greatly?

Gabby let us all know that she has been blessed and that truly, in all good things, God is there and shines in glory.

Columnist Daniel Griswold is the director of youth at St. Andrew By-the-Sea United Methodist Church.
Follow him at twitter.com/dannonhill. Read his blog at http://www.danielgriswold.wordpress.com. 
Read more here: http://www.islandpacket.com/2012/08/14/2174036/olympic-glory-goes-to-athletes.html#storylink=cpy

Pass It On: 3D Rendering of the Recent Eclipse, with Capture of The Milky Way

First off, this photo is a combination of a few things.  The recent Eclipse, a 3D rendering (rather than a photo) of the earth, and a clip of the Milky Way.  Regardless, it is a beautiful tribute to the recent eclipse that caught so many people’s attention.  Check out this Gizmodo post for some more pretty amazing pictures that happened because of the recent phenomenon.

Pass It On: Skyrim Theme Music Redone by Voice Artist and Violinist

Those who have talked to me in the last six months probably know that I enjoy the game Skyrim for Playstation 3.  I’ve recently stopped playing as much mainly because I have lots to do at work, at home and with other hobbies like writing, but I thought that this was worth passing along to everyone.  Subscribe to these folks if you like Skyrim, or music, or art:

Pass It On: Copehagen Philharmonic Flashmob – brilliant

I remember going on a field trip to Concord, NH to see the Orchestra.  My eyes were not immediately opened to the beauty (I was in Middle School), but once I heard the Star Wars theme song, my heart opened up, and I felt a whole new world opening up.  Sometimes there are barriers that even beauty has to build bridges to cross.  A friend of mine just posted this brilliant Copenhagen Flash Mob, and I am transported to my seat, and my eyes are opened once again.  I simply love this, and perhaps it will awaken you as well:

Culture Stuff: My Thoughts on The Avengers Movie

To begin, I will say that if you are excited about The Avengers movie, have seen all the previous Marvel Superhero movies, and are wondering if it lives up to all the hype and whether you should see it or not – It does, go see it.  But why does it have appeal?  And why does it seem to have something that everyone can enjoy?

First, there is a collection of such a diverse amount of strong characters, that it would be hard not to relate to one of the heroes/heroines.  From the Black Widow to The Incredible Hulk, from Nick Fury to Captain America, there is a plethora of different types of characters each with different strengths and flaws all interacting on screen, teaming or not teaming up, in ways that sometimes produce awe inducing moments, and sometimes, you have to laugh and say “Oh, Hulk…you’re so…you.”

Second, the enemy epitomizes what we do not like about ourselves, and so there is a universal appeal towards defeating him.  The enemy, Loki, sees himself as “entitled” as a God.  He lords himself, and merely wants to be seen as the Great Ruler who “frees” people from their own “freedom”.  It is a terribly flawed statement, which shows how little he has thought it through.  What he really means is: I think I am better than everyone else, so kneel to me.  There is a great moment when an old man (possibly a Holocaust survivor), stands up while everyone else kneels to Loki, rejecting his “godhood”.  The Avengers movie is a case study in tearing down the wanton destruction a callous dictator can create in civil society.  I think that we don’t like the entitled part of ourselves, so we gain a bit of spiritual discipline when we set our hearts against the antagonist in this film.

Third, the last 30 minutes are explosive, but the setup is brilliantly maneuvered.  The film spends a good amount of time setting up the final battle royale.  There is something for everyone in this film (relationships, anger, self reflection, cool gadgets and toys, philosophy, etc.), and the characters spend a good amount of time realizing how they will not get played by the enemy, who has a plan, and how to defeat a seemingly invincible opponent at his own game.  I can’t give out too much away without this being a spoiler, but I will say that Captain America’s character impressed me even more, as he did a bit of theology (whether you agree with him or not), when he said, “There is only one God, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that,” concerning the enemy.  I love it.  There is another even more humorous moment that I’ll let you experience on your own.  In the midst of the explosive energy, the conversations keep the film grounded and help us think through how we would act under stress.  It is a good study in what we feel we need, especially as all people across the globe face bigger challenges because the future continues to come.

All in all – this film had me engaged throughout.  It was the first film that I feel that 3D actually worked well (possibly because it blended so well, I only noticed it a few times, and when I did I realized how much it added to the High Def, rather than being a gimmick).  Kudos to the Costume Designers, who did not make the film feel like a cartoon, and to those who did endless calculations and renderings to make the computer graphics seem like reality.  The seamlessness of the film, with only a few slow moments, make this movie one of my all time favorites, at least in the genre of Semi-Philosophical Action Movie.  Well played.  Well played.

UMC Youth Rock at Revolution Retreat in Columbia, SC

Friday though Saturday March 16 – 18th, thousands of young people from across South Carolina came together at the Colonial Coliseum.  To describe it in a few words: “It was BIG.”  We worshipped with the Spark band, danced to hip hop with Humble T.I.P. (To Increase Praise), rocked with DecembeRadio, and were challenged to the core by Jennifer Dake concerning our discipleship and understanding our relationship with Jesus Christ.

We were created perfect, we became imperfect, we need to be perfect, Christ was perfect, Christ died to make us perfect, and we can have faith in an amazing God of grace.  The challenge to discipleship, to put away sin and walk forward with Christ was amazing.

Here is a bit of the worship from The Spark:

We also had an opportunity in mission to pack bags full of protein, vegetables and rice to send to East Timor, where some of the most impoverished conditions on the planet exist.  We put on hair nets and weighed 8,000 packets that were ready to ship out in the weeks from the Stop Hunger Now warehouse in North Carolina.  And we also learned the game Ninja while we chilled ;D

It was truly an amazing event packed with the funniest (and most fun) Intermission Dance (see below).  We had fun in Columbia getting to know each other at the hotel, while walking and driving around Columbia, and while seeing youth from last year’s Salkehatchie trip, and went deeper in devotions each evening.  God did some amazing works in us, and we can pray that our hearts remain passionate and on fire.  God is good.   

Here is what one of the youth wrote on Facebook: 

“Wow. Revolution was so amazing, The Spark was there, Demberadio, Humble T.I.P. and mrs. Jennifer. It was so amazing to see a HUGE group of teenagers get together and just praise God. Not even thinking about what the person beside them thought of them. There were tears of pure salvation and SO MANY hearts were opened to God and to letting him consume our bodies. Im never.ever. Going to forget this weekend. Even though I was sick and had NO voice, it’d come and go, it was a blast.”

Thank you Amanda and Tina for being amazing leaders, and thank you to our youth who went and soaked in God’s goodness all weekend long.  You made the retreat fun for everyone.

Pass It On: When Asked Why Jesus Saw Only One Set of Footprints in the Sand, Jesus replied: The Sand People Walk Single File In Order to Hide Their Numbers

Sometimes something just hits me the right way.  I’ve been reading the “Footprints in the Sand” picture of Jesus carrying us on his shoulders all my life – I’ve also been a big Star Wars fan.  I believe that if Jesus came back to live with us here today he might have some fun with this one.  Love it:

This was found on Facebook.