You’re invited to join us at our upcoming Colorado Coffee Night as we provide the opportunity for you to hear about our recent trip to Colorado and take part in some of the experience yourself! If you’ve followed this website during our trip, we hope you’ve enjoyed the updates and video highlights of our time there. Now we want to share it with you in person over a cup of coffee and some great dessert!
We hope you can join us - please RSVP by contacting the Grace Bible Church main office (630.832.8416), contacting Pastor Eric here, or leaving your rsvp in the comment section below.
What a week! Although we’re back home, I wanted to say THANK YOU to each of you for making this trip a powerful and memorable one for me and the other adult leaders. We have enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with you this past week, play, have some in depth conversations and discussions about our Gospel Journey Maui videos, and stay up late talking about whatever was on your mind. We loved every minute of it!
Do you have a story you want to share about the week? Maybe something funny? Maybe something you were challenged with from our discussions or Maui videos? Whatever it is, we want to hear it! Write your story or favorite memory below in the comments for all of us to read!
We as adult leaders love you and are praying for you! See you at our “Maui Recap Party” this Wed. night at Oasis!
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” -Philippians 1:3-6
A quick update to let you know we arrived safe and sound in North Platte, NE last night. We had dinner, enjoyed watching our last Gospel Journey Maui video, and had a time of reflection and response by the students to the content and message of these videos.
Time doesn’t allow me to write much right now, but God has done some incredible work in the lives of the students who have attended this trip. We as leaders are humbled and honored to be a part of this trip and a part of the lives of these students. We are anxious to tell you more details and stories once we return!
We are preparing to leave North Platte in a few minutes, and currently plan to arrive home by 11pm tonight. If this time should change for any reason, we will contact the church office by 8pm tonight and you will be notified (assuming you have your name/info on the update list for the trip).
We look forward to seeing you all when we return and share with you about all that God has done in and through our lives on this trip!
Hello from the road! Sorry about the lack of updates the last couple of days, hopefully you figured out that it was just because we were really busy, and not because something tragic happened! This post is going to condense that last few days into one entry, so you can know the highlights of what has been happening.
On Thursday, our Winter Park/Hiking groups switched it up, so that the group that went to the resort could go hiking, and vice versa. The kids had a great time, and although they have just as many fun stories as they did on Wednesday, in the interest of moving this along, i won’t take the time to tell them. You’ll just have to ask your kids when they get home!
Friday, of course was a day that everyone had been greatly anticipating: white water rafting. We left after breakfast, and made the 3.5 hour drive to Noah’s Ark Whitewater Rafting Company. When we got there, we divided up into groups of 7 or 8 per raft, and hit the Arkansas River! The section of river we were on was about a 10 mile stretch, which took about 2 hours to complete. The rating system for rafting goes from 1 to 6, with 1 being no rapids, to 6 being virtually un-raftable. (is that a word?) Our stretch consisted from class 1 to class 3 rapids. The class 3 ones were very fun to go down! Everyone had a blast learning how to raft, we even got a chance at one point to jump in the river and swim for a minute! We were exhausted by the end of the day, but it was completely worth it. The experience was amazing, and everyone had a great time.
Of course in the midst of all of these adventures, we have been continuing to watch the Gospel Journey Maui series, and continue our own discussions based on the episodes. Our session on Thursday morning asked the question:
“Why do bad things happen?”
This is obviously a question that everyone of every faith background must wrestle with at one point or another. Some of the cast members seemed to really struggle with the issue of how a merciful God that loves unconditionally could allow so much pain and suffering in the world. To begin to answer this question, we focused on the passage Isaiah 53:1-12 during our journal and small group time. This passage paints a picture of the suffering and pain Christ went through on our behalf, and how it was ultimately for a greater purpose; our salvation.
As if that question wasn’t difficult enough, the next episode was entitled:
“What happens after we die?”
In the video, for perhaps the first time we saw people getting upset, and even angry, because of how sensitive of an issue this is. We determined earlier that not all of these religions can be right, and that meant that because of their different views, none of them felt that they were all on the correct path to Heaven. Greg read a passage from Revelation 20:1-15; 21:1-4. This passage gives an account of Judgment Day according to the Bible. After this episode, rather than going straight to our groups, we had the privilege of hearing Zane speak to us about this episode, and what was on his heart. He shared some stories from his personal life and experience, and ended the night by challenging our students. His challenge first of all to the students who may not know Jesus as their personal Savior was to put their faith in Him. Many of our students have taken that step of faith. His challenge to them was to share their faith with unsaved friends and family. He quoted a statement made by an adamant atheist. To paraphrase, “if you are a Christian, and do believe in God, how much would you have to hate someone not to tell them about the love of Jesus?” According to our belief in the Bible, Heaven and Hell are very real places, and we all go to one or the other when we die. Zane challenged everyone to think of one person that God put on their heart, who they should share their faith with. We had a time for praying for these people which continued into small groups as well. It was cool to see the students becoming convicted, and eager to share what they believe.
So that brings us to today. Our session this morning dealt with the question:
“Who is Jesus?”
This is the most important question so far, because it is the one that separates Christianity from all other religions. As Zane said earlier, either Jesus was a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. There is no way he could just be a “good teacher” because a good and faithful teacher would not claim to be God if he was not. In the episode, Greg gave each cast member a Bible, and told them to read specific chapters of the Gospel of John (chapters 1-5, 8-10, 18-20), and formulate their own answer to the question, “who is Jesus”. Our students got the same opportunity in their journal time today.
Thank you for tracking with us throughout this experience, we have had so much fun, and have been learning so much! We can’t wait to see you all tomorrow night!
Enjoy our last video recap from our 2nd day of Winter Park/Rocky Mountain National Park! (time has prevented us from posting another video recap of our rafting and other activities we’ve done!)
Yesterday was one greatly anticipated by students and leaders alike. At breakfast the students were divided into 2 groups, the first group would be going to Winter Park Resort , a ski lodge not far from Timberline. The second group would be hitting the trails of Rocky Mountain National Park for a 7 mile round trip hike. Last night at our evening meeting, we had a time of sharing what each group experienced. We had a lot of laughs as details about the adventures each group faced were revealed.
We’ll start with the Winter Park group. After hearing the details of their day, it seems obvious that there is no shortage of things to do there! The group spent about 6 hours playing mini golf, looking through the shops, hitting up the Starbucks (to the delight of Larissa & others who have been experiencing caffeine withdrawals since being here), riding the “cage spinner” (nobody actually knows what it’s called), and most popularly, the alpine slides. The alpine slides are slides that go down the mountain and are reached by chair lift. They are ridden one at a time, in little carts, kind of like a luge (if you watched the video above you were able to experience a bit of what it’s like to ride one).
The most notable experience we heard about last night deals with Blake and his adventure on the alpine slide. Apparently, Blake was going to try to catch up with Josh on the slide, since you can only go one at a time. You can control the speed of your cart by pulling on, or releasing the brake bar. Meanwhile, a 78 year old lady who was going after Blake told him that she was going to try to catch up with him. No one can quite figure out why this detail was important, but it’s fun to reference it anyway. Basically, Blake did not utilize his brake bar at all, and was going full speed, around turns and everything. At one point, he went over a dip, but instead of staying on the track, he flew up and caught some serious air before landing back on the track, doing a full 360 degrees, and scraping his arm up pretty good. Luckily, he was able to pull himself up, and continue down the mountain, with no serious damage done. It is also worthwhile to note that the 78 year old lady did not catch him, so his male pride is still intact. Many other adventures happened of course, with Jackie and Kyle hiking down the whole mountain because of her fear of heights, and Kyle and Josh struggling big time at the 17th hole of mini golf!
Meanwhile, the hiking group split up into 2 different groups, to go on 2 different trails. One group took the scenic trails to Cascade Falls, while the other group who had a taste for a little more challenge took the slightly more intense trail to Adam’s Falls. Both groups set off with packed lunches, sunscreen, bugspray, and 2 nalgene water bottles for the 7 mile hike. Each team came back with many adventures and stories from their hike. The Adam’s Fall’s group got the opportunity to go swimming in the lake when they reached their destination. They had some laughs when Mike dared Tori to splash him again, and when she did, he pushed her into the freezing cold lake. Some people told others who were just coming up to the lake how warm it was, when it was in fact about 40 degrees! Connor seemed for fall for this trick, and got quite a surprise when he actually got in! As for the Cascade Falls group, the highlight of their trip was definitely the wildlife that they encountered on the trip. Right off the trail in the woods on the way down a moose was spotted. Everyone was very quiet so as not to startle it and make it charge, so when others who were further behind came up to the spot, we signaled that a moose was there by putting our hands up by our heads like antlers! This was pretty funny looking, but everyone got the hint and remained quiet, and no one got mauled by the moose!
Another highlight for both the hiking groups was the chance to journal by the falls, in the midst of God’s beautiful creation. This proved to be a very inspiring setting to write about what God has been teaching us through all these experiences.
Of course we also had our times of viewing the Gospel Journey Maui videos, and small group time as well. The questions of the day were very thought provoking, and starting to build on what has already been talked about, and delving deeper. The first question discussed in the video was:
“Why are there so many religions, and can they all be right?”
The cast members in the video had a great discussion about this, talking about how your parent’s beliefs influence your own, and how you come to make your religion your own. Many, such as the New Ager, Rachel, seemed to believe that you learn belief’s from your parents, and environment, but as you get older, you form your own standards for truth based on your experiences. Some however, like Jasser, the devout Muslim felt that there had to be a more objective standard for truth. Zane brought up the point that if saying all religions are right actually discredits each individual religion, because they all claim to be the way to God. This set up Greg to bring in the biblical standpoint. Romans 1:18-23 shows the sinful nature of the world, that we know God through how he reveals himself in all creation, and yet we deny him, and to deny him is to deny the truth. This led to great discussions in our group, and also was a great transition to the topic of the next video which was:
“Is it Religion, or Relationship?”
It was really neat to watch the cast articulate the difference between the two, because you could tell many of them had never considered the difference before. At one point in the discussion, Zane pointed out that the world “religion”, in it’s original Latin form means literally “to bind back”. In other words, it’s man’s attempt to bind himself back to God through the practice of religious rituals. Greg in turn shared a passage from the Gospel of Matthew, which adresses the issue of how man could get to God based on God’s standards. In Matthew 5:21-28, 40-48, it very clearly demonstrates that man coming to God on his own terms is impossible, because God’s standard is perfection. The discussion between the cast that followed overflowed into our small groups, where we really began to articulate the difference between works and faith. If we have faith, and believe in God, than can we just toss all “deeds” into the wind, and live however we want? Can our works truly get us to Heaven? What does having a relationship with God truly look like, and how will that relationship spill over into how we choose to live our lives? These are the questions that we have only just begun to answer, and we look forward to seeing how the students will continue to wrestle with, and answer these questions through the remainder of the week.
Our first full day at Timberline Lodge is behind us, and what a day it was! Students and leaders took full advantage of the Lodge’s wide range of activities during our free times. Everything from Volleyball, to a climbing wall, to the tightrope (which i’m pretty sure only Caleb has manage to cross successfully), to ping pong, foosball, and pool. The Hot Tub has not gotten any use out of us yet, although i’m sure that will not last long. All the meals we have eaten here have been delicious, and yesterday’s lunch was no exception. Everyone raved about the pizza bread, and boy did we eat a lot of it! Everyone has been feeling the effects of the altitude to a certain degree, and for some it is slowing their appetite a bit, but with a little prodding from the leaders, everyone is getting plenty of food and water, and so far staying healthy.
In addition to the many things we found to do, we also had a variety of activities planned for us by the Timberline staff. In the morning, we split up into our small groups to participate in a treasure hunt. Each group was given a map of the grounds, and a clue to start. The clues lead us to places such as the basketball court, frisbee golf course, prayer hut, and more. After an intense battle, victory went to the green team (Mike, Jack, Hannah, Linnea, Meghan, and Kaitlyn). The staff also lead us in a series of team building activities, which tested our trust in each other, and our ability to communicate effectively. These principles came in handy for the final game to round out our night before bed: Mission Impossible. A group night game favorite, we went late into the night, traversing the woods, hills, and creeks around the Lodge in search of one of two shining “beacons”, without being discovered by one of the adult leaders. A good night was had by all.
We also got an unexpected visitor at lunch time yesterday that stirred up quite a bit of excitement in the group. A very high pitched scream announced his arrival when he was introduced (cough cough, Kera). Zane Black had just come back from a trip, and showed up to hang out with us and hear how our trip has been so far.
For those who don’t know, Zane was a cast member in both the first Gospel Journey, and the Gospel Journey Maui that we are currently watching. He is currently one of the staff members here at the Timberline Lodge, and works alongside Greg Stier with Dare2Share. This was very exciting for the kids, since Zane has becoming something of a celebrity in the group after watching these videos! It was really cool to be able to interact with him through conversations. He even joined in our volleyball game!
Of course in this jam packed day we also had our times of meeting, watching the video’s, and small groups. Both in the morning and evening sessions, we watched the next 2 episodes of the Gospel Journey Maui series. The question of the day was:
“What is your purpose in life?”
We watched the first video where Greg asked the question, “What would you do if you had 50 million dollars?” After hearing their answers, which were all very different, he gave a biblical reference that corresponded to the question. He talked about Solomon, who was the wisest, richest, man of his time. He read from Ecclesiastes 2, which shows how Solomon used all of his money, and all of his status, and all of his fame to gain every desire of his heart, every enviable thing that money could buy him, and how in the end, he discovered that all of these things were meaningless. They did not give him a fulfillment or purpose in life. Near the end of the video, the cast members were given journals, just like the ones we received on the first day, and were asked to reflect on their purpose in life, and compose an answer to the question. Our students had the same opportunity after watching the video to pose their own answers to this question.
After hearing all the answers from the cast in the video about their percieved purposes in life, Greg shared with them the conclusion to Solomon’s story. In Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Solomon reflects back on his fast paced life in which he denied himself nothing, and discovered that it was in fact meaningless. He realized that the purpose in life rested completely with knowing God, having a personal relationship with him, and choosing to serve him with his life. When the students read from their journals in their small groups, many came to the same, or similar conclusions regarding their purpose. Many in fact, echoed Zane’s answer in the video which was, “to know Him, and to make Him known”.
This is just the beginning of our week here, and through the upcoming video’s, questions, conversations, and experiences, we will strive to dig deeper into these issues, and to truly begin to discover not only for what purpose we were put here, but for who we were put here.
Enjoy the video recap of our day yesterday. We look forward to another fun day of adventure and excitement!
This entry comes to you from the beautiful mountains of Fraser/Winter Park, Colorado. We arrived yesterday afternoon around 6pm (MST) after 2 great days of traveling and conversation in the vans. All the students did great traveling, but when we arrived in Colorado we became so enthralled with the mountain views, we missed our turn to Timberline Lodge. Accidental or intentional, we’ll let you decide. We just enjoyed the extra time soaking in the magnificent beauty that surrounds us here in the mountains.
We arrived in North Platte, NE and spent the night at Harvest Christian Fellowship church. Pastor Jeremy was gracious enough to let us sleep in one of their church buildings, complete with a gymnasium and shower/locker room facilities to clean up. We had a beautiful evening to enjoy ourselves, including having front row seats where we enjoyed heat lightening in the sky, many of us for the first time. Everything was going perfectly. Too perfectly… Our first (hopefully last) emergency struck about 9:30 pm that night. A fun and rowdy game of Countries was underway, when a competitive and dedicated player by the name of Mike Shank sacrificed his well being for the good of his team. Mike collided with another student from the gym, and the force of the impact caused him to bite almost all the way through his top lip. Eric and Jackie took him to the emergency room, and he now has a battle wound of 4 stitches, and bragging rights. You can watch the details of his journey on the video at the end of this entry. All emergency room visits aside, the first night was a success, with students engaged in conversation, organizing games of cards, knockout, and made up games with tennis rackets, ping pon, and anything else available to us in the gym!
We arrived at Timberline Lodge right before dinner last night, and were in awe of how beautiful it is up here. We jumped right in to our first group meeting after dinner, and started off by giving each student another gift. Each student was given a journal that is to be theirs for the week. They are encouraged to carry it around with them, to write in it any time they feel inspired or challenged about something that was said, something they saw, or just a fun memory they want to remember from the trip. Whether it’s about a conversation with a leader or another student, something brought up in the Gospel Journey Maui video, or even just a sketch of the mountain view. The first question they were asked to think about was, “why are you here?” “what do you hope to get out of this week, what are you excited about, fearful of, etc.?”
After taking some time to individually reflect on these questions, we reconvened to watch the first episode in the Gospel Journey Maui series entitled, “Is there a Higher Power?” It seems to be unanimous that everyone enjoyed the first episode, and were challenged to think about the question raised:
“Is there a Higher Power, and if so, what does the existence of He/She/It mean for us? Can we get to know God personally?”
What a perfect setting to ponder this question! As the students looked out over the mountains, valley’s, and skies filled with clouds, they thought about how all this beauty came to be. Was it simply an accident? Was it always here? Or did something bigger, stronger, and greater than us all create it? And were we created by this same being as well? These questions spilled over into our first small groups of the trip, where the students shared their insight. One biblical passage that was brought up in regards to this question was Colossians 1:15-20. If this passage is the truth, as the Bible claims, what does that mean for us? What does it mean for us in relation to God?
We will continue our journey today with the episode, “What is the purpose of life?” We are excited to see all the different insights that will be brought to this question, and how the conversation from it will flow. We hope that you will continue to keep posted on what we are learning, discussing, and being challenged with. As you can probably tell, it is going to be a wild, wild, week!
Thanks for your prayers, support, and encouragement that has helped us get here! Let the adventures begin!
Thanks to all of you for bringing out your luggage and sleeping gear tonight! Our trailers are packed and ready to go for the morning! Having all your gear out here tonight makes it much easier and smoother to get going in the morning.
A few reminders before you go to bed tonight:
Make sure you pack a bag lunch for the road tomorrow. We will be stopping at a roadside rest/park area and not have access to restaurants! Don’t go hungry! We will provide dinner for the team that evening.
Bring your Nalgene/water bottles and pack them in your backpack/day pack you can bring on the van with you. You will need these water bottles for lunch and dinner! (fill them up before you come too!)
Pack your backpack/day pack with anything else you may need during the trip in the vans - your Bible, books, card games, etc.
Arrive at church no later than5:30am. We’ll have a little breakfast for you, review some trip details with you and your parents, load any last minute things, and head out.
See you bright and early tomorrow morning! Colorado…here we come!
Dr. D-Mac makes another house call. Here’s another PSA Announcement for our upcoming trip to Colorado from our resident medical expert.
Keep in mind as you prepare to leave, there will be significant swings in the temperature in the mountains of Colorado between the day and evening. For current and projected weather conditions and temperatures in Fraser, check out the side bar to the left or click here for an extended forecast.
“Be wise, don’t compromise your trip by not packing warm gear!” - Dr. D-Mac
A short little PSA Announcement from Dr. D-Mac, our in house resident doctor, with information you need to know as you prepare for your trip to Colorado.
Just a reminder: don’t forget to pack 2 Nalgene/water bottles for the trip in your daypack/backpack. You’ll need both of these while we travel and especially when we have our hike! Check the packing list for everything else you need to pack for the trip!