Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Girls Retreat | for 9th-12th graders

Hey girls! Our retreat is this weekend and we'd love for you to come! Join us for a time of fellowship and restoration as we take a look at what it means to be a daughter of the King.

The retreat is being held at a lake house (82 Shore Road, Pascoag) we've rented for the night. Please arrive on Friday, October 5th at 7:00 pm and arrange for pick up on Saturday, October 6th by 10:00 am. 

The cost of the retreat is $20.00 and includes snacks and breakfast. Please pay Amanda, Missy, or Tara by Friday! 

Make sure to bring a sleeping bag, your pillow, and your favorite snack to share!

For more information, contact Missy Lindsey @ 829-6950, Amanda Matteson @ 439-6948, or Tara Celeste @ 714-8221.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Junior High October Activity | the Corn Maze

It's that time of year again! We're heading to the Salisbury Farm corn maze on Saturday, October 13th. We'll meet at church at 3:00 pm, head to the corn maze to get lost for a while, and then stop for dinner on the way back to church. The cost of the activity is $5 plus money for snacks or hot chocolate at the farm and food at the restaurant on the way back. The leaders for the activity are Mike and Jackie Woodward, John and Rachel Snavely, and Matt and Tara Celeste. All seventh, eighth, and ninth graders are invited. We hope you'll join us for a fun time! 

Watch your mailbox for an invitation and permission form - return it to Rachel or Tara along with $5 by September 30th!

image via

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Vertical is Back! Friday September 14th

Vertical is back
September 14th!
Wear your craziest colors
Glow sticks/Lights
Road Kill Taco Bell
Friday Sept. 14th  7-1`0pm

Monday, July 9, 2012

Woven | a new ministry for teenage girls

It's finally here! Our new ministry for high school girls debuts this week on Wednesday at 7:30 pm. We're so excited to begin this program and hope you'll come along side us and pray as we prepare to kick off the summer! 

Woven is targeted at ninth-twelfth grade girls and is part of our strategy for meeting the needs of all our students midweek. We intend to continue to lead the girls in developing a genuine and growing relationship with God. We'll guide them in studying the Word daily, cultivating a rich prayer life, and reflecting through a personal journal. It is our intention to encourage the girls to go deeper in their walk with Christ. 

Woven will begin on July 11th with a Bible study titled A Daughter's Worth. The study will continue for thirteen weeks and end on October 3rd. Each week we will study Biblical truths that deal with modern struggles – realizing self worth, dealing with emotions, handling the pressures of comparison, sharing beliefs, and following God’s direction are just some of the topics we’ll cover. 

The study will wrap up with an overnight retreat in Newport on Friday, October 5th. Together we will reflect on what we’ve learned and share our thoughts and insights. More information about the retreat will be provided in early fall. This doesn’t mean that the ministry of Woven is over! The retreat will just signal the culmination of our first study. Now please join us in prayer as we prepare for this ministry!

Note: Handouts will be provided; however, if you would like to purchase a personal copy of A Daughter's Worth, it’s available on Amazon. Click here to order.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Revolutionary Parenting Part 1

 Did you know that there are currently more than 75,000 books on parenting available on the market?  That would be 10 new books per day for the last 21 years on the topic.

I am assured that I have read my few hundred of those in the last decade. 

Well, as always, I am staying busy about my homework as a youth director this summer. One of the assignments I have challenged myself to do is to read and blog weekly about George Barna’s “Revolutionary Parenting.” I am doing this in order to better assist parents, but I am also doing this to better equip myself as a parent.  

But yet, here is another book on parenting as I mentioned in my intro.  Another book on parenting?  Why should I bother?  Is this going to be another book about the kind of personal attributes one needs to be a good parent? Or is this going to be another 320 pages of the nifty, new agey, earthy-crunchy parental practice that I need to start employing or my kids will be lost forever, or perhaps even worse, uncool?  Is this going to be another book of parenting assumptions, parenting systems and parenting-oh-that-is-how-its done stuff but re-packaged?

Barna begins with the point of view that most of the parenting books on the market are based on observation and assumptions and “very little of the content is based on objective, projectable research.” (Barna, 2007, xii)  He writes, “Most of these guides promote a particular point of view or parenting strategy, even though [the] approach has not been empirically tested or validated through some type of scientific process.” (Barna, 2007, xiii)  He writes that many of the books are in actuality the isolated leading the desperate. 

Why does that ring so true?  I know that I have heard and read some seemingly innovative sounding strategies in the last few years but I will agree that the material itself was mostly disconnected from real evidence and too often disconnected from God’s design for children and parenting as well.  Furthermore, I have certainly watched parents overjoyed with a book’s new method, telling everyone about it, but then later on admitting that it was out of touch with real world results in the home.

Do we talk a better parenting game over the savvy parenting books we read than we actually play?  I definitely think so. After just a decade of youth ministry and nearly decade of personal parenting, I know so. 

Okay, George, what have you got for us? What is this book all about?

George Barna, world-renowned researcher, set out to learn the secrets of those who've raised spiritual champions.  He conducted a series of surveys and thousands of personal interviews with both young adults and their parents.  In the process, he was able to uncover a number of common denominators to parenting success.  Revolutionary Parenting is the result. 

He writes:

“In this parenting model, God’s Word provides the perspective and the marching orders on how to raise a young person.  The goal of such child rearing is to raise children who make their faith in God and relationship with Him, their highest priority in life, and proceed to live as intentional and devoted servants of God.  The role of parents is to guide the child to understand the principles and outcomes that honor God and advance His purposes. Success in this venture is measured by transformed lives.” (Barna, 2007, xv)

If you get the chance, check it out.  Here is the contents:

Table of Contents from the book:
part one: Reasons
A Crisis in American Parenting
part two: Research
Conditions for Revolutionary Success
Revolutionary Parents Put First Things First
Revolutionary Planning for Spiritual Champions
The Rules of Revolutionary Engagement
How Revolutionary Parents Behave
A Revolutionary Faith
Training Up Spiritual Champions
part three: Relevance
The Bible's Revolutionary Parenting Rules
How Studying Revolutionary Parenting Changed Me

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Quest: OSBC Youth Summer Program

“God…Who are You…really?” 

Have you ever asked God this question? 

 Have you ever encountered God? 

These are the questions that this year’s youth summer program will go after. 

This is the quest we will go on. 

God is our Quest this summer. 

Quest will start on Thursday, July 5th and will finish on Thursday, August 16th.  Quest will take place every Thursday. 

Quest will be a very creative experience in finding, encountering and worshipping God. 

Quest will include small groups, sacred weekly readings, daily “text” messages, exploratory and creative worship/devotional times in and outside, lots of devotional art, music and it will include recreational events and Church service projects. 

To enter this community called Quest you will need: 
1. Texting Capability (or be able to provide a parent’s cell number) 
2. One Journal (more than 100 pages; not a notebook, but a journal) 
3. Have a good backpack, water bottle, Off spray, good shoes. 
4. Write one, no less than 600 words, prayer to God concerning how you want to know Him more.  Here is a structure to follow in your written prayer:
• Adore Him first in the letter 
• Confess to Him where you have been at spiritually. 
• Thank Him. 
• Supplication: Ask Him to guide you, and to reveal Himself to You more than ever this summer…don’t forget, TELL HIM WHY. Why do you want to know Him more? What are you after? 
• Get this to Michael or Missy by JUNE 17th. 

5. Await an invitation that will give you the full summer itinerary and extra info needed.

                                                                              Q  U  E  S  T

                             “Leading youth into a genuine and growing relationship with Jesus” 
                                                                          O S B C Y O U T H

Thursday, April 12, 2012

God, How Am I Made?

I really got into the reality show The Biggest Loser during the last two seasons.  It is an encouraging show about people who get a restart on life after losing the battle over food addictions, overeating and enormous weight gain.  Like many of the reality TV shows that are on TV today, the Biggest Loser carries the same underlying motif: People want to be something else, something better, something worthy. 

I think that we all have this innate drive within.  We all desire to reach goals, see how far we can go, and at the bottom line discover who we are ultimately.  

In that drive to achieve it is easy to see how different our pursuits may be.  Not everyone desires to be a world class weight lifter, or a news anchor, or a professional musician, or a poet, or a business owner, or an actress, or a technician, or a surgeon.  The list can go on and on.  The point I am making is that we are all unique in what we pursue to define us or give voice to who we are in life. 

But, the fact is there are some things that Scripture tells us that we are in God’s sight, especially when we are in Christ.  It is important to see what these things are and to take stock if we are living them out at the heart of our pursuits and desires, especially in our spiritual formation.

In this next series, I want to answer this question with our teens: God, How Am I Made? 

Now, all of our students would like to know in specific detail how and what they were created to be and do; what school should I go to, what books I should read, what state should I live in, what will I become? etc. 
However, I am going to go further than that and look at some of the essential spiritual realities in the Scriptures concerning how God has "made us."  
Number One (Week One): God, How Am I Made?
You are Clay.  

 “But now, O Lord, You are my Father.  We  
  are the clay, and You are our potter.  All of us are the
  work of Your hands.”  Isaiah 64:8

We are literally made of clay.  All of us are made of this material.  Human bodies share the same essential elements and compounds that are found in the dirt outside.

However, in week one, we will explore the deeper reality pictured here in the Scriptures. I am going to be reaching for the spiritual point in these Biblical metaphors and images.  

Spiritually, God says we are to know and understand that we are like clay in His hands. 

The point here is that God wills to shape us.  God desires to shape our very lives.

But are we pliable and willing to be shaped by God?

How should we respond to this image given to us in Scripture?  

Truly, every teen and every person alive were made to be shaped by God.  

I will be sharing two things about clay that teenagers can apply to their own spiritual development in the first message.    

(Week Two: You are Sheep. Week Three: You are Salt.)


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

OSBC Hunger Games - April 20th

Many years ago we developed a youth activity called “Socked.” This game was a "Man hunt" meets "Hide and Go Seek" meets "Capture the Flag" meets "Clue" meets "Nerf War" meets "Tag! Your it!" activity!  And this year, all of this, will meet "The Hunger Games."

This will be a 9th through 12th grade activity hosted by our Panem Capitol Leaders: Michael Woodward, John and Rachel Snavely, Jared and Amanda Matteson, and Michaela Mastroianni. 

The Reaping will take place on Friday, April 20th from 8pm to 11pm.

This game will require agility, intellectual skills, positive treason and intelligent team work. 

This activity will be packed with energy and espionage. 

"Tributes" names will also be randomly chosen from a jar during “Reaping” times throughout the night for one on one battle at special locations. All one on one battles and team battles will be filmed and posted online throughout the night to this blog and onto Facebook.

In the end, the OSBC Hunger Games will have only one champion; one victor who can proudly claim the title; one chosen one, alone.  

Will you be the One?  Will you win the OSBC Hunger Games?
May the odds be ever in your favor.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Forgive Again... and Again

"What do I do when a friend keeps hurting me and I have to keep forgiving them? I feel like I'm getting trampelled on."

Perhaps you have asked this question at some point. Most likely you have. Well, this question was asked a couple times last week, and as I thought about it more, I had to come back to it this week. Forgiveness is tough. No matter how you slice or dice it, it is not easy. To answer the question though I had to come back to Matthew 18 where Peter asks our Savior, "Lord, who many times could my brother sin against me and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Peters question sounded very familiar when I re-read it. The problem I find in both of the questions is that they both focus on a limit of forgiveness. Aren't we glad that Jesus didn't put a limit on what He did on the cross? What a sobering thought! The parable that follows Peters questions goes to explain how great a debt that humanity owed that was paid by Jesus Christ, and how silly it is for us to not forgive such small infractions against us. After teaching last week and preparing for the weeks ahead I am starting to see how big of a role forgiveness should play in all of our relationships.

After bringing the topic of forgiveness back to the surface we went through a great story found in 1 Samuel 18-20. In this story, although the word "friend" is never used, we see a very deep friendship between Jonathan and David. There is so much in these three chapters but I wanted to tell the whole story for just one reason, that being chapter 24. Before I get to chapter 24, here is the brief overview I gave of the three chapters.

Chapter 18-
  • Jonathan and Davids friendship is shown by Jonathan giving David his military tunic, sword, bow, and his belt. 
  • David is victorious in battle, so much that when he returns woman from Israel sing a song going like this "And the women answered [one another] as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."
  • King Saul grows very bitter towards David and attempts to murder him by thawing his spear. (attempt #1) Yes, you have to keep tract of the murder attempts.
  • David marries King Saul's Daughter Michal.
Chapter 19- 
  • King Saul decrees that David should be killed. (attempt #2)
  • Jonathan goes before his father King Saul on behalf of David.
  • King Saul says he will not lift his hand against David.
  • King Saul again throws his spear at David. (attempt #3)
  • David flees from his home and wife to save his life.
Chapter 20- 
  • David returns to his friend Jonathan to see if Saul is still angry and murderous. 
  • Jonathan comes up with a plan to tell David whether he needs to flee again or if it safe for David to stay. 
  • King Saul still holds bitterness in his life towards David, and Jonathan tells David the news. 
  • David leaves behind his wife, job, friends, and home to save his life. And is on the run till we see an end to the story in chapter 24. 
In the chapters following the story here, we see David on the run and many more attempts to murder him from King Saul. Chapter 24 starts out with what seems to be a break in the action. Saul has to use the bathroom and so he goes into a cave to relieve himself. The catch is that David and his men are in the back of that cave. Davids men try to convince him that this is the time that he should kill Saul, but instead David cuts a piece of Saul's robe off and goes back to the back of the cave. After Saul is done and leaves the cave, David goes out of the cave and calls out to Saul. What happens next is the answer to the question raised by our grow last week, and Peter in Matthew 28. David walks out of the cave and calls to Saul and proceeds to show him the opportunity he had to kill him yet he spared his life. David doesn't say that Saul was warranted in him actions towards him, but says that God will have the vengeance on him, Saul listens and weeps in sorrow. He tells David of how righteous he is for denying the opportunity to kill Saul. 
Now this seems like a crazy story, but it shows how intense forgiveness should be. Saul had tried to kill David many times and David had to leave everything behind so that he could live, and David has the chance to kill Saul, he says no. Whatever your friends have done against you, Im sure it has not reached this magnitude. Think about the great hatred David could have had towards Saul, but yet he forgave him and gave the whole situation to God. What an amazing story of forgiveness! After reading Matthew 28 and then this story, I was so convicted of how much i have lacked a forgiving spirit, and how much I personally need to grow in this area. There is no better way to live than how Jesus, and we see his example in Colossians 3:12.

" Therefore, as [the] elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do]."

Friday, March 9, 2012

Relationships: A Mess Worth Making

"I had such high hopes for our relationship. What went wrong? I thought I had finally found someone I could trust."

"Why does it always go here? We can't even have a discussion about the weather without it ending in an accusation."

Ever heard these, or maybe even said something like them? Relationships and trouble usually go hand in hand, but is that what God intended? Or did God intend for relationships to be a great gift that teach us and constantly refine us?

As we enter March, OSBC youth is starting a new series. The series is called Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. It is based of two books; A book by Tim Lane and Paul Trip called Relationships: A Mess Worth Making (see or buy the book here...) and the Holy Scriptures. The book gave me the ideas but the Scriptures gives the truth to back all of its claims. God is the perfect example of true relationship. He Himself is in constant community, relationship, with the Son and Spirit. Because we are made in God's image, we are made to be in relationships. But as we all know relationships are hard. They usually frustrate us and can sometimes lead us to be bitter against the people we love most. The people that bring us the most joy can most often frustrate us the most. In this series we are aiming to locate the scriptures that tell us what is to be found in our relationships.

Tonight's message (first of 4) was about the three things that should be found in any relationship.

First, Colossians 3:12-14 says " 12 Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, 13accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. 14 Above all, put on love—the perfect bond of unity. " FORGIVENESS: really easy to talk about, ten times harder to put into action. This verse is so key to us understanding what forgiveness means in our relationships. To understand the point better we looked at Jesus' parable in Matthew 18:21-35 where one man is forgiven for a 100,000 debt but refuses to forgive a debt of 10 dollars to another man. This parable is gold b Jesus to answer Peters question on how often to forgive. After Jesus answers "seventy times seven", He goes on to tell this parable. When I read the parable preparing for this series I was heavily convicted. Who are we as Christians to refuse forgiveness to others? Christ paid the ultimate price for our forgiveness. We are in turn to forgive because Christ first forgave us! If this was implamented in each and every one of our relationships, think how different our youth group, church, and world would be!

Second, we talked about unity. You might say, what does this have to do with relationships. I took the idea from the end of Colossians 3:14, "the perfect bond of unity." Who are we to unify with in relationships. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says "14 Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?" Does this mean all relationships with those who are unsaved is bad? Can we be around the world? This is a tough verse! The King James uses a word that helps us to understand this verse. It says "do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers." This yoke is a farming tool used to hold two oxen together. The idea that scripture is giving here is that believers should not be in a place where an unbeliever can begin to guide them in a direction away from what God wills and desires for us. The beauty about christian relationships is that neither person has to guide the other. Its not a two person yoke because Christ is in the center of that relationship. By pursuing Christ we will inevitably forfeit the reigns of all our relationships to His leading. That's a weight off the back, huh? We cannot do it on our own! Which leads to the last point...

Lastly, we talked about hope. The scripture I used for this is found in Galatians 2:20. "20 and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body,[a] I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." Colossians 3 and this verse have to work together. Colossians 3 seems to be filled with impossible tasks of the christians, but then Galatians 2 puts it all in context for me. Those things, like patience, kindness, and forgiveness are not possible unless we die to ourselves and Christ lives through us. Imagine if Christ had control over all our actions for a day. Would that radically change how we reacted to people? I think so! We have to realize that we cannot do this on our own. The only way our relationships are going to be Christ-Like and God-honoring is if we die to ourselves and let Christ live through us. This is the great hope we have. This hope binds christians together and allows us to keep going through the tough times. Also, in the relationships we have with those who are unsaved this hope will be something that draws them to Christ. If we die to ourselves and let Christ live through us, this hope we hold will draw them to Christ. What a great hope we have! This hope allows us to see all of our relationships in a new way! 

In the next three weeks we are going to looking at different relationships and friendships in the Bible. My goal is to see our relationships radically change, and God be glorified through it. We have a great gift in relationships, and God wants them to be holy, Christ-Like, and redemptive. 

-John Snavely