Middle School Beatitudes versus Jesus' Beatitudes: Hopetown Highlights

Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. -Matthew 5:13, MSG

We skip over salt sometimes.  We read that verse and talk so much about light (You know…you are the light of the world kind of stuff).  But we miss the salt…and Jesus was saying something very important when he talked about salt.  Because, you see, salt itself was very important in Biblical times.  It was valuable.  People were even paid in salt, sometimes, instead of wages.  And we all know salt still has many important purposes.  It preserves.  It disinfects.  And it especially helps…

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Storms, Shipwrecks, and Planks of Remembrance: Hopetown Highlights, 5th-6th Grade Camp

“How many of you have fallen down before?  You understand, then.  We try so hard to do something right, and we still fall down.  Your parents encourage you and build you up, and you still fall flat on your face.  That’s the thing about trying to have confidence.  It just doesn’t work for very long.  The Bible says it like this:

We are just as capable of messing it up as they were.  Don’t be so naïve and self-confident.  You’re not exempt.  You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else…

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Be Like A Child, 2nd-4th Grade Camp, Hopetown Highlights

In Matthew 18, the disciples were arguing about who the best among them was.  And then Jesus looked out, pointed to a child and called him over.  The child walked up and Jesus said, “Be like a child.”

In other words, Jesus is saying, “Be like you.”  Be you.  You don’t have to be anything else.  You don’t have to be funny or cool or silly or anything different than exactly who God made you to be.  He made you different than anybody else…

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Hopetown Highlights: 9th and 10th Grade - Being Un-Dragoned

We started out our 9th-10th grade camp with a boy named Eustace.  Eustace wasn’t actually at camp with us…except that he was. Eustace was a character in the movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, that we watched the first night of camp.  And Eustace, basically, is every one of us.

Eustace started out as quite a grumpy young fellow.  Nothing quite suited him…no situation, no environment, and certainly, no one.  He grumbled his way, much like a little monster, through the beginning of the movie until a certain scene when Eustace was transformed… 

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Hopetown Highlights:  All Girls’ Camp

Let’s have our eyes open to what God may want to show us…

 “The next day John SAW Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘LOOK, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!  This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ Then John gave this testimony: I SAW the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him.  And I myself did not know…

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Hopetown Highlights: Boys' Camp

In Steven Spielberg’s beloved 1989 adventure classic Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade a character asks the hero, “Why do you seek the cup of Christ? Is it for his glory or for yours?” For the few days that encompassed all-boys camp a daring group of middle school boys sought to answer this question for themselves.

Treasure hunting became the theme of this all-boys camp, drawing initially from the boys viewing of Indiana Jones, Melissa introduced the concept not of tangible earthly wealth but of the treasures of heaven and the wealth that is placed by God within us… 

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Strengthening Your Hand in God-11th and 12th Grade Camp-Hopetown Highlight #1

(This is something you could share in a family devotional or with the kids in your life.  We’d highly suggest you watch the movie Wonder together first!)

In the movie Wonder, the mom says to Auggie, “Your face shows where you’ve been and your heart shows where you’re going.”  This week at camp, we talked about the same kind of idea…but with hands, rather than faces…

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Hopetown Highlights: Summer 2018

During the summers, Daystar has something called Hopetown. It’s really more like a week-long retreat than a camp, for the kids who are involved in Daystar. But it’s a place where those kids learn more about themselves, about relationship to others, and how deeply God delights in them. Mostly, in the midst of cooking and dancing and playing on the lake and Melissa’s amazing and experiential teaching, they find hope. This summer, on the blog and on our Instagram account @raisingboysandgirls, we’re going to be bringing a little more of Hopetown to you. We’ll give you scripture you can study and ideas you can use to connect with the kids you love, and help them connect to others and to their own growing faith with more depth and purpose. So stay tuned for Hopetown Highlights of the summer. We’re so glad to have you alongside us... ❤️⚓️❤️

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HOPETOWN HIGHLIGHTS #6: BEING A “GREATER” 7TH-8TH GRADER PART TWO

“Do you know how you mess up?  

How do you ask for forgiveness...?

Why do we ask for forgiveness, if He’s forgiven us already?

As one of the 7th-8th graders said, ‘We ask for forgiveness so we acknowledge what we’ve done wrong.’

Or, as Paul said in his letter to the Romans, ‘I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…

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Hopetown Highlights #6: Being a “Greater” 7th-8th Grader Part One

On the first night of 7-8 grade camp, we watched the movie, Greater, on the back of a barn.  It’s one we’d highly recommend watching with your 7-8 graders, or high school kids.  We wouldn’t just recommend it because it’s a movie based on a really amazing guy who happened to be a Razorback (cough, cough, Sissy’s favorite team).  We’d really recommend it because there’s so much to talk about…and so much to glean from this extraordinary man, Brandon Burlsworth, and the way he lived his life.

Brandon was a walk-on for the Razorbacks in the late 90’s.  He worked so hard to not just play, but to persevere, that he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts.  Tragically, he lost his life...

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Hopetown Highlights #5: 5th-6th Graders - Superheroes, Super-Conquerors, and Armor-Bearers

What helps you believe you’re incredible?

“Someone listening to me.”

“Someone letting me know how I’m different and special.”

“That God made us just how he wants us.”

“Getting a hug.”

“Praying.”

“Someone smiling at me.”

“Forgiveness.”

“Being thankful.”

“When someone says, ‘I love what you’ve done so far.’”

“When someone knows I’m trying as hard as I can.”

These are the answers the 5-6 graders gave to this question last week at camp.  And, let us say at the outset…these were some pretty incredible kids...

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All Girls’ Camp:  NASA, Buckets, and New Mercies

Our all girls’ high school camp of the summer started with the movie Hidden Figures on the back of a barn.  If you haven’t seen it, we’d highly recommend it.  It’s a true story about the African American women who, against a great deal of opposition, changed the NASA program forever.  One specific statement, from the movie, set our week in motion:

“Karl Zielinski: Mary, a person with an engineer's mind should be an engineer. You can't be a computer the rest of your life...

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What do King David, the Preds, Giants, and the Enneagram have in common?

And how can you use it to share truth and inspire more resilience in your kids?  Read here to find out…

This week marks our first week of camp at Hopetown.  We’ve had high school kids at camp this week.  And our hope is that what we’ve been learning might be something you could share with the teenagers you love.  Read it together.  Talk about it.  Ask questions.  And even throw stones…we’re getting ahead of ourselves...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 4 - 7th-8th Grade Camp - You are Chosen

Almost every meeting of our 7th-8th grade camp started off the same way.  Two of our interns, Kenneth and Sarah, would stand up and start running in place.  Melissa would start talking, almost as if they weren’t running in the middle of the group.  Then, one by one, someone would start to encourage them.  One of the guys or girls would shout out a sentence like, “You’re doing great!”  They would run a little faster…As our week went on, others would also get up and run alongside them, sharing in their race.

The last day of camp was our Hopetown Christmas celebration.  On that last morning...

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A Life Lesson for the Olympics and Teaching Our Kids The True Meaning of Courage - Hopetown Highlights - Session 6 - 5th-6th Grade Camp - The Olympic Spirit

The Olympic Creed is a phrase that might surprise you:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.  The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”

Not the spirit we sometimes associate with the Olympics, in this day and time.  But it is the sort of Olympic spirit that framed our 5th and 6th grade camp this summer.  And we believe that camp, and that particular spirit, is a great one to discuss...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 5 - 2nd-4th Grade Camp - Pieces of Our Hearts

Remember the Technology Tuesday last week on The Secret Life of Pets? We mentioned a guy, you may remember from the Old Testament, by the name of Joseph.  He’s the one with the brothers.  And the coat.  Actually, the jealous brothers.  He’s the one Max and Duke, from the movie could relate to.  And he’s the one our 2nd-4th grade camp teaching was based around.

Genesis 29 tells the story of Joseph.  We used the version from the Jesus Storybook Bible that ends with...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 4 - 9th-10th Grade Camp - Changing from the Inside Out

"For as he thinks within himself, he is…" Proverbs 23:7

"Our brains think in 1300 words per minute...", Melissa told us during our 9th-10th grade camp.  A majority of those thoughts are negative.  Have you noticed? What kinds of things do you say to yourself?  Are you critical of others? Are you critical of yourself? Do you say things to yourself like...

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Hopetown Highlights - Session 2 - Boys Camp - A Lesson in Being Alert

This week's Hopetown Highlight is brought to you by, Connor Brown, one of Hopetown Intern's.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ - that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” Colossians 3:1-2, MSG

Our third camp of the summer, half a week devoted solely to high school boys, began with this verse, a charge not to become absorbed with the humdrum of daily life, with the rigors of school and activities, but to focus instead on the man God intended you to be...

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