A Message from Pastor Mommy:
I hope you all got some sleep last night and are relaxing some today. You just got done with an amazing weekend, and as you adjust to being back to your own routine, I hope that you remember that we're called to shine God's light in the world. That starts by investing in that relationship with God, trusting him, and strengthening your faith. Then you're able to more easily love others. I hope that you, too, remember this love. Nothing you do will ever separate you from God's love and God's grace. You are loved and you are cherished - always. Find your small church and know that you're welcome to come back to this community to share God's love with the next candidates.
By Jake Tobolewski
I am so grateful to have been part of this past Footsteps weekend, I hope that you had a meaningful experience. Today is the 4th day. I suspect today you are going through a wide range of emotions today, sad that Footsteps is over, joyful that you got to meet people you became incredibly close with over the short span of three days, and no doubt you are tired.
The fourth day comes with responsibility, responsibility that you do not forget and pass off what the weekend has meant to you. A responsibility to be a light in the life of the people around you. As it was said in the Music Box, it wasn’t meant to be kept with yourself. Share your joy!
I encourage you to spend time reflecting on the things you experienced over the weekend and the talks that you heard. Reflect on Joe’s Jesus Christ talk and read the gospels for yourself to determine what the bible says about Jesus, not what society may say about him. Remember Jasmine’s Forgiveness talk and remember that there is NOTHING you can ever do to make God not love you. Find courage to ask for forgiveness from those you have wronged, ask God for forgiveness from your sins, and allow yourself to let go of the pain from the wrongs done to you. Continue your path towards God enhancing your faith and spirituality as Karina and Angie spoke about. Reflect on the other talks and the experiences you had during Holy Night.
Remember the importance of finding a church that feeds you spiritually, and keep looking until you find one. Find your self a small group, a small church, that pushes you to be better, supports you, and holds you accountable. If you don’t have one, talk to the others, support each other, love one another.
Faith can not happen only once every three months at Footsteps, it needs to happen continuously, and that is the importance of being deliberately pious. That doesn’t mean you won’t have spiritual ups and downs (you will), but it means that you can’t undo what you felt this weekend.
Know that more than anything else you are Loved and Cherished children of God.
By Jake Tobolewski
Footsteps 77 was a simply amazing experience for me personally, and if you were there, I hope that you had a meaningful experience as well. I hope that this finds you well on the 4th day. Footsteps is a 4th day community in the sense that we have an experience together as community of believers, but then we have to acclimate ourselves, our new selves, into the world on the 4th day and every day that follows.
The challenges of this acclimation process are profound. Our friends, families, and classmates did not have the same experience over the weekend, so explaining the change in ourselves may be difficult. However, if Footsteps was meaningful for you, I encourage you to explain what has happened. Much like the Music Box, our joy was not meant to be kept within, it was meant to be shared. So talk about your experience where you may be at in your journey with those close to you.
I encourage you to also spend to time reflecting and in prayer this week. I find writing helps me process my emotions better. There are a lot of things that were talked about over the weekend that do not have right or wrong answers. It is not about being right anyway, it is about living your life and making choices that bring you closer to God. Some of those choices are not the choices that our friends or family would make, so that makes doing the right thing difficult.
I encourage you to stay connected, to support one another. Going to Footsteps every four months is not enough, you must continue to grow between weekends. Find yourself a Small Church, that encourages you and causes you to grow. If you need one, ask your fellow footsteppers or reach out to me. And remember the importance of reaching out to “the other”. Being a friend to those who are different, those who are lonely, and those who are in need.
More than anything else please remember that you are so very Loved and Cherished. I love you all and can’t wait to see you again.
Jake (The real one)
P.S. GET YOU APPLICATIONS IN FOR SUMMER AS SOON AS YOU CAN!!! This program is growing and we need team members. Also, it is never too early for candidate applications!
As each FootSteps weekend approaches, my mind cries out, “Oh, no! Not another FootSteps weekend! It’s so hard! A weekend away from the family, a weekend of minimal sleep, a weekend of teens asking difficult questions.” Then, as I pull into the church parking lot and see all of the cars and walk into the building and hear the raucous laughter and then… “Charrrrrrrlieeeeee,” I smile and think, “Okay, Satan, you lose again!”
Bottom line: it’s hard! It’s hard to do ministry. It’s hard to proclaim Christ. It’s hard to remember the names of over fifty teenagers. It’s hard to put your love for Christ into words that non-believers can begin to understand.
For our teens, it’s hard to commit a whole weekend, get off of work, miss sports practices, not text for 48 hours, expose your commitment to Christ (or lack thereof), and talk to total strangers from schools from all over the region.
I believe it is supposed to be hard. All relationships are hard. And that’s what we talk about at FootSteps: a relationship with God. There is anguish, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; arguments, compromise, compassion, forgiveness; and, most of all love.
But that’s what makes the relationship valuable.
It’s really, really worth it! God wants us to hold up our end of this relationship. He is already on board! He is loving us and blessing us. He is waiting for us to respond.
On our weekends, we offer suggestions for this response. We look at the Word of God in the Bible. We discuss what His Word means in our lives. We sing and worship…a lot! The candidates have the opportunity to talk with other teens about the role God has in their lives. We try very hard to demonstrate God’s love through the actions of the teen team.
James 2:26 tells us that “…faith without action is dead.” FootSteps is all about action! We challenge the candidates to live out their faith lives with action. To become involved with their church and youth groups. To make decisions with God in mind. To worship authentically. To live life with purpose!
FootSteps can be many things to many people. For some, the weekend becomes an opportunity to renew a faith that has been dormant. For some, it gives a chance to share a vibrant faith with others. And for others, the weekend is a turning point in their lives as they experience God’s love for the first time.
See ya next weekend!
My church is doing a sermon series about Moses. As is common for me, I started to think how the lesson pertained to the students who come to FootSteps.
God revealed Himself to Moses only after he had been stripped away of all earthly titles and honors. Moses had been elevated to great power in Egypt. He was respected among the people of that land. But after he killed the Egyptian and fled to Midian, he was a “nobody.” He had to start all over. He had to make a new life in the desert. That is when God spoke to him from the burning bush.
Could it have been that Moses was too busy to hear God in Egypt? Or did God just wait until Moses was removed from the “good life”?
Whatever the reason, let’s look at Moses’ response: “Here I am!” I love that! God’s voice speaking from a burning bush in the middle of nowhere and Moses says, “Here I am.” He was ready to serve. He had questions and fears, but he was ready and willing to serve.
After God explains His plan for Moses, Moses asked the greatest question: “Who am I?” Isn’t that the question many of us pose when asked to obey and serve? Who am I? How am I ready to follow God and serve? It’s like we expect some formal training from God before we can live in His path and proclaim Him to others.
I think that life itself is the training. We are constantly learning about God. Sometimes it’s weekends like FootSteps. God’s love is exhibited. We see our peers doing the work of God. Sometimes it’s just a realization that we’ve strayed from God and the commitment to redirect.
FootSteps allows the candidates to be “stripped away” of the outside world. No cell phones, iPods, video games, or watches. On this weekend, they aren’t athletic heroes, valedictorians, most or least popular, or rarely noticed. For this weekend, God (through His people) shows love and concern for all. FootSteps allows the candidates to help answer the question, “Who am I?” They will see teenagers in action for God. They will observe students just like them empowered to serve others.
God’s answer to Moses? “I will be with you.” At Footsteps, we try very hard for all to feel that God is with them.
Footsteps can be many things to many people. For some, the weekend becomes an opportunity to renew a faith that has been dormant. For some, it gives a chance to share a vibrant faith with others. And for others, the weekend is a turning point in their lives as they experience God’s love for the first time.
See ya next weekend!