Monday, December 19, 2011

The Extravaganza... We do it for Jesus.

A bunch of hilarious, weird, amazing, inspiring people gathered in the St. Michael's youthroom for the Prayer and Action Extravaganza on Sunday night. I think we might have beaten the record for most obnoxious people in one room at the same time. (In a good way!) On one side of the room, you've got Kyle, who strikes up random coversations about poop ("the call of duty"). Then you've got Chris, who adds "Get it? Prayer and Action? Like prayer and then action!" to every conversation. Then you've got a whole group of high schoolers playing some noodle ball, smacking a wiffle ball with pool noodles. And finally you've got a group throwing Nerf darts at the windows, then tracing the outlines to make pictures.

Yeah, we're obnoxious. But that's what youth ministry is all about -- acting like complete fools for Jesus. All those Nerf darts we threw? We threw them for Jesus. Every time we smacked that ball with the noodles? That was for Jesus. Every time Chris found a way to incorporate Prayer and Action into a coversation? He did that for Jesus. And, somehow, everytime Kyle talked about poop... That was for Jesus too.

This is idea of doing everything in the name of the Lord is what Prayer & Action is all about. Through painting houses, pulling weeds, getting to know the hearts of the people we're working for, or even squirting eachother with water guns for a week, we learned how to incorprate Jesus into all of that. It's all for Him.

Bringing everyone from Prayer and Action back together -- all the seminarians, leaders, youth ministers, priests, singers, and students -- just brought all of those amazing memories and feelings back. It reminded me that it really is all for Him. And especially as the youth of our Diocese, we might think that we're just the teenagers who everyone sees as obnoxious (which, I guess, is partially true), but we play such a huge role in the church. We are the future of the church, insane, I know. "Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity." (1 Timothy 5:12).

So let's keep rocking this world. In everything we do. Through Prayer AND Action.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Live the Fourth

I had heard stories about how fantastic Kairos was, how I had to go, and how my life would be changed forever. I'm not gonna lie. I was a little skeptical. Really? One weekend at a retreat was going to change my life? Must be some retreat........

But it was. No doubt about it. Everything I experienced actually exceeded the great comments I had previously heard about it. I actually am a changed person -- the new and improved Jordan McEntee. :]

So what did I really get out of those three days away from society? Everything. Well, I can't tell you a whole lot because I don't want to spoil any surprises for you if you go on Kairos. But here's a few of the big ideas that I've brought home with me:

1) While setting specific time aside to form my relationship with God is important, what is even more crucial is incorporating prayer into EVERY SINGLE that I do. It's not about one experience. My whole life is my "God Moment."

2) Little things have BIG impacts. Just saying hi to someone, or waving to someone, or even just smiling at someone could be the difference. Make someone's day by doing something small! That's something that I've been trying realy hard to work on since Kairos.

3) SHMILY. This one stands for "See How Much I Love You." It's so easy to show people that we love them and that we care about them, whether it be through prayer, doing a favor for them, smiling at them, writing them a little happy note, or just being with them. And SHMILYs are a cycle! You get one, and you share it. Over, and over, and over, and over again. The circle of life, baby.

The weekend was full of spiritual, inspiring, deep, conversations. But, of course, you can't put 28 high school kids together with hilarious youth ministers and not expect to have some hysterically funny moments. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the retreat:

"Smiles are infectious!" -Greg Alba

"There's a cloud of witnesses praying for you ALL the time, sending you a billion SHMILYs through prayer channels." -Joe Passantino

"Do you really think you're a better artist than God?" -Joe Turner

"We're all HIS. It's beautiful, just beautiful!" -Kyle Kuckelman

"If you could see yourself the way God sees you, you would believe that you are AMAZING." -Chelsea Schmidt

"No matter what you've done, He would die on that cross again, just for you. Only you." -Mitchell Cardin

"I think God chooses a few people to support the rest, and it is a mystery tome how the whole prayer things works, all I know is that it does. I would be NOWHERE if people hadn't prayed for me. I know that the sacrifices my friends and family made for me are all that sustain me sometimes, especially when prayer is difficult." -Jared Michael Cheek (retold by Rick Cheek)

"He might not get you to YOUR ideal situation, but THE ideal situation." -Jennifer Summers

"The sure sign that God is active in your life is that you will be led where you did not plan to go." -Brent Rempe

"You're the prized posession on God's shelf, a picture on his refridgerator." -Maggie Crabtree

Instead of root them on... "Pray them on." -Rick Cheek

Doesn't this just make you want to go sign your papers and head off to Kairos right now?? Me too. All I can say is that it really was a life changing experience -- and not one that's only going to last a few weeks. I met so many fannnnntastic people who are really going to hold me accountable in my faith, and I will do the same for them. We're all in it together, because the rest of our lives are God's time, KAIROS.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wait, God sees my crumbled soul as crisp, clean and pure? Dang, He's Cool.

The suspense was building. Flock in general is stinkin' awesome, but when Sara posts "So, FLOCK tonight will potentially have multiple special guests....holla!!" on the Flock Rocks facebook page, you know it's gonna have an extra side of EPIC.

Now I'm sure you're on the edge of your seat, wondering who in the world these special guests might be! ... (Drum roll, please) ... Michael Sheerin and Andrew Rockers! Woohoo! For anyone who doesn't know these two fabulous men of God, here's a quick intro -- Michael is Sara's fiance who plays the guitar, sings songs about smoking meat, gives really good advice about sales techniques, cracks the best jokes ever, and is one of the coolest guys I've ever met. And Andrew is an amazing seminarian from the Diocese of Salina, was involved in changing our lives at Prayer and Action, eats weird sandwiches, rocks (just like his last name, Rockers), and has the coolest beard I've ever seen.

So tonight's Flock kinduh rocked (and by kinduh, I mean that it totally, completely, absolutely, undoubtedly rocked). Michael got up there and pretty much spilled his heart. He told us his story, and gave us one of the best analogies ever (similar to Aaron's dollar bill analogy). A piece of paper. That paper is our souls. Every time we sin against our Lord, we put a crease in that paper. Eventually, that paper ends up all wrinkled and crumbled up, and maybe even in a trashcan. But guess what? God sees our souls through eyes of LOVE as clean, crisp, pure pieces of paper. It's crazy. One thing Michael pointed out that is so true: God sees us as a new, crisp sheet of paper, but sometimes it's more difficult for us to see ourselves that way. We know what we've done, and we'll always remember those folds and wrinkles we put in that paper. But Our God is a loving, merciful and forgiving God.

But Our God gives us free will because he wants us to make our own decisions. Wow, that's a lot of freedom. But that's also a lot of responsibility. Because freedom is desiring and choosing the best thing.

So it was a great night of learning about God's forgivenessand unconditional love, with some QPT (Quality Prayer Time) in the church. Which was also some quality chatting time with Michael. Dang, he's cool. (You've got yourself a keeper, Sara!) We talked about smiling, joy, surrounding yourself with people who are going to build you up in your faith, my dorky fun little brother, love, responsibility and life. Quite the conversation. And a few of my favorite things he said:

"In life, see the opportunities. In love, see the reality."
Mike: "How many times do you smile in a day?"
Me: "Uhh like thousands of times... Probably too many... I would die if I couldn't smile!"
Mike: "Haha. Never lose that sense of joy. And show everybody why you smile so much."

"In college, pray every single day. And if anyone questions you, don't let that make you question yourself."

For seminarians, paper souls, forgiveness and smiling... GOD IS GREAT. :]] 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Glory. Beauty. Party.... The New SMA Youth Room.

It is officially done. The walls are painted beautifully with orange, green, and blue paint... Three flat screen TVs hang on the walls, perfected with a ridiculous sound system and sweet hook-ups to the internet... The couches match the walls, and are angled just right in the corner of the room... The microwave, refridgerator and bar area, open dance floor, comfy seats and loud speakers are screaming, "Flock party! Super Bowl party! Dance party! Any kind of party! Pleaseeeeee."

And party is exactly what we will do. Party of Praise. Thank you, Jesus, for this beautiful room that you have blessed us with, the future amazing experiences we will have in this room, and for all the awesome people who made this room possible. Amen.

Well, speaking of awesome experiences in the new room.... Last night definitely made the list. The first AP FLOCK took place on the new couches with the TV in the corner. Awww yeah. And the TV was first officially used to watch a behind the scenes look at Matt Maher's new song "Turn Around" (from his new album The Love In Between, which comes out on September 20th). How perfect.

In Matt's video, he talks about repentance. About how when one guitar string breaks, it affects the whole guitar. About how one decision can affect your whole life, and the lives of those around you. Probably my favorite quote from the whole movie was "Repentance isn't just saying your sorry. It means finding a new direction." I mean, how true is that? I know I do it all the time... "Lord, I know I haven't spent enough time in prayer with you this week. I'm sorry." No! I should be saying, "God, I need your help. I need to turn this around and make time to talk with you and build my relationship with you." It takes that extra effort to use a few minutes that I would be on Facebook to tell God about my day. It takes that extra effort to go sit with the kid who's sitting all alone at lunch. It takes that extra effort to say no to something even though you know it's better for you in the long run. It's all about those extra efforts.

For new shnazzy youth rooms, for great conversations, and for Matt Maher... GOD IS GREAT.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"We're family now." Prayer and Action KC.

Well, ladies and gentlemen. Prayer and Action has done it again (and by it, I mean screamed in my face to wake me up to how I should be living my life). After six days of painting houses, meeting new people, climbing ladders, acting like complete freaks, eating PB&J sandwiches, trying to sing, dancing like fools, and letting people know what's on our hearts, I think it's safe to say that every single person on P&A was changed in one way or another.

It was such a blessing to have the opportunity of serving those who needed our help in Emporia, and we got pretty stinkin' tight with our homeowers. In fact, Maria even made us a mexican fiesta lunch to show her appreciation. And Orville was probably the cutest, sweetest old man I've ever met. I know that I'll never forget either of them, because like Maria said, "We're family now."

But along with all the work we did around Emporia, we got to listen to some amazing talks from the P&A staff. So I'm going to give a little run-down of some of the things that I really took away from each of these powerful presentations.

Day 1. (Seminarian) Dan's talk about the Trinity:
This whole talk was amazing. The main idea was that the Trinity is a big triangle of Love among the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I attempted to re-create Dan's diagram of where we are in the Trinity, so that is the (badly drawn, sorry) picture below. The arrows are the love going from one to the other, which are all God, because God is Love. Then the little smiley face in the middle is us. Something he said that really stuck out to me was that "Prayer is us listening in on what the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are saying about us." I mean, how cool is that?
Day 2. Susan's talk about Social Justice:
I also really enjoyed this talk because she made it super relatable to all of us. Susan explained social justice as being like the Google Earth app for the iPad or iPhone; When you see the whole world, it looks really pretty with cool colors and stuff... But then we all get focused on ourselves and are like, "Hey, I'm going to find my house!" So we zoom in so far that the colors fade and it gets ugly. That's how we're NOT supposed to live -- focused on ourselves. We are called to the seven themes of the Catholic Social Teaching: 1. Life and dignity of the human person. 2. Call to family, community, and participation. 3. Rights and responsibilities. 4. Option for the poor and vulnerable. 5. The diginity of work and the rights of workers. 6. Solidarity. and 7. Care for God's creation... And something I really took away from this was how she said that when we think of justice, we think of like fighting evil. And that's exactly right. We're fighting Satan, and kicking him straight in the nuts. (Click here to see Chris Walters' blog post "Straight in the nuts." It's epic.)

Day 3. (Seminarian) Dave's talk about Chastity.
This was one of my favorite chastity talks that I've ever heard. It wasn't your typical "abstinence and modesty!" talking that you always hear. It was more of the other side, the guys' perspective. And Dave's two main focus points were Beauty and Love. With beauty, he discussed society's ridiculous distortions of how people (particularly women) are supposed to look to be beautiful. But every human being is a temple for God and, therefore, every single human being is beautiful and created exactly in God's image and likeness. This leads to the broad topic of love. But I really like how Dave stressed how women bring out the best or worst in men, and we should be the best version of ourselves to encourage guys to be the best version of themselves. We talked about how God loves us more than any other human ever could, and how He will NEVER let us down. Because God IS Love. Powerful stuff, I tell ya.

Day 4. Caleb and Karlie's talk about Reconciliation.
Both of these amazing young people really stressed how important the sacrament of Reconciliation is in growing in our faith. They both talked about God's never ending mercy and forgiveness, and how he will always bring us back to him if we seek his forgiveness through confession. No matter what we've done, no matter where we've been, we will ALWAYS be his beloved children. Karlie talked about how even when others around us are falling, if we seek God's forgiveness, He will never let us fall (Psalm 91). God's love and mercy are uncomparable to anyone or anything else. He is that awesome.

Day 5. (Seminarian) Matt's talk about the Eucharist.
I've got to say, if I had to pick one thing that really stuck with me this week, it was the importance of the most holy Eucharist. Matt explained how the Sacrifice of the Altar is the living re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross. It's kind of a lot to take in at first, but once I understood this connection, the gift of recieving Christ's body and blood becomes so much more intense and awesome. He talked about how the Eucharist is way greater than any martyr, because Christ's sacrifice for man in the mass triumps over any man's sacrifice for Him. That was stinkin' amazing to me. I later talked with Dave about the Eucharist, and the way he described the importance of the Eucharist to the Catholic Church was so eye-opening, as well. He said, "To physically have the Love of your life, Jesus Christ, inside of you is the most intense connection you can possibly have with Him. And no other church has that deep, physical connection." Wow, Jesus rocks.

And finally, Day 6. (Seminarian) Jeff's talk about how to take this stuff home to our communities
It's pretty obvious that everything we learned can totally change our lives, but if we don't know how to bring it all back with us, it's not too helpful. So Jeff had four main ways that we can bring this stuff back and keep our Jesus fires burning strong. 1. Pray the Rosary daily. 2. Daily Adoration (if available) or silent prayer. 3. Night prayer (Liturgy of the Hours) and the Salve Regina. 4. Pick a Saint and connect with them, learn about them, pray through them. All the things Jeff said are pretty reasonable, we just have to keep up with this faith we grew at P&A. We can totally do it, with eachother's help, of course.

We are like a family now. The Prayer & Action KC family. It's our job to help eachother through the rough times, to remind eachother of what we learned, to love eachother, and to pick eachother back up when we fall down. -- "This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:12-13)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Justin Bieber vs. Jesus

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love kids. Little people are my favorite because they are like the Energizer bunny - They never run out of juice. And for this reason, I absolutely love Get Real at VBS. 5th and 6th graders are old enough to have a somewhat intellectual discussion, but at the same time, they are probably the funniest creatures on this earth. So I thought I would share just a few of the hilarious comments that came out of their mouths, and a couple other funnies from the red team.

Me: "If you were able to meet one famous person, dead or alive, who would you pick and why?"
VBS kiddo: "Umm, probably Jesus. Or Justin Bieber... They're both pretty important."
(Glad to see we've got our priorities straight!)

Extremely talkative red team child: "Guess what? Last night I had a dream that I was on the elevator up to heaven! And I got to the top and I was like, 'I'm here to see Jesus!' and this old cranky lady told me 'Go sit in the waiting room like everybody else!'"

Me: "Okay guys, so on this sheet you're going to rate these jobs from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst. Believe me, none of them are too great."
Oliver Davis: "A live-in babysitter for a family with 8 kids?? That's not too bad! That's like what Sara Batenhorst has to deal with every time she babysits my family!"

Kid: "Why does our group always have to split in half for service projects?"
Me: "Beacause we're the awkward seventh group. They don't know what to do with us."
Jack: "We should have called our group 'The Leftovers!'"

Oliver, Dillon and Joe having a different dress-up theme everyday... One day I come home from VBS to find my brother and my cousin in my room, wearing my dresses and heels. The first thing that came out of their mouths were "We look like girls with short hair!" Not okay... definitely not a good theme day, but hilarious nonetheless.

Doing the Boogaloo and teaching the kids the Istanbul, not Constantinople dance...

But I don't think any of us will EVER forget the epic last day including a the amazing "House on Fire!" skit, a water balloon toss (which we turned into an all-out water balloon fight... to get some sweet revenge on the kids who caused us problems throughout the week), and the fire truck showing up and completely soaking every kid from head to toe. I think we were all a little sad to see our crazy youngsters go... But there's always next summer!

For kids who never run out of energy, who deck themselves out in their team color every day, who compare Jesus to teenage pop stars, who love God, and who never stop making me laugh... GOD IS GREAT. :]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

GOD EQUALS LOVE ... The light bulb moment.

You know those times when you go around in circles trying to figure something out? When you think it's so complicated and there's so much to comprehend? That was my group at FLOCK, trying to pull out the meaning of 1 John 4:7-21. There are so many different aspects of love that are discussed in those verses, but just a few main ideas that we found were:

LAY IT DOWN FOR OTHERS: And yes, by "it" we mean your life. Defenitely a crazy thing to think about. But if you truly love someone, you want to put their needs before your own, even if it means giving your life.

DON'T TALK LOVE, DO LOVE: Pretty much "walkin' the walk" and not just "talkin' the talk." You can't say you love someone if your actions aren't going to back it up. Show them you love them, don't just say it. After all, actions do speak louder than words.

LOVE > WORLDY STUFF: Loving someone is way more important than the little things in life that really don't matter. Who cares what somebody thinks about you if you're doing what you love, or showing someone you love them. Love pretty much trumps all else.

And after trying to connect all these points... We had our light bulb moment. GOD EQUALS LOVE. That's when it all clicked for me... God equals love. And God knows all things. God is never wrong. Everything he wills to be done, is done. He never fails. So since God is love, that means that LOVE NEVER FAILS.


It's such a simple concept that is so easy to complicate. If we can just live and love knowing that God has everything under control (I mean, it's God... He knows whats up), everything will turn out exactly how He has it planned. And, as I learned from Veggie Tales back in the day, "God's way is the best way."


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BV Tiger Print. Review of new Mikey Needleman Band CD. :]

BV Tiger Print. Review of new Mikey Needleman Band CD, All For You.
Click here to see the story on Or you can just read it below. :]

Christan band with local ties releases strong sophomore album

March 23, 2011
Jordan McEntee, Design editor
Other than my fellow Christian music junkies, most people have never heard of the Mikey Needleman Band, much less listened to its new album, All For You.
It’s unfortunate.
We’re going to change that.
For starters, Mikey Needleman is a Johnson County local who started the Mikey Needleman Band in 2006.
This Christian band consists of Needleman on guitar and lead vocals, Bill Hurrelbrink on bass, Lance Pollard on lead guitar and Vince Kirk on drums.
The band released its first album Waiting For You in 2008 and its new album All For You on March 8, 2011.
All For You contains a mixture of up-beat and slow songs; however, they all have the same message — praise and worship.
The first track, and my personal favorite, “All For You” is a fantastic song with high-energy, killer vocals, amazing guitar and especially meaningful lyrics.
It’s one of those songs that I’ll sing and dance along with about 700 times in my car with the windows rolled down. It puts you in the mood to rock out and sing, even if you have a terrible voice like mine.
My favorite thing about this album is that the words actually mean something.
Too many times these days, artists just sing about things that don’t really matter (like Lady Gaga’s P-P-P-Poker Face). Lyrics shouldn’t just ramble and rhyme. Listeners should connect to the lyrics on a personal level — this album is the perfect example of that.
Every track on this CD has the potential to make you sing along while rocking your little iPod headphones, but also to make you actually stop and think about Mikey’s purpose for writing the song.
All For You is overall an incredible album, and I strongly suggest it to anyone who likes some good, solid Christian music, or really anyone at all.
Copies of the album can be purchased on the band’s website and will soon be available on iTunes.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The epic experience of WINTER JAM 2011.

Last night at the Sprint Center was probably one of the most epic concerts of all time. 10 amazing Christian bands, 10 bucks, 7 of my best friends, an hour of waiting, and 4 hours of rockin' music. However, you can't fully appreciate how awesome this experience was until you hear the story of the miracle of how we even got in the door.

All 8 of us drove two cars down to the Sprint Center, and by the time we parked (fifty thousand miles away from the building) and walked there, it was about 5:30. We walk up and see THOUSANDS of people in a huge mob of a line literally wrapped ALL the way around the Sprint Center. Um yeah, that is a tonnnnnnn of people. So just like everyone else, we go to the back of the line to wait our turn to get tickets. Meanwhile, there are people walking around saying things like, "It's already sold out, so you might as well get out of line now!"

Well, if you know me, Evelyn, Sara, Erin, Maria, Jane, Bailey, and Miranda, That was not happening. We were not taking no for an answer.

So the line starts disintegrating except for this giant mob of probably a thousand people in front of the doors. By this point we are all freaking out that it's about to start pouring down rain and that we won't be able to get in... So what did we do? We rocked up and prayed. "Dear Jesus, please let it not start raining on us. And please help us get in there to see the Newsboys and David Crowder Band. We love you. Amen." :]

At that point, we saw a huge opening right next to the door and decided to go ask somebody if it was actually sold out. So we asked someone and the answer we got was that there were still seats open but that they were out of actual paper tickets and were getting more. So within 5 minutes of us standing there, we were part of a miracle from Jesus Christ: They opened the doors and starting passing out the last of the tickets.

We witnessed the truth of God's word... "Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and a door shall be opened to you." WE LOVE YOU, JESUS.

Once the madness of getting in the door, finding seats, and helping Miranda fix her cut-open toe was over, the concert was fantastic. Best three performances of the night- Kutless, Newsboys, and David Crowder Band.

And my favorite moment of the night was during David Crowder Band's "How He Loves" when we all linked arms and were swaying back and forth singing praise to the One who loves us, forgives us, and died for us.

Unbelievable night. :]

The craziest thing to me was this morning, the day after the concert, I got on the Kansas City Star website to see what they had to say about the concert last night. I click on the Entertainment tab and the first thing to pop up is a review of the Ke$ha concert downtown last night at the same time as Winter Jam. There was absolutely nothing about this phenomenal, huge Christian concert with 50,000 people inside and waiting to get in. Ke$ha VS. David Crowder Band, Kutless, Newsboys, Newsong, RED, Chris August, Chris Sligh, KJ-52, Francesca Battistelli, and Tony Nolan... Hmmm. Interesting.

But nonetheless, the concert was epic. Yay for Jesus Freaks. :]

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"I'm getting better at awkward silences!"

AP FLOCK. Or should we just call it "THE best way to spend an hour and a half on a Wednesday night"? Yeah, I think we'll go with that. Well, as always we started off with Happies and Crappies... for an hour... which somehow turned into a discussion about Aaron's college "adventures," Joe's State football ring (that is aparently also a mood ring, it has a button that says things when you push it, and it'll run out of batteries if you don't charge it with your car charger. But watch out, you might get the cords all tangled up), and the brownies that made Brian feel crappy, literally.

Then we split. Guys in the conference room, girls in Sara's office. Somehow we managed to have a somewhat deep conversation about role models despite the random discussions about Sara's friend getting engaged, going to Uncle Tom's Cabin, her friend getting stranded at an airport and ending up meeting an old lady and going to a Matt Maher concert, etc....

So our talk about role models started a little something like this:

Sara: "So somehow this lady got my name and wants me to ask you guys this question and take your picture for the cover of their publication or something."

Jane, Kenz, and me: "Okay... So what's the question?"

Sara: "Describe what you look for in a role model."

AWKWARD SILENCE >>> Staring at eachother. >>> Waiting for someone else to talk. >>> About 2 minutes go by.

Then Sara says, "You guys - I'm getting better at awkward silences!" :]

So as funny/awkward/hilarious as those few minutes were, we actuallycame up with a pretty good list of a few of our role models: Our parents, Sara Batenhorst, Andrew Rockers, Debbie and Dana Nearmyer... That awkward silence actually provided some pretty great thinkin' time... Then we (mostly Jane) came up with this idea that when we think of someone as a role model, it is because they have qualities that we admire and that we wish for ourselves to have. We see something in our role models that we want to try to work toward. These people inspire us, push us, and inspire us to be the kind of people we want to be.

And as I'm typing this listening to Matt Maher on my iPod, I think about how great of a role model he is for those who listen to his absolutely phenomenal music. But as much as he can influence my life, I don't actually know him, unfortunately. Then I think about how many fantastic people God has surrounded me with every single day, who I've grown close to and who truly are my role models. :]

Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Flowers & Big Weeds...

I guess you could say that AP FLOCK has officially split for the next 3 weeks...

SIDE ONE: The Little Flowers. (a.k.a. the girls... who will actually talk about somewhat profound topics, including ways we've seen Christ acting in our lives, what's been on our hearts, and that crazy thing known as "our future.")

SIDE TWO: The Big Weeds. (a.k.a. the guys... who will most likely discuss how they've felt Christ in their lives while playing Halo on PS3, funny lines from Family Guy, the beauty of the 3D tv, make a giant gum monster with Dubble Bubble, or just wear the gum container as a hat... Oh wait, that's what they did last week...)

It should be pretty successful (at least for side one, that is). And as much as we joke about you guys, we really do love you guys a whole bunch, but it'll be nice to get some deep conversations in without some of the distractions listed above. I guess we'll see how it goes... Little Flowers all the way. St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us. :]

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mom: "So what did you learn at FLOCK tonight?"

Just about every night when I get home from FLOCK, my mom asks something along the lines of, "So what did you guys learn at Flock tonight?" And let's just say that if I told my mom what Lainey said, I'd probably never be seen at youth group ever again... Kidding.

Well, the theme for the night was discipleship. Sara was talking about how we all have our own crosses to bear in life and how we have to live for the Lord in different ways depending on the challenges and obstables we face. Then she said something like, "And guess what? You can cheat. If you see someone else living in a way that you like or doing something that you like, you can steal their idea."

Then she was telling everyone the story of this awesome girl we met at Hope Faith Ministries on Saturday. So there was this woman who had a 9 year old son and they were living out of their car. They didn't have winter coats or really any warm clothing at all. The woman was getting some sweat pants and a coat at the thrift store downstairs, but they didn't have any more pants in her size. So this girl we met had on a really nice pair of like brand new sweatpants... She just took them off (and, yes, she did have shorts on underneath them) and gave them to the woman saying, "Here, you can have mine. I've only worn them like one time and they're really warm." It was absolutely amazinggggg.

So these were both good points that Sara made, but then she was like, "So when your parents ask what you learned tonight, you say..." And that's when Lainey said, "Cheat and take your pants off!"

We laughed for a solid 5 minutes after that comment. :]

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"We were meant to live for so much more."

Jersey Shore. Two and a Half Men. The Bachelor.

The list could go on and on of shows that we find hilarious and entertaining. And it’s not just tv, it’s the media in general -- movies, music, internet...... Today’s society is shaping our minds to think that the things we see and hear in today’s culture are normal, acceptable, and appropriate. But are they? Umm, I’d definitely say no.

Are guys in real life anything like Edward Cullen or Jacob Black? Is Prince Charming really going to return my glass slipper from the ball? Is that ugly (yet somehow still somewhat cute) little frog really going to turn into a handsome prince? … Well, society has made children, teenagers, adults, everyone believe (or like to believe) that these perfect fairy tale endings are what we should strive for in our relationships. But the thing is, these relationships aren’t really love. John Paul II explains how there are two levels to an attraction: The first level is the “sexual urge,” where we find pleasure in the others’ qualities. That is the kind of shallow “love” we see in most movies and tv shows these days. But JP2 says we have to “rise above” this initial attraction and see the other person as a person, an actual person, so that we can become a “communion of persons” (us, the other person, and God... Like the Trinity). Until we can actually see that person for who they truly are, inside and out, we aren’t capable of actually loving them as a person.

So, this word “love.” We hear it all the time, we say it all the time, it’s everywhere. So what does love really mean? Well, some of the ways that JP2 describes “authentic love” are: selfless, true kindness, requires responsibility, rises above just the sexual aspect, virtue, friendship, sees the whole person, good will, total commitment, and self-giving. Dang. That scares me a little bit. If those are all the things we should strive for to truly love another, that’s some serious work. At AP Flock, we’d established that love is “truly wishing the best for the other person and helping them be the best person they can be.” Woah. In our discussion, this is where we brought up the aspect of responsibility (after all, the book IS called Love and RESPONSIBILITY). So what does that mean? It means we’re responsible for getting the other person to Heaven, responsible for helping them make good choices, helping them be the best they can be. Woah, again. That’s some serious responsibility right there. A little intimidated? I am.

So basically the point is, we can’t let today’s society make us believe that we should settle for anything less than what God has planned for us. Like the great band Switchfoot says, “We were meant to live for so much more.” We can’t be influenced by choices that we see people make on TV or in movies. Life isn’t like a reality show, it’s better. Because we have the ability to rise above and experience and engage in authentic love.  

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Seriously? How old are we??

Well... Where to even start... ?
We had AP Flock tonight for the first time in quite a while. You know it's going to be good when Joe and Brian walk in together with their hoods up, and Brian just can't seem to stop talking about his brand new Adidas sweat suit (although it is pretty legit, I must say). So as always we started with the good old "happies, crappies, and weirdies" (but for some strange reason, Jane is usually the only one with a good weirdy...). Tonight, Joe had quite the happy -- a pretty extravagant story that went something along the lines of getting kicked out of Walmart and Target, going airborne after driving over a median in a parking lot, looking for cows for an hour, actually going cow tipping, getting chased by an angry herd of cows, his friends running into a barbed wire fence, and probably something else I can't remember. It was pretty fantastic.

Like they always say, "time flies when you're having fun." We must've been having a seriously fun time laughing at each others' stories beacuse before we knew it, we'd spend more than forty five minutes doing happies and crappies. Crazy, I know. So this left us another good forty five minutes to chat about JP2 booklet... And the two sections for the night were "Insecurity, Not Love" and "The Sexual Urge." Might I just say, I don't think I've ever experienced any more awkward "popcorn" reading than tonight. Every time we came across the phrase "sexual urge," Joe and Brian would popcorn back and forth so the conversation went a little something like this:

Brian: "The... Popcorn Joe."
Joe: "S... Popcorn Brian."
Brian: "ex... Popcorn Joe."
Joe: "ual... Popcorn Brian."
Brian: "Urge... Popcorn Joe."
Sara: "How old are we? Four!? Did anyone understand any of that??"

You kind of had to be there to get the full effect, but it was really was pretty hilarious. And in all seriousness, out of our ninety minutes, probably about twenty of them were spent in solid discussion about something other than nicknames for Jane's mom, Brian's dad's new 3D TV, how Sara and Mike are going to have some awesome costumes for their trivia thing on Saturday, how they'll have the Chiefs game on a huge tv during noon mass (she definitely meant to say during the teen lunch after noon mass...), how Kenzie and Justin will actually be at the game, or any other random/awesome things we talked about. So overall, not the most productive of nights, but I'd say we still got some good conversation in about how we can truly love others without using them for our own pleasure. Next week should be interesting, since we're talking about the section "More than Animal Instinct..." 

Oh how I've missed Wednesday nights in the SMA confrence room... :]