Iceman's Insights

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

“So Stupid…they might just work!” Youth Group Christmas Ideas
By Ryan Ice

Youth Group Holiday Lights Display- Have each student become a station for a drive-thru holiday lights display. They can dress up, work together, cover themselves in lights and then stand or sit still in the church parking lot as family and friends travel through the weirdest Holiday Display they will have ever seen.

Reverse Caroling- Make one of your evening classes more entertaining by singing a Christmas carol when the first person opens the door. As people continue to enter, they join in as a part of the Caroling Chorus. When the door shuts- the song ends. Every time the door opens the growing chorus sings until the last person enters the classroom.

Ginger Bread Battleship- First, have groups make gingerbread houses (4 per side). Divide the room in half so that students cannot see the other side. Make a 5 by 5 grid lettered and numbered. Place ginger bread houses on spots on grid and then teams will alternate calling out spaces (like C-3 or E-5) and try to hit their houses. If a house is hit, it can either be delivered to the other team for them to eat or have someone smash the house. First team to destroy the other houses is the winner!

Form-Fitted Foil Wrapped Gift-Exchange- Every group has done a white elephant gift exchange, so this is just a way to add some humor. Each present should be wrapped so that it is pretty obvious what the gift is or at least makes you think that is what the gift is. A football, a t-shirt, a mug, or a teddy bear would be obvious but even funnier if they can make it look like the form of something it is not. Exchange would work just like the white elephant.

The Christmas Slay Haunted House- Forget to do something for Halloween this year? No problem, combine the two things. Turn your youth room or church building or someone’s house into a haunted house for Christmas. Let’s face it- glowing reindeer noses, creepy elves, fat men jumping out of fireplaces, and creepy stocking stuffers could be hilariously spooky!

Regressive Dinner- Our church has for years put on a very nice progressive dinner where people move from home to home moving from appetizer to dessert. A regressive dinner would work in reverse going from home to home starting with dinner and working backward to appetizers. Also, you could have students wear ugly sweaters backwards for additional fun.

Elf Night- “Elf” has become an instant holiday movie classic. Make a night about fun and service. Gather toys, or gather money and go shopping for toys dressed as Christmas Elves. Then deliver them to a charity or as a part of something your congregation is already participating in. Dinner for the Night will consist of spaghetti (with syrup as an option), candy, candy corn, and candy canes. Finish the night by watching the movie.

A Hallmark Christmas- Let’s face it Hallmark Christmas Movies are really awful and extremely predictable, but are a huge hit! Use the beginning of the night to make Christmas Cards to send out to shut-ins or people who you have served throughout the year and have your group sign those cards. Then, give students 15 minutes in groups (more than enough time) to create a cliché Hallmark Christmas movie. Invite parents to come and enjoy the Hallmark movies they created live.

The Reindeer Games- Feel free to get creative with outside-the-box games. Simply, have students where reindeer hats and ugly sweaters and have Olympic Style Competitions for the night. Feel free to award red-noses to the winners or something Christmas-y.

Stocking Stuffer Night- We all love getting to go Trick or treating, but its sad it only happens once a year. I think candy should be freely given out throughout the year! Stocking Stuffer Night is the Equivalent to a trunk or treat. Have volunteers either at their homes throughout town or from trunks in the parking lot be prepared to hand out candy. Have students dress up in Christmas-themed Costumes and take stockings to each spot to stuff their stockings with candy!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

What I believe

Wow! Sitting down and just writing what you believe is an incredible exercise. I don't think anyone actually reads this post, but if you are I encourage just to start writing down your beliefs. It helps you to focus. Here is what I landed on:

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I believe in the Holy Spirit. I also believe that Satan and evil are also real and powerful. I believe God and good will win out.

I believe God saves us by grace through faith, not by works so that no man can boast.

I believe baptism is an act of faith and symbolizes the death, burial, and resurrection and that we are taught as a matter of faith to be baptized.

I believe works are the bi-product of a faith-filled life.

I believe that this message is available to all- both men and women, young and old, black and white.

 I believe God is the ultimate judge and His ways are higher than my ways.

I believe that worship is about us living in service and admiration of God, our Creator and Sustainer.

I believe it is important to be obedient to God and to keep yourself pure. You are dead to sin and should not continue to live in it. This doesn’t mean you will not sin again; rather you are forgiven of it and strive to follow his narrow path.

I believe following Christ is more about eating from the Tree of Life rather than perfecting the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil.

I believe that eternal life is real. I believe it starts now and I believe in Heaven and Hell.

I believe the Church is the Bride of Christ and is gathered together as one to bring God’s Kingdom reign on this earth.

I believe God desires justice, mercy, obedience, worship, love, and relationship.

I believe God loves us more than we even give Him credit for.

I believe God cares more about our hearts than our traditions.

I believe he can use anyone or anything to fulfill his purpose.

I believe God cares about all 168 hours of the week, not just about 1 on Sunday.

I believe God cares more about His people having a unified purpose more than a correct pattern for one hour on Sunday.

I believe that the freedom we have in Christ is freeing not restrictive, yet this doesn’t mean I desire to do evil rather I am freed to do good.

I believe God has called me to more than church attendance. He strives for me to love him, serve him, obey him, and do this in the way I interact with all people.

I believe God created all things and that He is worthy of all my praise.

I believe God cares more about the heart of the worshiper rather than the method of worship.

I believe God cares more about the message being spread than the gender of the messenger.

I believe God cares more about us remembering his son than that it is done in an orderly fashion.

I believe God cares more about us meeting together as one body than the name on the building of which we meet.

I believe God can fulfill His purpose whether I’m on board or not.

I believe God uses people just like me to fulfill His purpose.

I believe God is real and involved in my life. He loves me for who I am right now and He desires for me to love Him back.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Wow! I Still Have a blog!?

I just found this blog that I haven't posted on in 6 years! Wow! A lot has changed in 6 years and a lot has stayed the same! I feel like I'm typing to no one right now because surely no one is coming and checking out my blog after this long. That is a scary idea because that means I could probably write freely and no one would care, but as soon as I write something controversial I am sure that is when someone will notice this blog.
I am in my 6th year of full time youth ministry and I absolutely love it. I have an awesome group of students and I work with a congregation I love. In this line of work I get to grapple with faith questions often and I have been looking for an outlet where I can express these struggles. So here I go...
Something hit me while at camp this summer and it has affected how I read the Bible and even how I look at life and my walk with Christ. I believe in God, the Creator. I believe he created this world because of his desire for relationship. Relationship with you and me! That actually should blow my mind, but usually causes me to yawn and move on. This is an incredible idea! The one with all power, who has made the entire world, made the world with us in mind. He longed for relationship with us and in the beginning the relationship with Adam and Eve was incredible and intimate. It was about closeness and being together. It was about love and commitment. Yet true love is only possible when there is choice. God told man not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but to continue to eat from the Tree of Life and to live in relationship with him. We all know the story, man chose knowledge and equality with God. This began the century long pursuit to follow the rules and to be good enough.
I think the entire story comes down to two trees.
The tree of life is about relationship with God. Before they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were naked and unashamed.
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is about trying to grasp equality with God. It is about pursuing good all on your own.
As I look through scripture, this seems to be the story. Man trying to gain relationship with God through...knowledge...good works...sacrifices...success. Yet, we are sinful and unholy and cannot achieve this for God is set apart from sin and is without blemish.
God's dream of relationship with us, though, never died. His love for us continued as His people continued to choose the wrong tree.
That separation was done away with as Jesus came to the earth and again walked with man. Man, of course, had him killed mainly because he did not fit their idea of what would bring about relationship. They were focused on doing all the right things and he was focused on God's desire for relationship with us. So, he died on A Tree.
This tree though could not defeat him. He rose again! This tree is a tree of life. Again, we have the choice.
Will we choose the Tree of life or the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We can either pursue God and live with him and for him or we choose to pursue being equal to God and spend all our time trying to figure out how we can measure up.
I'm a recovering addict of fruit that comes from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I long to be addicted to the Tree of Life!
I think that's enough for thinking out loud today! Probably talk to you in another 6 years, Blog!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I wish I were...

Do you ever find yourself saying "I wish I were" or "I wish I could" instead of saying "I can"or "I will".Driving the bus the other day, I heard a 6 year old say, "I can't wait until I'm 15 and I can get my permit!"(The thought of this child ever driving, made me check to make sure my seat belt was on tight) Later, I heard a teenager say they wished this school year was over so they could head off to college and have all the freedom they wanted. I helped Dad this week with book sales at the college and I heard a student say they couldn't wait until they graduated this semester so they could finally get to the real world. I caught myself saying to Jessie just the other day, "wouldn't it be nice to be in elementary school again". Being content with where you are at in your stage of life would be a tremendous quality.All the phases of life come with such exciting potential, why can't we embrace where God has put us and take hold of the opportunities given us at the time? God can and will use people at all ages, in all areas, in all social classes, and of all personalities if we are willing to be used where we are. Paul wrote in Philippians about being content in every circumstance and understanding that he could do anything through him who gives him strength. We need to learn to be content with the opportunities and circumstances that God has laid before us. Contentedness does not mean we are satisfied with living a mediocre life for Christ. Paul never gave in to his rough circumstances, but accepted them and used them as opportunities to spread the news of Christ. Use your age, location, relationships, and occupation whatever they may be to further the cause of Christ. Take courage in Jeremiah 29:11 which says, "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord,"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Still Here

It has been a while since I last posted. I am currently a substitute teacher in Wood County Schools and am enjoying that. I will be coaching elementary basketball this year and I am excited for the season. My position at Grand Central has changed a bit. I am still the intern, but my emphasis has moved out of the youth program and is now focusing on starting a young adult ministry with those in their 20s and early 30s. Things are just getting started, but I am so excited for what God is doing and will continue to do with this ministry. Those who are wondering about the Powell Ministry, Jessie and I are still working with that ministry and are excited about how things are going there. We are taking as many as 25 kids and adults to church on Wed. nights and T.A.G. is going great. There is a blog completely dedicated to the Powell ministry. It is and the young adult ministry also has a blog- My blog has been down, so I hope this will be able to be seen.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Scuff Marks

Sunday morning, I was looking at the front of the auditorium during services and something kept catching my eye. Behind the pulpit at our building , we have our baptistry. On the wall, I noticed multiple scuff marks going up the wall towards where the baptistry is located. Now, I am not one who cares about neatness and I'm actually shocked that I noticed it, but it made me think of when I was a child and I used to leave my scuff marks on that very same wall. As a child, the baptistry is a source of amazement and mystery. Every now and then someone will go back there and get dunked and as a child you notice the excitement and genuine happiness come across the crowd. The person has done something that you can just feel the importance of and you can feel that this experience marked a change in them. As a child, you want to climb that wall and look into this source of amazement and mystery.
Looking at the wall, I realize that kids are still fascinated and still want to know about this mystery and experience this change. If you watch after services, you will often find children boosting themselves up and allowing their shoes to scuff the wall beneath them, but you will never see an adult go to check it out. The mystery disappears a little as you grow older. How do we get people excited about this christianity like a child who would leave scuff marks on a wall?
You won't see a ton of fingerprints on the doors of church buildings from people so desperate to see inside. How do we get people excited about the mystery of Christ? It's most likely not going to come from having exciting worship experiences, moving messages, powerful drama, or magic water. It is going to come from watching people outside the doors who are living extraordinarily for the cause of Christ. People who will go out of their way to meet the needs of others, people who will use what they have not to further themselves but to promote success in others, and people who will stand for something bigger than this world. When people see people living like that, they will excitedly follow them in to the buildings where they worship once a week. And lets not let that be the goal. Let it be the goal that they too will become people who will live out in the community in such a way as to show Christ in their every action. Let their be scuff marks on the doors of our homes, cars, businesses, and hearts where people so excitedly want to know why we live the way we do and lets not leave them in the dark, but show them the excitement of the mystery of Christ.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Crazy Month and Top Ten Favorite Movies

I've realized lately that most people use these blog things as like online journals about what they did from day to day. I, on the other hand, just randomly throw stuff on here after a few months of nothingness. I know I'm very random. The next month is going to be an exciting and tiring adventure so I hope to come back and type a little about those things when it is all over. I just finished Workcamp which was awesome. Next week will begin Mystery Mission Trip to Just Kidding guys I'm not that stupid, then I go to Joe's camp for a week in Barbour County, then VBS at GC, then off to New Orleans to help out there. I hope to be able to share some great stories when I return. I know God wants to use us these next 3 or 4 weeks, just pray that we are willing to be used. Ok, not to disappoint all those who in some way enjoy my randomocity- Here is my top ten all-time favorite movies. (Disclaimer:It does not mean I recommend everyone to watch these movies and if You don't care for one of these movies or have a problem with one of them please realize we may share different tastes and I am not perfect).
1. Tommy Boy
2. Cool Runnings
3. Remember the Titans
4. Toy Story
5. Bruce Almighty
6. Italian Job
7. What about Bob?
8. Field of Dreams
9. Patch Adams
10. Brian's Song
Feel free to comment if we share a movie on our top ten lists!