Remember your blessings

A while back, there was an episode of The Simpsons in which the family is celebrating Thanksgiving. When the time came to say grace, Bart Simpson bowed his head and said,

“Dear God, we paid for all this stuff ourselves, so thanks for nothing.”

The first time I saw this clip on TV, I remember feeling a mix of emotions. On one hand, I was angry that such cynicism was being shown toward God on a day celebrating thankfulness. On the other hand, I couldn’t help but relate to Bart a little. I was at a time in my life when everything seemed out of control. I had no money, my life felt like it was stuck in neutral, and my future was looking pretty bleak. Why should I be thanking God for anything?

If you’ve ever been in my situation, I want to point you toward a passage of scripture that helped me put things in perspective,

“On the way to Jerusalem he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" And he said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.’” – Luke 17:11-19 

It’s easy to spend our lives worrying and obsessing over the problems of life. It’s also easy to overlook a blessing in times of need, or forget to be thankful when troubled times have been put to rest. Be sure you don’t become one of the nine lepers, who were so happy to be cured that they forgot who cured them.

Be Thankful.jpg

Regeneration - Mikal Mathews

Regeneration this year has been quite impactful for me because of the whole subject of reconciliation. All of the speakers, Dr. Cornel West, Steve Carter, and Captain Lisa Barnes, were excellent keynoters at this young adult retreat giving wise counsel and real talk to those who definitely need to hear what they were saying. The Scripture was on 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 which states “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new generation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: That God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” I really needed to pay attention to this because I am still dealing with things that I am not absolutely happy with, but God reminds us that we must become ambassadors of reconciliation traversing towards the uncomfortable uncertainty, as well as acknowledging little blessings, to breathe unknowingly and at the same time praising God. I learned that we must not be functional atheists who know the word but would never dare to become the word, but instead we must be infused with the Heavenly Father’s piety to reach out to those whom most wouldn’t even give a single glance. Fortunately, God has awesomely given us his Son as an example to help us reflect and respond to the grieving world. I would rather be a prisoner of hope locked up with the chance of compassion for God’s message than be a free man influenced by such desolate discouragement the world has falsely proclaimed. I’ll end with this thought; as Christians we must become ruthless in this spiritual warfare as we fight for the lost souls in this world while proclaiming the Good News.

"Raised by the Corps" - by Captain Scott Strissel

Dear Salvation Army, “Raised by the Corps”

Posted on December 8, 2014December 8, 2014 by Pastor'sPonderings

Dear Salvation Army, 
You have a purpose and reason to exist.  Don’t ever forget that!
You will never be a mega-church, nor truly ever fit the “church” model…we are more than that.
We serve within brokenness.  There are countless families, children and people who come to us bent and broken by life and sin.  We cannot shirk these responsibilities.  It is like a Lighthouse to many.  Turn off the light and the jagged rocks will capture these souls.  Do not let your lights go out!  Do not take these great responsibilities to the bent and broken for granted!

Christian Orphans…
It’s not so much a physical orphan than it is a spiritual one.  Many parents drop their children off or have them picked up by the Army van on Sundays or for certain programs in the week.  These Christian orphans do not have a rich soil of faith at home and are left to figure out this relationship with Christ on their own…but are the corps raising them up to be strong children of faith?  What an amazing opportunity we have with these young people!

I have heard many of these such stories.  Even my Grandmother came to the Army and was raised by the Corps in her faith.  I would imagine many out there who are reading this can relate, either by having taught a Sunday school class to such children or having been an orphan Christian.

Dear Corps…
Never stop teaching these children!  You might be the only light of Christ that they experience in this world.
It might become burdensome to pick them up every Sunday.  I might grind against you that their parents show absolutely no interest in the spiritual nourishment of their children…but don’t give up on the child!  Keep feeding them breakfast on Sundays.  Keep teaching them the principles of this faith.  Keep striving to improve their daily lives.  Don’t give up!  What an awesome responsibility for not only the future of this Army, but the future Saints of the next generation!  The seeds you plant, or water now could blossom and grow into a future leader or preacher of the gospel.  Take this seriously!  Heed these words:  What you do with the young people who come into your corps MATTERS!

“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
-Jim Henson.

Be something that these future saints will aspire to!
Be their hope!
Be consistent in your faith!
Be the evidence of Christ’s love for their lives!

Dear Salvation Army,
What a great honor and power you wield in the formation of these priceless children of God!
Keep on keeping on…and don’t you ever quit on them!

Something more for our Army world to ponder today!


TROOP QUESTS Mini- Grants awarded

The Troop Quest mini grant award committee has met and decisions have been made! The Award recipients are being contacted and we hope to soon share details of the exciting outdoor, asset rich, education and relational activities they have taken part of! While, it's too late for this round... if you are interested in receiving a mini grant for your Troops, keep checking back and we will post information when something is coming available!

The Count is in! - Character Building

Hello Midland Youth!

Our registrations are in!

As of this date: we have a total of 380 Young People & 39 registered leaders enrolled in Character Building Programs throughout the Midland Division!

Moonbeams - 30

Explorers - 88

Sunbeams - 124

Rangers - 41

Girl Guards- 97

We are looking forward to meeting everyone and to receiving updates & emblem requests.

Hopefully all these terrific young people will have opportunities to be involved in the "mission" during Christmas... my kids actually like going to nursing homes, sorting food and coats and (Hannah) loves Bell Ringing!

Have a great week!

Capt. Mindie


Prayers for Mike

Good Morning Friends of Midland Youth!

Please be in prayer for our Maintenance Man Mike Center.

we will try to keep updates on Facebook &/or Twitter to update you as we are able.

Much love & prayers to Mike!

Community Vulnerability


We all have different perspectives. Since no two paths are similar and the many souls of a community have diverged at a particular place at the same time, we must interact in order to pass each other and to continue on our separate paths. Some will decide to continue on the same path longer, serendipity will reunite others, and there are those who will go in polar opposite directions never to meet again.

We often forget that in community.

While we can and should aim to be grouped as one entity, we are each a part, on its own ... ships passing. I'm transmogrifying community to an image of lost travelers stranded in the woods. The baggage we each carry is all but light. Some could say it is all metaphorically equal, as it all depends on how you choose to carry your weight. You can let it overpower you and ultimately resign to succumb to it or you can accept it as a part of who you are and keep moving forward with the understanding that you can't drop the weight and wouldn't want to because it has conditioned you to many harsh realities of the world. And then there are times where our baggage can be lightened when an individual possessing the latter mentality walks alongside us and offers to bare some of our weight. We can catch our breath as this happens. And so eventually the first opportunity will come when the weight can be shifted back and it will feel as if the burden is lighter with the added weight because we have the new found resolve and peace that comes from knowing we have others along our side who are not only willing to carry our weight but do so without expectation.

It's the expectations that scare me the most about community vulnerability. Community and vulnerability. I read in an article recently that we can start experiencing love most fully once we finally let go of preconceived notions of what love is supposed to be. However, as I'm writing this post for a church that is The Salvation Army, I feel a justified obligation to factor in religion. God has already spelled out what love is, both in Word and deed. These are expectations we have for how transformative and fulfilling love can be among a community of believers. Yet these two words really do love no justice, as it's so much more than that. The vulnerability which acts as a vessel for love (to your heart, if you will) is met with acceptance from the perspective of someone you trust, who won't manipulate you. Trust is found in the dark when, ironically, there's no light switch to conceal the parts of you that you want no one else to see. It's hard to find your way along this path that one would hope leads to salvation, when you haven't extended your hand to anyone alongside you to carry their weight. In life, when you least expect anything is when it comes. Why is that? What does that say about love -- community -- vulnerability? Possibly, if we put down our armor (read: baggage filled with expectation) and catch our breath with this lighter load we will converge on a place (either concrete or abstract), a community, where we accept one another's differences and are drawn together closely to experience whatever incarnation of love God decides to put in our paths.

And carry on.

External links:

Salvation Army Produced Young Adult Bible Study

  Click image to open study

Click image to open study

“Sanctified – A Lifestyle is inspired by a short series of studies on the book of Philippians with the desire to create a resource written by young adult Salvationists made for young adult Salvationists.

The nine contributors to this study come from all over the world and are very passionate about living holy lives in every circumstance. Each study follows a simple pattern beginning with a biblical exploration of the text (biblical perspective) with questions; a more personal approach relating the passage to daily life, with futher questions for discussions (lifestyle perspective) and concludes with some very practical points that can be carried out (act!). It is hoped and prayed that this material will teach, encourage and inspire young adults as they study aspects of this letter and put it into practice.” 

What is one thing that I feel God has gifted me with in order to fulfill this calling that He has placed on my life?

This is certainly a first for me!  I have never written a blog before, but I graciously accepted the offer when John asked me tooJ  If you were to ask anyone around the office, they would certainly tell you that I love to write-usually cards or letters-but I love to try new things! 

As I thought about what to share in this blog, I tried to think about one thing that I am passionate about in youth ministry.  What is one thing that I feel God has gifted me with in order to fulfill this calling that He has placed on my life?  Through much pondering, it came back to where it always does, our mission statement:


The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian church, Its message is based on the Bible, Its ministry is motivated by the love of God.  Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.


As you can see by our mission statement, we try to meet human needs…and this generation of children and young adults has some very real needs.  We as youth workers can find ourselves overwhelmed with trying to meet the needs of our young people.  We brainstorm, we plan, we strategize, which are all very important; but if Christ isn’t at the center, then it is all for nothing.  We meet the needs in order to share the message, God’s love.  We as youth leaders need to stay connected to Christ and His message in order to share it with our young people.  I know that I am not telling you anything new; but hopefully it will encourage you to hang in there!

Remember Isaiah 55:11

“so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”

Gods word is never shared in vain, it will not come back empty! 


I would also like to leave you these 10 verses of encouragementJ


  1. "It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed." -Deuteronomy 31:8
  2.  "I have set the LORD continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken." -Psalm 16:8 
  3.  "When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can [mere] man do to me?" -Psalm 56:3-4
  4.  "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16.33
  5. "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." -Philippians 4:6-7
  6. "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." -John 14.27
  7. "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance." -Psalm 32:7-8
  8. “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty,  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want,  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” –Philippians 4:11-13
  9. "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles." -Psalm 34:17
  10. "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace." -Romans 8:6


I pray that you find encouragement in these scriptures.

God Bless you and your ministries!