Last Sunday on Memorial Day weekend, the middle school girls headed over to Jiseon's after Sunday Service for a sleepover of epic proportions. The night included all manner of snacks, watching The Blindside, and a hilarious game of guessing the identity of the people in the baby pictures we brought in. Then on Monday we headed out to Santa Clara to California's Great America. Since we arrived right when it opened we had our pick of the rides. Girls showed what they were really made of as they rode thrilling rides like Flight Deck and Drop Zone, and some never dried out from riding water ride after water ride throughout the day. Even Lois and Sophie had their own set of rides to go on in Snoopy Land. We ended our day with a delicious dinner at In-n-Out before heading back to the East Bay. We had a great time, hope to see you there next time!
For the past few Fridays, Element has been going through our very own Multiply Your Talents! Students have been able to learn the tips and tricks of filming in YouthTube, and refining our vocal skills in the singing class. Can't wait to see how we can put these newly developed talents to use! On Sundays, Element has been trying something new-- having three services for high school, 7th and 8th grade, and one for 6th grade.
The 6th graders started off their time with an icebreaker game called "This is not funny," which of course was rather funny. Some favorites from the game were saying things like: "My Enlglish is gooder than yours ain't it?" and "I have the most magnificent eyebrows in the world don't I?" Try saying that with a straight face while looking someone else in the eyes! After the game, we learned about honesty from Tony Kim and all about how God wants us to be honest people (1 John 1:8-9). We saw a video clip from "The boy with striped pajamas" about how people are hurt when others lie, and we saw how a car commercial is full of lies that get us to desire things that won't really make us happy.
The 7th and 8th graders started off their time with a challenging activity-- trying to keep two tennis balls bouncing at the same time... sound easy? Think again! We quickly saw that no one was able to do it. And just as we're not able to keep the two going at the same time, we learned that we are not able to be friends with the world and with God at the same time. T. James went over 2 Timothy 4 and talked about an example of someone named "Sam Edward" who, because he had values he didn't deal with when he was young, ended up turning from his faith when things got hard. He used this as an illustration to DRAW DEMAS in our day (spell "SAM EDWARD" backwards and you'll see what I mean...)
At the high school service, Pastor Will went through 2 Timothy 4 and really spoke from his heart. He challenged the students to really take their faith seriously as they are the older student in Element and they have a lot of influence on the younger students. He went over the three type of characters Apostle Paul talks about: Demas, who loved the world and deserted Paul, Alexander, who was in the church but was a very harmful presence, and Mark and Luke, who were sources of encouragement to Apostle Paul. As we were all able to relate to Demas and Alexander, Pastor Will ended with the message of hope, that though we may be like this, there is hope that God can still use us if we are for Truth and if we don't try to justify our sins or ignore our sins.
After service, we had lunch and games together at North Loop where we played some mind-boggling games, including unscrambling letters to find words and decoding 3-D images. Wow, what a way to exercise our brains during the summer!
See you next week!
This past Friday, after hearing a message form the Truth Haters message series, we got a special treat all the way from Dallas, Texas-- Eight Hour Shift! They sang original music that they've written with some impressive scat singing as well. Members of the band also gave amazing testimonies about God's faithfulness in their lives, and how some of those experiences have influenced their music. On Sunday, the junior high students met at Teacher James and Claire's house, while the high school students met at Pastor Will and Esther's. We went over the week's DT text in 2 Timothy 2, about how we need to embody the traits of a soldier, athlete, and farmer in order to faithfully live out our Christian lives.
After service, we gathered together at North Loop for lunch and we got to know the teachers a little better through a game of "Guess the Teacher." Did you know that Teacher Linda personally met George W. Bush? And who knew Teacher Kevin was a Backstreet Boys fan? And ask me about how I lived without running water for 2 weeks and electricity for a month (yes, that's possible!).
See you next week!
The 4th of July weekend was another packed weekend for Element! The high school brothers took a road trip to Bryce and Zion Canyons in Utah while a few 8th-12th grade sisters had a lot of fun in the water at Lake Spaulding, Sand Harbor at Tahoe, and the Yuba River!
Here's a recap of the brothers' trip from Stephen Sun: This year for our July 4th outing, 14 High School MEN and 4 teachers took a road trip to the Bryce and Zion Canyons in Utah. We spent over 24 hours on the road, driving up to 6+ hours a day, and the long times in the cars were spent eating, sleeping, freestyle rapping, and singing boy band songs. Once we arrived at the canyons we did several hikes, including a hike into Bryce canyon to check out the hoodoos (spire-like rock formations), hiking through the Virgin River at Zion canyon, and hiking up to the Emerald Pools at Zion Canyon. It was a great time of fellowship, bonding, manliness, and marveling at and taking in the immense beauty of God’s creation as we traversed the canyons.
Meanwhile, back at home, Teacher James gave a message over the DT text this week in 2 Timothy 1 about the good deposit that we've been entrusted with. We then had lunch together at our favorite park (Tillman), and played Capture-the-flag and some water balloon relays. And of course, our time wouldn't be complete without a few water balloon attacks :)
See you next week!
This past weekend (6/25-6/28) was also our Element Summer Retreat! We kicked off our time together by welcoming all the 6th and 7th graders joining us for the first time.
We did something new for this retreat-- we formed teams made up of students of various ages, led by a high school team lead. Each team competed for points which could be awarded for helpful behavior, volunteering to answer questions, etc. We fostered some friendly competition, and by the end of the retreat, each team got to know each other very well :)
The theme for the retreat was "Image is Everything." Pastor Will and Teacher Dan Chiang gave messages on how we were created in God's Image, which is what makes us special and valuable in God's eyes, but that the world sells us a different image that we need to live up to. None of us could forget the illustration of the "physical image" that everyone can see, and "God's image," our heart that is not visible. When we buy into the world's lies, that image gets crushed. It is only when we accept God's invitation to come home that this image can be formed to become more like Jesus. Praise God for our brothers and sisters who accepted this invitation at the retreat-- Taylor Lee, Jackie Kim, Jackie Quan, and Josh Jeng! And many others made significant rededication decisions.
We also made sure to have plenty of fun-- we made 2 lake trips to go kayaking and rafting, and "Game Master Josh" led us into many... "creative" games to say the least. Each team had the chance to build a shelter out of newspaper and tape, become a human appliance, choreograph dance moves to "Joy to the World," and much more. And of course, our retreat wouldn't be complete without a time of singing and toasting marshmallows around the campfire.
Special thanks to Teacher Emily and Ellen for preparing our wonderful meals and to the praise band who came up to lead us into some rockin praise.
As Teacher Kevin would say: God is good... all the time, and all the time... God is good!
This past Friday, Element joined the rest of Gracepoint for the first session of Multiply Your Talents! We began our lessons in classes such as audio systems, Photoshop, photography, filming, video editing, guitar, and more. By the end of the summer, we should all be better equipped to serve God with our newly developed talents. After MYT, the 7th and 8th graders got a lesson from Teacher Esther on what a worldview is and how that affects our lives, while the high school students heard the first message from Pastor Ed's Truth Haters message series, and how we blame our past, others, and circumstances in order to avoid the truth about ourselves that we need to face.
On Sunday, the Jr. High students met at James and Claire's house, and the Sr. High students met at Pastor Will and Esther's for their home worship service. We started off our day with a hearty breakfast before we launched into our study of our DT in Nehemiah 1. We were challenged as we thought about the hard things we are called to do as the Nehemiahs of our day, to restore what is broken around us.
We finished off our time together at Godfrey Park. After meeting in our planning committees, Teacher Josh taught us a hilarious new game called "Eggs-Chickens-Dinosaurs-Rulers" before we began our sports time of ultimate frisbee, volleyball, and soccer. After several hours in the sun, I think we all ended the day just a couple shades darker than before.
See you next week!
Whew! What a packed Sunday. See you next week!
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This commercial was used as an illustration in this past Sunday's message. This commercial claims that the Porsche 911 is "quite simply, the purest expression of who we are." Pastor Will hopes that what we drive doesn't reflect who we are--he drives an old Nissan Quest minivan with dents all over it!