Fall 2013 Kick-off Celebration

girls-combinedWe held our Fall 2013 kick-off celebration meeting to start out the new school year of Bright Lights.  We were so blessed that most of the girls were able to make it, and we were delighted to meet some new young ladies who plan to join us this year!

After a time of singing favorites from the Bright Lights songbook, we played a variety of fun games to help everyone get reacquainted again.  One of everyone’s favorites was “The Name Game” that we played during our meeting on friends last school year.

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We spent about 45 minutes playing games, and then took our snacks, tea, and hot apple cider out to the campfire to visit a bit before having a short devotional.  We talked about Jesus being the Light of the world (John 8:15) and the importance of walking in His light.  We also talked about how Jesus calls us as believers to be the light of the world (Matt. 5:14) and how this should be a reflection of His light into the darkness around us.  The closer we are to Jesus, the brighter we will be reflecting His light to those who are lost in the darkness of this world.  We ended with singing:

Lord, I will shine Your light, with joy and a smile that’s bright.
I will seek You all my days; Lord, I want to learn Your ways.
In this world of night, Lord, I will shine Your light.

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Everyone stayed past our ending time of 8:30 to enjoy more fellowship around the fire and in the house.  It was such a wonderful evening, and we are so looking forward to seeing each young lady throughout this new school year!  See you all on October 3! :)

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Friends

At our last Bright Lights meeting (February 28), we discussed the important topic of friends.  We talked about how we are extremely influenced by the people around us.  Satan knows this and therefore wants to brings friends into our lives who will lead us in the wrong directions.  Wrong friends will keep us from living for the Lord; on the other hand, godly friends will encourage and strengthen us in the ways of the Lord.

We took a look at the biblical examples of Rehoboam and Daniel.  King Rehoboam listened to his friends that he grew up with rather than wise counsel.  As a result the kingdom of Israel rebelled against him (1 Kings 12:1-19).  Daniel on the other hand is an example of what a godly friend is like.  He took a stand for what he knew was right and his three friends followed his example (Daniel 1).  Who knows?  Perhaps we wouldn’t have the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego thrown into the fiery furnace if Daniel hadn’t been a godly friend (Daniel 3).  Whether we realize it or not, we are very influenced by those whom we choose as our friends.

Friends influence us
Friends influence us

On of the things we discussed was the four purposes of friendship:

  • To give spiritual encouragement (Romans 1:11-12)
  • To comfort (2 Corinthians 1:4)
  • To sharpen (Proverbs 27:17)
  • To work together for the kingdom of God (Acts 12:25, Philippians 2:25)

For a fun object lesson, we made “Friendship Fudge” with the different ingredients representing different aspects of a godly friendship.  We ate it for snack time… yummy! :)

The ingredients of a godly friendship
The ingredients of a godly friendship
Taking turns mixing the fudge
Taking turns mixing the fudge

It is okay to have unsaved friends or weak Christian friends, but they need to be “ministry friends.”  The purpose of these friendships need to be to win them to Christ or help them grow in the Lord.  To illustrate this, one girl stood on a chair while two others tried to pull her down.  At the same time, she was trying to pull them up.  This quick object lesson reminded us that we need to be cautious around these friends – make sure that you are influencing them, rather than them influencing you.

Object lesson: its easier for friends to pull you down than for to pull them up
Object lesson: its easier for friends to pull you down than you for to pull them up

Earthly friendships can be sweet for a time, but they do not satisfy.  Friends will fail and disappoint us, but Jesus never will.  He is more to us than any other friend could be (John 15:13)  Perhaps we don’t have any close friends in our lives right now because He wants us to focus on cultivating our friendship with Him.  We talked about some ways that we can get to know our best Friend:

  • Spend time alone with Him – good friends love spending time together.
  • Learn to get to know Him – good friends are interested in getting to know each other better
  • Demonstrate your love for Him by your actions – good friends are focused on needs of each other
  • Run into His arms whenever you need comfort – good friends comfort each other

In our small groups, we discussed the importance of being a giver in friendships rather than a taker.  If we have this focus, we are less likely to negatively influenced by our friends.

For our activity we played a fun game.  We divided into two teams on either side of a blanket.  Each team sent a girl to sit on their side.  When the blanket was dropped, it was a race to see who could say the other girl’s name first.  It was a lot of fun to watch some of them blank out.  It was a good activity for helping everyone to know the names of the girls in the group.

Who can say the other's name first?
Who can say the other’s name first?

Our snacks were provided by Sarah and Lily.  We also enjoyed the “Friendship Fudge” that we made for our object lesson.  We’re looking forward to seeing you all at our next meeting for our “Little Sister Night.”  Remember to RSVP so we know how many extra girls to plan for.

Fellowship and snacks
Fellowship and snacks

Humility

On November 29, all twenty girls and leaders gathered for a Bright Lights meeting on humility.

We learned that the word humility comes from the word Latin “humus” which means “of the ground” or “dirt”.  Humility is putting ourselves below or underneath, or giving someone else the upper position; it is an attitude of service and submission toward others.  We also talked about pride and its terrible consequences, and how it keeps us from being strong for the Lord in our youth.

During our lesson time, we were interrupted by a breaking newsflash from BLN (Bright Lights Network) News.  Reporter Alicia Sparks filled us in on an incidence that happened at a mission center donation processing hall.

Elizabeth and Jennifer (a.k.a. Sara and Havala)

From watching the security cameras at the center, it seems that two wealthy sisters – Miss Anna and Miss Sophia Proudhart – sold a very valuable gold ring and gave all of the proceeds as a donation. Yet, both of them fell dead after saying that they had given all the money.

Anna Proudhart – having just given a donation of 4 – ahem – $2,000

An interview with Elizabeth and Jennifer from the mission center indicated that they believed that pride – wanting to make themselves look as good as possible – was the reason for the fall and destruction of the Proudhart sisters… similar to the story of Ananias and Sapphira from the book of Acts.

Special thanks to Hannah, Havala, Deborah, and Abby for helping with the skit!

Anna, Sophia, and Alicia (a.k.a. Hannah, Deborah, and Abby)

We wrapped up with an object lesson using balloons.  We talked about how a balloon with no air is soft and pliable – in the same way God is able to use a humble person to bring Him much glory.  I then had a volunteer come up and blow up a balloon as much as she could and we talked about how a balloon with air is puffed up and can only be one shape – in the same way pride makes us consumed with ourselves and useless for God’s work.  Then we popped the balloon to remind us that pride is dangerous and leads to destruction.  As young ladies seeking to be bright lights for Jesus, we want to be humble – like the soft and pliable balloon – so that God can use us for His glory.

For our activity we divided into small groups to complete a humility test containing questions that required answers from the Bible.  However, the girls weren’t able to use a Bible, but rather had to use a set of note cards that had the Bible verses that they needed.  The only problem was that there was only one set of cards and so the teams had to trade to get the cards they needed.  To complicate things even more, there were 4 different penalty cards to slow the teams down.  Whenever a team started doing jumping jacks, singing “Joy to the World” really loud, lining up to get a drink at the water fountain, or running upstairs and back down again – everyone knew that they had gotten a penalty card.  It was a fun activity.  Unfortunately, we were having too much fun to take pictures.

As always we enjoyed our tea and fellowship time.  Autumn brought chocolate cupcakes, and Louisa & Olivia brought pumpkin bars (thanks girls!).  We have a lot of talented cooks in our group!

Enjoying tea, snacks, and fellowship

Remember, we will be going caroling for our next meeting… don’t forget to bring some goodies for the cookie plates we’d like to make.

Meekness

We had a wonderful Bright Lights meeting on November 15.  The Lord really blessed our time as we learned about meekness.

Meekness is a word that we don’t often hear anymore, yet its even more rare to see this character trait in someone’s life.  Meekness is giving up our rights and dying to our wants knowing that God is in control.  Although the world often thinks of meekness as weakness, it couldn’t be more opposite.  It takes a lot of self-control and strength to respond meekly to situations in which others violate our “rights”.

We learned about the meek examples of Moses, Corrie ten Boom, and Abraham Lincoln.  We also studied the meekness of our Savior, Jesus Christ – the ultimate example of meekness.  He left the glories of heaven (John 1:14), submitted to the will of His Father (John 8:28-29), and gave up physical comforts (Matt. 8:20).  He has set a pattern for us this area of our lives.

Meekness is a good way to stop an argument, because it is giving up our “right” to win an argument.  It is the ability not to argue because you realize that there is nothing to win, but much to lose.  Just as Proverbs 15:1 tells us that a soft answer turns away wrath, a meek response softens hearts and changes attitudes.

As part of the lesson, Deborah told us the Pineapple Story about missionary Otto Koning.  Otto planted a pineapple garden in Paupa New Guinea where he was a missionary, but the natives kept stealing the pineapples before he could get to them.  After nearly 6 years of anger and frustration, Otto yielded up his right to own the garden and gave it to God.  It was only after he understood that everything that he owned actually belonged to God and he could trust Him to take care of His property, that God was able to use Otto to bring others to salvation.

We, too, need to have this proper perspective of stewardship.  Meekness is trusting God to protect us, our reputation, our possessions – all the the things that are important to us – rather than fighting for these things ourselves.  When we surrender our “rights” to God, that is when we experience true joy (Isaiah 29:19)

After the lesson, each girl had some time to fill out a worksheet on surrendering our rights to God.  Then we split up into small groups for some discussion on how we can apply meekness in our lives in everyday situations.

For our activity, each small group had to find 6 balloons (in their color) around the church.  Each balloon had a Scripture reference inside.  They had to pop the balloons, look up the references, and write down what the verse said about the blessings of meekness.  The groups were racing against each other to see who could finish first.

Our yummy snacks were provided by Addison and Lily.  And we also had some pineapple to remind us of the Pineapple Story.