Why 'Young Life Capernaum' Is Something SO Special

Why 'Young Life Capernaum' Is Something SO Special

"There is a plan and a purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability" Sharron Angle
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You may have heard of Young Life in high school but what you may never have heard of is Young Life Capernaum.

If you haven’t, let me just paint a quick picture for you of what a club might look like. Students arrive with the biggest smiles on their faces and greet their friends with the best hugs and happiest greetings. Students and their leaders sit down for a meal together and get to know each other through genuine conversation and abounding smiles. Club begins, we scream Taylor Swift songs at the top of our lungs and the craziest dance parties begin. Messy games encourage contagious laughter.

The speaker comes up and reminds us of the way we were fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of Jesus.

Capernaum is a branch of Young Life that gives students with intellectual and physical disabilities the opportunity to build a relationship with Jesus while also experiencing adventure, fun and love from leaders. We believe that people with disabilities deserve just as much as any other person to hear the truth of the gospel.

The term Capernaum comes from a story from the bible in Mark 2.

The story includes a group of friends who help their disabled friend reach Jesus by carrying him to the place where Jesus is known to be miraculously healing people. They are overwhelmed by a large crowd when they arrive but refusing to give up, they lower him down through the ceiling to meet Jesus. Jesus is astounded by their unwavering faith and heals the disabled man.

Capernaum is a representation of just that. Leaders walk alongside students in an attempt for them to experience the remarkable love, joy, grace and mercy Jesus has to offer. Everyone is given the opportunity to be abundantly loved by Jesus, regardless of their abilities and Capernaum is an environment that fosters that belief.

Having been a buddy/leader for several years now, I can honestly say that there is no greater joy than seeing a student sing a worship song and participate in a small group discussion about the love that Jesus has to offer people of all abilities! Some of the students may be non-verbal but it is so evident through their expressions and body language that God is doing great work in their hearts during Capernaum club. There is so much to be learned from the Capernaum students, as their constant joy and reliance on the Lord is so evident.

Capernaum doesn’t by any means always look perfect.

You never know exactly what may come up at any given moment whether it is an added singer that jumps up on stage with the worship leaders, a spontaneous dance party or a chant during the club talk but that is what makes Capernaum so beautiful.

Every student is loved for everything God made them to be and what could possibly be more incredible than that?

Cover Image Credit: Anna Parker

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15 Bible Verses To Calm An Anxious Mind

Finding peace in the midst of turmoil.
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Anxiety hits us from all directions. Whether it be school stress, work stress, a stressful family situation, or anything else in life that causes us to feel unsettled, tired, and afraid of the future; anxiety can feel like it's taking over our lives.

As someone who constantly struggles with anxiety, I know how hard it is to find peace in the midst of a stressful situation. When we feel anxious about something, we generally try to do all that is in our power to control the situation. When we can't control it, we become even more anxious. So how do we stop this downward spiral of anxious turmoil?

We must turn to the one who is in control of all things. God holds all of our lives in his hands and is the only one who can calm our anxious minds. When we frantically struggle to put the pieces of our life together on our own, we will fail.

The only way to gain peace in the midst of anxiety is to turn to God, trusting in His perfect will and His power to hold us in His hands. The best way to remember this truth is to look to the Bible. Here are some verses to help us remember God's provision in the midst of anxiety.

1. Philippians 4:6

We don't have to be anxious when we can freely talk with God about our needs. We can cry out to Him for help and He will hear us.

2. John 14:27

Peace is a wonderful thing. Notice how it says, "I do not give it as the world does." We have to remember that worldly peace is only temporary, but God's peace is forever.

3. Isaiah 41:10

Not only will God give us peace, but He will also strengthen us. The image of God "upholding us with His righteous right hand" is pretty powerful and very comforting.

4. Psalm 94:19

Anxiety can make us sad and upset, but knowing that God is with us can bring so much joy in the face of desolation.

5. Psalm 34:4

Freedom from fear is so empowering! Imagine God setting us free from all the fear that holds us back. Oftentimes fear can make us feel trapped, but God can set us free.

6. 1 Peter 5:7

God cares about us so much, that He allows us to cast all of our worries on His shoulders.

7. 2 Corinthians 12:10

Human capacity is limited. We can by no means do everything, in fact, we can't do anything without the help of God.

8. Philippians 4:13

Nothing can hold us back or scare us when we have the strength of God.

9. Proverbs 3:5

We always try to lean on our own understanding, but it will never be enough. We try to control everything, but it will always fall through. It is because of this that we need to trust in the Lord for everything.

10. Matthew 6:25-34

This passage, while somewhat lengthy, is such a great reminder that God is truly in control of everything. We don't need to worry about a thing because He has it all planned out. We stress out about things that were never ours to worry about in the first place.

11. 2 Timothy 1:7

We were not created to be afraid, but to be empowered and loved by God.

12. Isaiah 26:3

If we simply keep God in the forefront of our minds, we will have perfect peace. Trust in Him brings the greatest peace.

13. Matthew 11:28-30

How comforting is this? Anxiety causes a lot of weariness but knowing that we can rest in God is amazing.

14. Jeremiah 29:11

God has a plan for us, so we don't need to worry about it. His plan is always good and always exactly what we need. His plans will always be better than anything we try to control ourselves.

15. Isaiah 41:13

When we feel anxious and afraid we can take comfort in knowing that God is reaching out His hand to us to help us trust Him and walk with Him.

While anxiety can feel overpowering or terrifying, we should not fear, but rather trust in the perfect and never-changing love and peace of God.

Cover Image Credit: Huffington Post

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You Are Chosen

To the girl who feels unwanted, unloved, or unworthy: You have a God who loves you and treasures you as His child.

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YOU ARE SO LOVED

John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ Jesus died for us."

God's love is unchanging. God's love is comforting. God's love is given to us through Jesus. God's love is shown to us by the Holy Spirit. God's love exhorts us to love others. We live our lives doubting love because we are surrounded by earthly relationships that fail and that are faltered, but God's love never fails.

He loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. He loves us to the point of death, even death on a cross.

So don't ever think you aren't loved because of someone's unkind words or doubt that there is someone who thinks highly of you because there is someone who calls you BELOVED and who LAVISHES you in His love.

YOU ARE A TREASURE

Deuteronomy 7:6 says "For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

Treasure is defined as "a quantity of precious metals, gems, or other valuable objects."

I don't often think of myself as valuable. But, Jesus sure did 2,000 years ago on the cross. We have been bought with a price. His death was for you and for me; therefore, you are given His love freely and you are valued by the One who created you. Proverbs 31 tells us that our value is more precious than jewels and our worth is far above rubies or pearls. Now, that's what I call special.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL

Jeremiah 1:5 says, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations."

Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

You are made in the image of God and that means you He formed you in the womb and had a plan for you are beautiful because God made you. Before you even entered this Earth, God knew what you were going to look like and what your character was faint to be. This is just proof showing how much God loves you and cares for you.

YOU ARE WANTED

Isaiah 43:1-2 says, "But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: 'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

He wants you and cares for you so much that He has called you His own. He has redeemed you and He has restored you. He has gone before you and taken care of you in the years before and will continue in the years to come. He protects you from the world and is with you always. We don't have to fear the future because He has already been down the paths that we have yet to cross.

YOU ARE CHOSEN

1 Peter 2:9 says, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love, he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing."

It's hard to think that we are chosen by God. But that's truly what we are as HIs children. He takes delight in us and calls us royalty. We are kings & queens in His heavenly palace. He calls us His own and says we are chosen to proclaim His excellencies. We, in our brokenness, get to do that only because He has radiantly redeemed us. Yes, you. Even in our complete mess, we have that privilege to love and praise Him because He has chosen to love us. Talk about lucky!

He didn't want Heaven without us, so He sent Jesus to die a death He didn't deserve and then rose again 3 days later so that we could be saved from eternal death. My sin was great and His love was greater. Now, we get to live redeemed and live for eternity under the reign of Jesus Christ.

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So thank you, Jesus, for loving me and then letting me love you in return! Thank you for choosing me; for telling me my worth; for telling me I am beautiful just the way you made me; and for telling me that I am wanted, loved, and treasured. I don't deserve this kind of love, but you give it freely and all I had to do was accept it. Now I get to live a life letting Jesus lead me. Jesus, you are WAY too cool!


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