Friday, July 13, 2012

Thoughts from this Week

Youth and Families,
This email finds you at the end of a week likely filled with sadness, confusion, and many questions. I pray, however, that this has also been a week marked by moments of extraordinary faith, hope, and love.

This summer several of the adults and youth involved in our ministry are reading Elijah's story, found in 1 Kings and 2 Kings. Each week a staff person has posted their thoughts on our blog. Given the circumstances of this week, I thought it appropriate to share my thoughts with all of you today. 

1 Kings 19 speaks a word directly to where many of us find ourselves this week. Elijah is at one of the low points of his life, so much sorrow has overcome him that asks the Lord to take his life. God graciously says no. In fact, God calls Elijah to do just the opposite. Elijah wants to lay down and die, God tells him to get up and go: to walk 40 days and then climb a mountain where he will meet the Lord. At the top of the mountain he finds a chaotic scene, a scene filled with fire, earthquakes, and fierce wind. Then, suddenly, in the midst of the chaos there is a moment of sheer silence. Elijah hears a voice, the Lord says, "Elijah..."

Whether you are at a great low point in your life this week, or whether your mourning is for your brothers and sisters right now, may this story from Elijah be your story for this week. May you listen for where the Lord might lead you, may you trust Him and go, and when you arrive may the Lord again meet you with the word you need to hear. A word for you, or a word for you to share with someone else.

None of us know exactly how to care for those who are grieving, but we do know that the Holy Spirit is with them and with us. Will you take a few moments in the midst of the chaos this weekend to create silence and listen? Who knows what God will do with that time. 

I am immensely proud of our youth and families. I believe that just as Elijah was an agent for God in the Old Testament, that you are agents for God today, being used to bring the good news of Jesus to the world.

I am proud to be with you. 

Yours in the ever-lasting and ever-merciful love of Christ,

PS - It should go without saying that the entire youth staff is available to you and your family during this time. We are available to talk, pray, or just listen to both teens and parents. It would be an honor to visit with you. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Week #1- 1 Kings 17- Elijah

Welcome to our Biblestudy blog!  For the rest of the summer, we are challenging you guys to read one chapter out of 1st Kings, a book that tells the story of Elijah, per week; we as a staff will be sharing our thoughts and questions on the verses you all are reading.  Cant wait to hear your thoughts on Elijah!

I Kings: Elijah

Setting-  Elijah is one hardcore prophet in the ancient country of Israel, and he’s against this equally hardcore yet totally evil king named Ahab.  This ranks right up there with the strongest nemesis of all time; Think Harry Potter/Voldermort, Batman/the Joker, Texas/Oklahoma- they are both huge, and larger than life, and sold out to destroying each other.  The size of their opponent just drives them to even greater heights.  

The books of 1 & 2 Kings are both historical and didactic – that means they not only tell us what has happened in the past, but also teach us something about the present and the future; by teaching us about what has happened, they tell us what will happen and what we can expect from God as well. 

Eijah is a prophet- means that he has the tremendous power and responsibility to speak for God.  This gets him into trouble when he lives in a country run by a very evil king- a king who wants to do just about everything except follow God.  Ahab is doing everything he can to draw the people of Israel away from god, and Eijah is doing all he can to draw them to god- its an epic tug-of-war match for the heart and soul of the entire nation.  

In the process, Elijah ends up in a few truly epic moments- at one point he has a showdown with 450 false prophets - and he defeats (read: kills in an epic divine grudge match) all of them. 

In spite of all his highlights, Eijah is also a real person- he does absolutely huge things, but he has very real emotions.  He trusts God, but sometimes he gets scared.  He believes in God, but sometimes doubts arise. He follows God, but sometimes he gets tired and wants to quit (and even asks for God to kill him).  He definitely lives it out, but he definitely expresses genuine, raw emotion at times, and that gives me a little hope that ordinary humans can live extraordinary lives through god.  


Friday, March 9, 2012

Most Successful Swishin' for Mission Ever Because of You!

Dear HPUMC Youth and Parents -
     On behalf of the Youth Ministries at Highland Park United Methodist Church - we would like to sincerely thank you for such a successful Swishin’ for Mission!  Thank you for volunteering, for playing, and for sponsoring.
With your help and contribution, we had one of our most successful years yet.  This year we had a record number of 94 teams registered and the largest amount donated by our corporate sponsors!  All together, Swishin’ for Mission brought in $26,000!!!
     We just can't thank you enough for your donation and endless hours of service to this great mission.  It's not only great for our ministry and our church - but a great blessing to everyone in our community.  Most importantly, your gifts will make a difference in the lives of those around the world whom our mission trips serve!

We would like to send a very special thank you to:
Our fundraising committee heads Phyllis Walker and Robin Bagwell, as well as Sharon Popham and Karey Lewis.  Together they were able to acquire a record number of corporate and family sponsors
Valerie Meletio for coordinating all of our wonderful volunteers
Sara & Marty Alleman for organizing concessions
We would also like to say thank you to all of our corporate and family sponsors:
The Landes Family
The Dedman Family
The Tichenor Family
You’ve Been Flagged
The John L. Adams Family
The Kulas Family
Benchmark Title
Cantina Laredo
Caron Foundation of Texas, Inc.
Community Partners of Dallas
Cornerstone Café
Clicks Billards
Cooper Aerobics
Rusty Taco
Texas Legends
Bank of Texas
Refined Realty/Donna Parker
Stewart Title
Zogg Benefits
Studio Movie Grill
Kid Biz
The Bagwell Family
The Helm Family
The Vendig Family

We couldn't do it without the help and support of ALL of you!  Thank you again for such a fantastic Swishin’ for Mission!

Look forward to next year already!

With gratitude,

Stephen Lohoefer

Monday, February 20, 2012

Communication for Spring Break Mission San Antonio 2012

While we are in San Antonio we want to keep you as updated and informed as possible.  We’ve designed several avenues for you to access that information as easily as possible while we are away; Twitter, HPUMC Youth website, our Blog, and our Facebook page.  Please read below for more information. 

Twitter- If you are on twitter, please follow @HPUMCYouth.  If you want to get an account, head to, signup for an account, and choose to follow us.  Twitter is essentially a mini-blog or mini message board.  This is where in 140 characters/letters or less you can say whatever you want.  We will use this to post thoughts from the day, photos, and videos.  You can access this from both your computer or if you have a smart phone.  The youth staff is all on twitter, so if you would like to follow us we are;

Stephen Lohoefer- @StephenLohoefer
Phil Dieke- @PhilDieke
Bill Gepford- @BillGepford
Andrew Beard- @Hasabeard
Hillary Barnard- @HillBarnard

If you have no interest in getting a twitter account, our twitter feed/posts will be on our website, our facebook, and our blog.  You can also just go to and see our twitter feed without logging in or getting an account.  When we do twitter updates, we will tag our tweets with #HPFearFactor.  So if you tweet something about the trip, please tag it with #HPFearFactor as well.

HPUMC Youth website-  You can access this by using the URL or you can navigate there through the website.  On the homepage we have a twitter feed that will update every time we tweet something.  As well on the youth page you can access the HPUMC Youth Blog.  We will probably be having youth updating this throughout the trip. 

Blog-  This is the website that you are currently somehow you got here before, but here is what we'll be putting on this site.  We’ll have youth post thoughts from the day and possibly photos and videos.  With inconsistent Internet connection, this will potentially be the least updated form of communication.  The blog can be accessed from a computer or a smart phone.  There are several ways to access the blog; type in the URL listed above, go to the youth website and click “the blog” link under the video on the right side of the homepage, or scan the QR code below for quick access to a mobile version for your smart phone.
Facebook-  Our facebook page will have our twitter feed as well as photos and videos from our trip.  You can access this by going to the URL listed above, from our website, or just typing in “hpumc students” in the facebook search.  You will need to “like” our page to have it show on your news feed.

We hope you will take advantage of these opportunities to see what we are up to while we are gone.  Please let us know if you have any questions and feel free to pass this information to family and friends so they can stay updated on our trip as well.     

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Swishin' for Mission Donors Needed!

Dear HPUMC Youth Families and Friends!

We are excited to announce our upcoming Swishin' for Mission basketball tournament. It is a great event we host annually and this year we need your help!

Swishin' for Mission is a basketball tournament that raises funds for HPUMC’s local and international youth missions – it is our only fundraiser for the year, which enables our youth to serve both our local community and the world at large.  With your help, last year we were able to send over 400 youth on our mission trips!  Whether you can donate $5 or $50,000 – we need your help!  Below you will find listed the donation levels and their corresponding recognition for you or your business.

Silver Sponsors           $500 - $1,000            Names/company listed on t-shirts.
Gold Sponsors             $1,001 - $2,500         Names and Logo on t-shirts.
Platinum Sponsors      $2,501 +                    All of the above and a banner in the gym.   

Here are some of the things our youth have to say about these experiences:

Mission trips are life changing in unspeakable ways…you are constantly building upon your relationship with God, and the people around you. Giving back to the people that are less fortunate than we are really allows you to grow as a person and a Christian. Without mission trips, I have no clue where my faith would be.” - Blakely Lott

“God doesn't call us to be comfortable he calls us to love and be loved.  When you get outside your comfort zone to love a stranger you truly witness God's kingdom” – Lauren Bagwell

The impact these mission opportunities have in the lives of our youth is undeniable, but we want all youth to have access to these same experiences and your financial gift allows us to make that possible.

We need individuals, families, organizations, or companies that will support our youth in this endeavor by donating to Swishin' for Mission.

Your support is vital and can be made out to Highland Park United Methodist Church 3300
Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205
Attn: Lucy McDaniel, or you can donate online -

We sincerely appreciate your consideration and we thank you for helping these youth serve those in need.

Stephen Lohoefer
Director of Youth Ministries

Monday, January 23, 2012

Swishin' For Mission

Time to Register for . . .

24th Annual 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament
Thursday – Sunday, February 23-26

The Youth Department’s 24th annual Swishin’ for Mission is a 3 on 3 basketball tournament for 3rd through 8thgraders which is held at the Biggers Building.  Teams are gender and grade specific.  This event is an outreach into the community and fundraiser for our youth.  The proceeds from this event help underwrite our spring break and summer mission trips.

$120 per team

Contact Lucy McDaniel with questions

To get more information and team registration:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Summer Mission Trip

The Youth department is so excited to announce that for our Summer Mission Trip we are headed to............ Pensacola, Florida!
We are fired up about going to Pensacola, as it is going to be a great trip – West Pensacola has twice the poverty rate of the rest of Florida, so we will stay busy fixing houses and rebuilding lives.  On our free days, we will head to the beautiful beaches for some fun in the sun!   

Here’s a snapshot of the details:

Dates: June 10-16
Cost:  January 1 - March 27: $749; March 28 - May 3: $799;   May 4 - June 1: $850
Who: Anyone is welcome! Grades 6 - 12 (that does include graduating seniors) – non-members are always welcome, so bring your friends!
Parent Meeting Dates:  Mandatory parent meetings will be on Tuesday, May 8 at , and Monday, May 14 at in the Youth Basement
– A parent or legal guardian must attend one meeting!

Don’t forget! This is a great trip to invite your friends on, especially if they have never been on a mission trip before! 

Your invitation could be the difference in their life!