More than turkey and pumpkin pie.

IMG_8123“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night…for you, O Lord, have made me glad by your works; at the works of your hands I sing for joy.” Psalm 92:1-2, 4

Thanksgiving.

Just the word makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy as visions of turkey, family, and pecan pie dance through my head. This has always been in my top three favorite holidays because it’s all about three of my favorite things: food, family, and gratitude. But what if there is more to Thanksgiving than spending the last Thursday of November stuffing your face, watching the Macy’s parade and hanging out with family?

Last year I had to face this question head on. As many of you know, I spent the last year in Brighton, England. This included holidays. Thanksgiving was the first holiday I had ever spent away from family. I’d like to tell you that I handled it like a champ, but that would be a bold-faced lie. Let me quickly paint a picture for you—I was in a foreign country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. I had to work on Thanksgiving Day. I was away from my family. My computer crashed. I got sick. Needless to say, I was pretty (read: extremely) emotional as I navigated this first holiday on my own in these less than ideal circumstances.

But I wouldn’t trade Thanksgiving 2013 in Brighton, England for anything. Why?

Because it was the Thanksgiving that the Lord taught me what giving thanks is really all about.

After my computer crashed, I ended up sitting on the Brighton beach, crying my little heart out, taking my hurt and loneliness to the Lord. The Lord spoke clearly to me on that beach, teaching lessons that turned my perspective of thanksgiving and life lived in Him upside down. By no means have I perfected these lessons, but as I read through what the Lord was speaking to my heart last Thanksgiving, I fall to the ground in awe of who He is and the love He has for us all over again. Here’s the excerpt from my journal–

“Today I rejoice. Not because it’s easy. Not because I have everything I want. Not because family is around. Not because traditions are being kept. Not because things are going my way. But because the Lord, the Most High Creator, has made me glad by His works and faithfulness. Thanksgiving has nothing to do with what we have or who we’re with. It has everything to do with the One we have and the One with us. Thank you, Jesus, for this day that is full of mourning and joy. Thank you for teaching me how to rejoice daily in who you are and who I am in you, a rejoicing that is not contingent on family, food, laptops, or a holiday. Thank you for this Thanksgiving Day away from America and the commercialized, hyper-spiritualized phrases and ways of Thanksgiving. Thank you for this lesson in true thanksgiving—to rejoice daily in the broken and ugly because it just so turns out that You’re the Master of turning that which is dreadful and despised into a radiant expression of Your splendor.”

Thanksgiving.

It’s bigger than America.

It’s bigger than us.

It all flows from the One who created and sustains all things. It’s daily delighting in who Jesus is, how He loves us, and how He’s moving in and around us. Let’s all be intentional this Thanksgiving season, and beyond, to platform the one who gives us life, breath, and being. Let’s sit still and reflect on who God is and how great His unwavering faithfulness is towards His people. For it is from our reveling in His grace that genuine thanks, joy, and life-change happen. Now that’s true thanksgiving.

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HoopDeeDone

HoopDeeDoo 2014 has come and gone, and what a night/morning it was! There were 196 students and 28 volunteers that took part in the fun. Of that 196 students, around 30 came as guests. This is incredibly exciting and is a huge reason why this event is a part of our DNA. Here’s a recap of the HDD happenings–

Things got kicked off at 9 pm as registration began. Students hung out in the worship center as everyone got checked in and registered. Then the real fun kicked off at 10 pm as the dodgeball tournament began! Students created their own teams and were put into a bracket. Junior high played upstairs in the West Wing and High school was down in the Brick. Here are some photos from dodgeball!

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Dodgeball finished up around 11:45 pm. Everyone gathered in the gym, where Cory talked about why we do HoopDeeDoo and presented the Gospel. Then students got their waivers for JumpStreet. loaded the buses. and off we went! We were at JumpStreet from 1:30-3:00 am. If you’ve never been to JumpStreet, you’re cheating yourself out of a blessing! A huge room filled with trampolines, dodgeball on trampolines, a mechanical bull, a foam pit, and a slide–what more could you want? Needless to say, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the time spent at JumpStreet (and only one person got injured!). Here are some photos from JumpStreet!

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IMG_4475At 3 am we loaded up the buses one last time and headed to MainEvent. We got there around 3:45 am and were there until the event ended at 7 am. At MainEvent students got to bowl, play unlimited video games, play pool, play laser tag, and eat pizza. Oh and sleep (for some reason they were tired?!). It was a great ending to a fun-filled night!

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Thank you to all who supported and helped out with HoopDeeDoo! It was another one for the books. We are HoopDeeDone for 2014. Over and out.

HDD is the place to be.

One of the most popular app games is called “What’s the Word.” In this game, you are given four pictures and have to figure out what word they stand for. Today we’re going to play our own little version of What’s the Word! Can you figure out what word these three photos stand for? OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA d_27511_md scooby+doo+bee+doo If you guessed HoopDeeDoo, you hit the nail on the head! You might be asking yourself, what in the world is HoopDeeDoo? Easy! HoopDeeDoo (lovingly called HDD by some) is a time where you can throw lots of dodge balls at other people. It’s a place where you can stay up all night with hundreds of your friends, experiencing the joy of jumping around in a room full of trampolines, having hundreds of video games at your fingertips, bowling until you are exhausted and then dominating your friends in some laser tag. HoopDeeDoo is awesome and it is coming soon (a week from Friday to be exact!!!).

If you have a pulse, you want to be a part of this event. It is an all-night lock out for students in grades 7-12 on November 14-15. We will begin at the church at 9:00pm on November 14, then we will then hop onto some buses and travel to Jump Street for a few hours and then end the night at Main Event. Everything will be over at 7am on Saturday morning, November 15.

In case you are wondering, HoopDeeDoo is not just something we do for the heck of it. It is a great opportunity for your student to bring along that friend who is super weary about all things church. It is a night of pure fun and it serves as a connection point for things we do later in the year. Many of the kids who come to HoopDeeDoo end up coming to our weekly activities, Chi Alpha and even camp. HoopDeeDoo is a great way for our doors to open wide and for students from all different walks of life all across Dallas to make memories, build community, and join in on the fun!

Another awesome part? Well, every part is pretty stinking awesome, but what’s even more awesome? Adults are welcome! We need adult volunteers to help us make this whole thing work. If you are interested please let us know. Come hang out with us this November. Come see what we are all about. Come and learn why we get so excited about this word: HoopDeeDoo.

If you haven’t registered your student yet, click here to get them signed up for the fun-filled event that HoopDeeDoo 2014 is going to be! It is only $65 for everything, which is the most affordable HoopDeeDoo has ever been! Register your student today!


Written by Thomas Seith. Thomas is the Junior High Guys Intern. He has been on board the THSM crew since August 2013. Alongside pouring into middle school dudes, Thomas is also soaking up as much as he can while studying at Dallas Theological Seminary. In his free time, Thomas is counting down the days till he gets to marry his beautiful fiancé, Emily, in January and is enjoying learning how to cook.