Amazing Race

We had a great time at our Amazing Race on Saturday.  We had an amazing group, but we missed a bunch of kids too!  Here is a video of what all happened on Saturday.

Great time! Congratulations to Brandon, Katie, Aleks, and Kate for dominating the event, and congratulations to Hunter for bringing the most guests!

For Sunday School we did a sort of Revelation rundown.  We divided the youth into three groups and each group had an assigned passage from Revelation.  Each group read and did their best at interpreting the passage and gave a report back to the full group, where I could fill in any blanks that were still present.  It was encouraging to see the kids struggle through their passages and still arrive at (generally) the orthodox interpretation of the passage.  Good stuff, really good stuff!

If I haven’t had a chance to meet with your child and do a survey with them, shoot me an email, or leave a comment here, and I will setup a meeting.  Thanks for all you do to support the student ministry!

Wearying The Lord

This is week two of our “Silent God?” series and we started off as usual with a fun game. This weeks challenge: Chocolate Unicorn. Here’s the video to prove it.

Good work Chandler!

Our lesson was again focused on what hampers our communication with God. This week we examined how we at times we weary the Lord with our words. Malachi 2:17 was our jumping off point and it claims that God is wearied by our calling evil, “good”, and our calling evildoers “blessed by God”. Also, God takes issue when people act as if He doesn’t exist and isn’t just.Do you remember these ads, when the trusted doctors were recommending cigarettes to us?  This is an example of calling evil – “good.”

I pointed out that in our contemporary society we too like to confuse Good and Evil. We think it is good to get free music, while ignoring the fact that usually it is stealing which makes it free. We call a relationship love, when truly it is lust. These lies, that we convince ourselves of, hamper our communication with God. God truly desires for us to be willing and able to call things as they are.

As parents, that means you have a God-given role to instruct your children with truth. You are to call things as they are according to the word and will of God. This means when you commit a sin and your children are aware of, you admit it, you tell them that what you did was sin, and then discuss the forgiveness of God with your child. Your kids look to you for guidance, so help them.

Ifyou catch your child in sin, call the sin what it is. Don’t worry about hurting his feelings. If he is having inappropriate relations with a girl, it’s not a “mistake” or even a “lapse in judgment” it’s a sin. That doesn’t mean you hate him for sinning, but rather you are honest with your child about what sin is.

One of the reasons teenagers don’t feel like they are communicating well with God is that they have a pattern of lying to God and themselves about what things truly are. Help your child with this. It just might change the way they view God. God bless.

What is Church?

This weekend we did a quick overview of the purpose of the church in high school Sunday School.  We looked at the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3 as a model of what the church should not look like.  That church was confident in their wealth and not in the power of the gospel, and God was disgusted with that church to the point that he wished to spit them from his mouth.  The Laodicean church is the sort of church that is easy to fall into in suburban America.  The felt need for God is lacking, and our wealth and desire for more things blinds us to the fact that we are spiritually poor.

The students then discussed what some of the purposes for the church were, and also examined if KBC (specifically the youth group) was meeting these purposes or falling short.  One of the purposes that we spent a significant amount of time on was that of Christian fellowship.  The majority of our teens are welcoming to insiders and outsiders, however the group admitted we are lacking in the area of spiritual fellowship, in which the group is actively praying for each other as needed.  So this week we gathered specific prayer needs (tests, assignments, etc.) and I will text our high schoolers those needs on the day where prayer is needed.  Hopefully this will encourage our teens to think about their opportunity and obligation to hold their friends up in prayer.

We also had a parent meeting this Sunday.  If you missed the meeting there is some information that I’d like to get you.  Overall the meeting went well, and the vision for the group was laid out.  One point of interest is that we NEED volunteers to work at Frontline, and if all you parents volunteer you will only have to work every 6-8 weeks (that’s a pretty sweet deal).  Keep up the good work!

Unworthy Sacrifices

We had a great night at Frontline last night!  We kicked it off with a good old-fashioned q-tip war, and then moved into worship and the lesson.  Here’s a short video of the q-tip war in action!

Great time!

This weeks lesson was our first of four in the “Silent God?” series.  We are looking at reasons that teenagers may not hear from God in the way that they feel they should.  This whole series is taken from the book of Malachi and addresses different areas of sin in our lives that can hamper communication with God.

Quick background for Malachi.  The people of Judah have been allowed to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple and the walls of the city (following their captivity under Babylon).  In a time where religious piety should have been at an all time high due to God’s protection through the exile, the people quickly returned to a lazy faith that was even critical of God.  In Mal. 1:2, God confesses his love to the people and they have the audacity to ask him “how have you loved us?”  The rest of the book is God pointing out areas of sin within the people and a call to faithful obedience.

The first critique that God raises is directed at the sacrifices that are being offered to Him. God deserves and demands the very best that people can offer, but the people were bringing worthless (lame, blind, and sick) animals as their sacrifice of worship to God while withholding their best for themselves.  God points out that they would not dream of offering these animals to their governors, and even encourages the people to stop offering anything if all they are going to give to Him is garbage.

As people we all  can at times come to worship God full of garbage.  We have sin that we are yet to repent of and then we worship God.  This should not be.  We should go to God, repent of our sins, and then offer ourselves to be used by God in worship and in life.  Teenagers are often quick to worship God through song, while not examining their lives to see if what they are offering to God is a pure sacrifice.

We are also guilty of giving God our leftovers as our sacrifice.  We are willing to part with our leftover time or energy , but to ask us to give our best time and best energy is often asking more than we are willing.  We must combat this.  I challenged the teenagers to think of someone they truly admired (perhaps a celebrity, athlete, or politician) who was coming to their house for dinner.  What sort of work would they do to make that night go perfectly?  Would they research the best meal?  Would they tidy up the house?  Would they dedicate as much time as needed to so that the person would be pleased to be at the house (and perhaps want a return visit)?  I know that I would.  Yet, when we have the opportunity to spend time with Almighty God, we are casual.  We don’t give any effort to preparing and when we are done we question God saying “Why don’t you ever talk with me?”  We truly need to grasp that God is greater than any other person in the world and give Him the time and effort that He deserves.

As a parent, are you modeling to your children that God is greater than all others (your boss, your spouse, your childhood idol)?  Children learn their faith from their parents.  So examine your life, make changes to your treatment of God if necessary, and talk with your kids about how awesome God is.  Show them what a privilege it is to have Him desire a relationship with us.

Silent God?

For the next four weeks we will look to address the question on a ton of teenagers minds: Is God still speaking? And if so, why don’t I hear Him? I made this little video as the bumper for the lesson.

Enjoy!

Sin Dodgeball

The following is an overview of our high school Sunday School lesson, enjoy!

Dodgeball is perhaps the most loved game in youth ministry.  We roll out a handful of balls and commence throwing them at one another.  Teenagers are naturals at dodgeball, they can duck, jump and throw better than most adults can.  The skill of avoiding the dodgeball is essential, since getting hit by the ball knocks you out, and getting hit with the ball can at times really hurt.

What I have noticed (among both teenagers and adults) is that the game of dodgeball has many similarities to what happens when sin begins to grab hold of a person’s life.  We duck, dodge, and deflect the consequences for our sin in an attempt to be seen a certain way.  In high school Sunday School we discussed the life of King David and in particular his entanglement in sin with Bathsheba.

For those of you who may not recall: here is a quick overview of the story. David was King of Israel and he was at home while his army was off at war.  One evening David was walking around his palace and caught a glimpse of a pretty lady bathing on her rooftop.  David discovered she was the wife of one of his soldiers, but still he desired to be with her.  So he brought her to him, and a little bit later she discovered she was pregnant.  In an attempt to cover his sin, David brought home her husband in hopes that he, too, would sleep with her.  He refused to enjoy the comforts of home, while his comrades were fighting on the battlefield.  So, David sent the husband back to war with a note to give to the general of the army.  The note instructed the general to place the husband in harm’s way and then have the rest of the army withdraw leaving him to die on the battlefield.  Upon his death, David took in the pregnant widow and continued reigning as king.  He was confronted by the prophet Nathan, and at that point he was convicted of his sins, and penned Psalm 51 (which is a great penitential psalm) expressing his sorrow for sinning against God.

While most teens haven’t ever committed adultery or ordered a man to be killed, they have experienced the desire to hide their sins in the same way David did.  Teens will build multi-layer stories to cover up their sins, and to avoid the consequences that come from their decisions.  They dodge taking responsibility as long as possible, perhaps for years.  Parents need to be like Nathan, willing to stand before their teens and point out clearly the sin in their lives (when it is discovered), with the hope that your children will repent and take responsibility for their sins.

Read Psalm 51, and see if that is how you feel when you are caught in sin.  Then be willing to discuss repentance with your child, perhaps even discuss a time when you were dodging sin and eventually how you came to repent and take responsibility.  You never know, your teen may respond to you in a whole new way when they realize that even you have made mistakes.

The Dating Game

Do you remember that old television game show “The Dating Game”?  If you don’t here’s how it worked: one young lady was given the chance to have a dream date with one of three mystery bachelors (who are hidden from her view).  She chose which bachelor to date by asking each of them a series of questions.  Following her selection she gets to see her bachelor and then go out on a date. The show was funny and not overly serious.  Fast forward 40 years and we have new dating shows like The Bachelor, where a person is looking to select his wife from a small harem of eligible women.  Culturally, it is difficult to escape the pressures of the dating world and the selfish nature which we see dating modeled (by the media and our peers).

This is why the issue of dating is so crucial to youth.  At Frontline we played a mock Dating Game (which was well acted by our youth) to set-up the lesson about what culture says dating is for, and what the Bible says about relationships.  I recently heard it said, again, that teenage dating is divorce practice, and I must admit most of the ways that young people choose to date develops a habit that can lead to easier divorce.  Right now the divorce rate in America is hovering around 50%, and most statistics don’t show Christian marriages surviving any better.  While there are a ton of factors that play into this alarming trend, the model of dating has to be examined.  A majority of teens will fall in and out of love with multiple partners, and with each of these experiences the nature of bonding deeply to one person for a lifetime begins to erode.  This leads to an “easy come, easy go” mindset to relationships, which in a marriage is a fatal flaw.

So what is the alternative?  I don’t necessarily condemn teenage dating.   I dated as a teen (with some negative effects), and I even married my high school sweetheart.  But the cautions within the Bible are worth heeding.  Song of Solomon 2:7 encourages young people to avoid awakening love before it is time.  This means don’t rush into relationships before you are emotionally and spiritually mature enough to handle them.  1 Timothy 5:1-2 instructs young men (in the church) to treat the young women in the church as sisters with ALL purity.  I challenged the students to think seriously about their actions with the opposite sex (would you think that about your brother/sister?).  1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 tells the believer to live to please God, and one of those ways is to be in control of our bodies.  In the dating world, that means to control ourselves entirely (physically and verbally) from damaging anyone else.

Dating is a tough issue.  As parents you have a responsibility to talk with your youth about dating and to help shape their attitudes toward the opposite sex.  I am here to support you as you teach your child, so don’t hesitate to use me as a resource.