Disciple Now Weekend

The Five W’s (and one H) of Disciple Now 2011

Who? Any student between grade 6 and 12 is welcome to attend.  The more the merrier!
What? D-Now is a weekend retreat that will take place in and around Kingwood Bible Church.  We will have large group worship and teaching in the Summit, and small group discussions taking place in homes.  The purpose of D-Now is two-fold.  First to introduce lost students to the love of Christ, and second to challenge Christian students to grow in their faith.  It’s also a ton of fun for the students!
When? April 29 – May 1.  drop-off your child Friday at 7 PM and pick them up around Noon on Sunday (following the morning worship service).
Where? As stated above, most of the large group activities happen at KBC.  We do NEED host homes, so if you have a home that can handle 6-10 students, please volunteer.
Why? Evangelism, Fellowship, and Discipleship are all a part of D-Now and they are certainly reason enough to make it happen.
How Much? If you sign-up by April 3 then $35.  From April 4-April 10 the cost is $40.  Anytime after that the cost is $45.  Sign up soon so you get a properly sized T-Shirt!

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The Price is Right

One of my fondest memories of childhood was waking up to The Price is Right.  It was a staple my entire childhood.  During the summer, I would awake around 10 AM just in time to catch Bob Barker doing his thing.  The concept of The Price is Right is simple enough that a child can play along, and still entertaining enough to hold the attention of adults.  I can’t say that I learned a ton of lessons from my hours of watching The Price is Right, but I did learn the value of many items that, had it not been for the show, I would have no clue of their cost.

Stuff has a price.  Trips cost X amount, furniture Y amount, and the ever popular “new car!” cost Z amount, and I learned this lesson well from my time in front of the television.  Likewise, decisions have a price.  Good decisions are rewarded with good prices, and bad decisions are rewarded with bad prices.

Last night we discussed the cost of making poor choices, by looking at the story of Adam and Eve in Genesis.  God laid out the final cost for sin in Genesis 2, but by the time Genesis 3 rolled around both Adam and Eve were questioning whether or not the price God stated was accurate.  They were deceived by the snake, who claimed that they would not certainly die if they ate the fruit, and a look at the story would make you think maybe the snake was right.  After all, Adam and Eve didn’t suffer immediate death, and their eyes were opened (just as the snake had said), however the consequence of sin was exactly as God had stated.  Adam and Eve both died (certainly).

Sin is a tricky thing, that’s why we struggle with it.  It creeps in and portrays itself as being good.  After all, if sinning didn’t make you feel good, would you ever choose it?  So we go about sinning, blissfully, until the true consequences of sin is felt.  Strained relationships, inability to function, and depression fall upon us and we realize that often the cause of these problems is sin based.  We believed the lie that sin wouldn’t hurt, and for a while we were right, but when the check came to the table we realized that we had purchased more than we can afford.

Ultimately, sin leads to death.  That is the final outcome for our lives that are plagued by sin.  Following our death their will be judgment and the judgment will determine whether or not we should be subject to the biblical second death.  The only way that we escape the judgment of eternal death, is to have our sins paid in full by the blood of Christ.  Willfully he accepts the judgment for our sin, and suffered a death like none other, so that we may live forever, guiltless.

This is the beauty of God’s love.  He delays judgment, for our benefit, so that we may receive the grace of Christ.  Talk about this with your kids.  Many of them are already faithful followers of Christ, and believe the truth of his sacrificial death.  However, some likely do not, and if they do not, as a parent there is no greater blessing than to lead your child to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Demonstrating God’s Love

I am thankful for the grace of God.  Every day I am reminded that I am in no way deserving of God’s love and mercy, yet He chose to give it to me anyways.  Romans 5:8 is an affirmation of all of our stories:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this : while were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Understanding that we were at one time enemies of God, and undeserving of grace; helps us as we move forward in the life God has called us to live.  The model of love to enemies is Christ’s love to the world.  So when Jesus speaks in Matthew 5:43-48 and tells us to demonstrate the love of God even in the difficult times, He first modeled that love.

While it is difficult to love your enemy, and to pray for your persecutor, and to welcome them into your fellowship, it is the task God commands to us.  Why?  Verse 45 says that the reason is so we can be children of our Father in heaven.  That means we can rightly represent the Father through sharing His love.

As adults we need to examine how we are relating to people who are set against us, so that we can work to model Christ’s love to them.  How are you praying for your persecutor (perhaps your boss or your neighbor)? How are you loving your enemy?  Is there any person who your child would say you hate?  These self-examination questions encourage us to do better in the tough task of demonstrating God’s love.  Try and remember though, that God’s love was demonstrated to you while you were His enemy, and in return He asks us to show that same love to our enemies.

Spring Break

I genuinely love the week of Spring Break.  Youth are out of school with time on their hands and I get the opportunity to hang out with them just having fun.  Below is our week of Spring Break plans.

Tuesday: Movie Night @ the Summit.  Encourage your youth to bring their favorite appropriate movie to the Summit at 6 PM and we will take a vote and see which movie is chosen.  I will have one on hand as well, as well as sodas and popcorn.  We should be done around 8:00-8:30 pm.

Wednesday:  Frontline – we WILL be having our regular Wednesday night routine.  In fact we are playing Street Smarts (old game show) this week, so encourage your teen to come and to bring a friend! 6-8 PM

Thursday:  Photo Scavenger Hunt – 6-8 PM.  I need drivers and digital cameras to make this Scavenger Hunt a success.  So, parents please volunteer your vehicle to transport a group of 4(ish) youth around Kingwood.  It will be a blast.

Friday: Junior High ONLY: Putt-Putt at Shankz.  Meet at Shankz at 1 PM for an enjoyable afternoon of putt-putt and hanging out with other jHighers.  It’s gonna be amazing, you may get to see Matt’s infamous putt-putt swing, if you ask nicely!

I hope if your kids are in town that they will participate with us this week.  Enjoy!

The Loudest Voice isn’t Necessarily God

I have been speaking for the last four weeks about hearing the voice of God.  I have never been blessed by hearing the audible voice of God commanding me as if with a megaphone.  Instead, I have had to learn to discipline myself to discern God’s will for my life from what he has disclosed in Scripture and a felt leading from the Spirit.

Discerning the voice of God is nearly impossible for youth today.  This problem isn’t necessarily about a lack of trying, but more a lack of know how.   Youth today are plugged according the Kaiser Family Foundations study (here) youth are spending more than 7.5 hours with some sort of media, if you add in the time that youth are multitasking media the number jumps to over 10 hours a day of media exposure.  This matters because many teens are never without another voice in their head.  They sleep with their iPods on and they wake up to music.  They spend their days on Facebook and their nights watching television.  Hearing the voice of God over the clamoring of the media in their heads is rare.  And if they did actually hear the voice of God, would they even know that it was God speaking?

We looked at 1 Kings 19 this week and we saw that Elijah did not discern the presence and voice of God in the rushing wind, the shaking earth, or the blazing fire.  It was after these things past that Elijah heard the Lord speak in a whisper.  Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still before the Lord.  It is often only when we discipline ourselves to find real still, quiet time that we make space for God to speak to us.

The second concern is with knowing the words of God over the words of man.  Students need to know what God sounds like, so when they hear a voice they can answer the questions “does this sound like God?”  God has spoken through 66 books in our Bible.  Pages upon pages, He has said things to us, do we know what He sounds like.  Many youth could hear a second of song and know the whole song, the artist who sang it, and on what CD it was released.  That’s because they have spent time getting to know the voice of the artist.  However, could I read a passage from the Bible and get the same result?  Could I select a passage from the Koran and students not be able to discern the difference?  I wonder.

Encourage your kids to spend time (without media) with the Lord.  Encourage them to pray, and to read the Bible.  It would be great if you had a family discipline of reading a passage of scripture each day (privately) and then discuss what you all read later in the day, or even once a week.  Let your child know that hearing and discerning God’s will for his/her life is important to you.  Help hold them accountable for their time, like you likely do with their schoolwork.  If you need help with resources for Bible reading let me know, I would love to wrangle some up for you!  Keep up the good work.

Job and His Friends

I had the opportunity to sit in with the junior high Sunday School class yesterday and I was treated to a discussion on Job.  Nikki did a great job recapping the story of Job that they have been going over for the last several weeks and the junior highers were pretty sharp on their recall of the details for the story.

A couple of take aways from the lesson for me (which centered around Job 3-5) were that we must be test any knowledge that we receive.  Job’s friend Eliphaz claims that he heard in a dream from a spirit that the righteous never suffer.  It would appear that the voice he heard was not the voice of God, but rather of something else altogether.  We also learned about how difficult it is to comfort our friends when they are hurting.  Naturally we want to help with our words, but like Job’s friends sometimes we can be hurtful rather than helpful.

In other news: SMALL GROUPS BEGAN LAST NIGHT!!!!  Since I am not leading a group I would love to hear how your child enjoyed the time!  Shoot me an email or leave a comment letting me know how it went.  I have heard positive things from a couple of students, but I would love to have a feel for the entire group.  Let me know, and thanks for all your help in getting your kids to small groups, and for those of you who are hosting/leading thanks again!!!

Relationship Trouble

I had issues growing up with relationships. I was in and out of relationships so fast you could barely keep up. Once I had a relationship that lasted a little over one class period. I dated all sorts of girls, from a variety of religious backgrounds. When I was fifteen I had bottomed out and told my best friend that I was through with dating. It had done nothing to help me, and at that point in time I was feeling the sting of a rather bad breakup.

Sadly, many teenagers live this same sort of lifestyle. They are in and out and back into relationships quicker than parents (or youth pastors) can keep up. “You’re dating who? When did you break up with ___?” Ultimately, serial daters find themselves longing for something stable and begin to wonder what is wrong with them to make their life so volatile.

Enter the Bible. Malachi 2:10-16 has some tough words for who we choose to be married (which while teens aren’t marrying, dating is at least the precursor to marriage, for good and ill). God is angry at the intermarriage of the Israelite people. How they have aligned themselves with women of foreign gods. Likewise teens have to be selective in their relationships, if their boyfriend is an atheist as a parent you should have some red flags being raised about whether or not this is a good idea.

The passage continues and deals with the damage that divorce does on the family and how God hates divorce. It’s not His plan, and when divorce comes to a family generations are affected (note the grandparents rights issues we see today). I cautioned the teens to be selective in their dating as one day they will marry someone who they might wish they were more selective of if things are going sideways in their marriage.

Talk to your kids about being “equally yoked” discuss with them God’s plan for marriage, even if your marriage story is broken (my family’s was) your kid should know what is ideal for relationships and for their future dream of being a husband or a wife. Good luck this week, and remember I am here to support you!