My Friend Dillon

I’m listening to a live webinar by Dare 2 Share at the moment about discipling youth and can’t stop thinking about my friend Dillon. I’m not always paying attention, but I know he has a running tally of how many friends he’s reaching out to Jesus with. The speaker, Greg Stier, made the assertion that evangelism is critical to discipling teens:   “When we’re willing to offer what’s most valuable to us, our faith is matured by what we’re willing to sacrifice.”   What’s the most important thing to a teen? To soon to be college freshman? To a man?   In short, and in most cases, it’s simply what their friends think of them. Boil it all down, and that will be left. It MATTERS. When a teen begins to share Christ with their friends, they know that they’re risking that friendship. They know that they’re putting their friendship on the altar… and that there is no real discipleship unless there is real risk.   Jesus said, “If you want to save your life, you’ll lose it.” Do we love jesus this much? Do I?   Some of the teens I know do. They may be crazy and lazy and a little rude and know-it-all, but I have nothing but respect for those that are willing to lay friendships on the line, share their faith as best they can, and come back and try again, again, and again.   To Dillon’s parents… you have raised a quality young man. I know you see a side of him that I’ll never have to deal with, but I’m proud to...

Destructive Path – A Lesson for Teens that is Supposed to be about Alcohol

I’m leading our church’s high school youth group tomorrow in a discussion that seems to focus on the “destructive path” of alcohol. I’m having a tough time with some of it’s arguments, as I feel they are a bit more of a fear tactic than a a logical progression of thought involving the Bible’s complete perspective on the topic, alcohol’s real affects (especially on young bodies and brains), and more than anything else, personal convictions. While there is something to be said about statistics and slippery slopes, there is much more to to be said about real-life experiences and thought out decisions based on values, priorities, and convictions. These are my thoughts on the lesson as I prepare to both teach it, and move from simply talking about the dangers of alcohol to the importance of personal decisions in every area of life, from alcohol and drugs to cheating, lust, and anger. [Note: This is still a work in progress. There are definitely some areas I want to add to on personal convictions and hopefully a testimony or two from someone who’s walked down the wrong side of this path.] The question of the week, according to the literature, is “Why is drinking such a big deal?” The answer? According to the book, “Drinking alcohol can lead to tragic consequenses.” Couldn’t I present this same argument for any number of areas of teenage life, from alcohol and drugs to speeding, driving without seat belts, and fighting? How many things in life lead to tragic consequenses, when abused? And I think that’s where this lesson leaves something out in it’s...

Youth Lesson on Prayer

  PRAYER What is prayer? Talking “to” God? Talking “with” God? Does He talk back? Conversation with God Listening to Is it a two sided “conversation” or a one way street? PRAISE Is praise always a joyful thing? Ps 145:1-8 what is the importance of the words? Do we need to be specific? Ps 88:1-9 A song FOR the choir director Heman Never “gets joyful” (ex. V. 18) Why is praise important? Start with recognizing God for who he is Eldridge Quote: “It’s not what we do when we’re strong and feeling great that makes us holy.” THANKS Focuses on what God HAS DONE. Before we look into the future, we must be able to look confidently at what God has done in the PAST. List stories where God brought Israel “out of” something? Egypt How do / can you keep track of what God has done in your life? Joshua 4:1-9 (pile of rocks on the bank and in the middle of the Jordan) Rank them… Memory, pile of rocks, journal, myspace How important is this “step” (thanks) Psalms 107:1-2 CONFESSION What does it mean to “confess”? “I’m Sorry?” “I did it.” Do the words matter? Story of David & Bathsheba, plus the related Psalms (2 Sam. 11:1-5, Psalms 32: 3-5, Ps 51:1-4, 10:12) Forgiveness à Confession è Restoration (is this the right order?) Why do we need to confess if we’re already forgiven? (Psalms 51: 16-17) REVIEW So all of that is review… last week we talked about 3 kinds / parts of prayer A big part of prayer is simply getting us on the right page...

Heading back to school

Going back to my high school’s FCA meeting this morning. The last time I went I think the message I got was, “You can do this.” I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t say anything in front of everybody. I didn’t lead anything. I didn’t get introduced. I just said “hi” to some people I knew (a teacher and a couple kids from church) and sat there and watched. But I was there. Conquering that nervous feeling of going somewhere new, where you don’t know what to expect, has been a big barrier for me. When I did this a couple weeks ago I found myself sitting in the parking lot for 10 minutes, not really trying to think of a way out, but just… I don’t know… delaying? I don’t know if that’s the right word or not. So today I’m going in with eyes wide open. I don’t know what’s going on this week, if it’ll be the same type of crowd or something a little different. And I guess…. now I can say that I don’t care. For my own retrospecting, I’m gonna list a few fears I dealt with last time that, as I think about them today, are being wiped out of my head, both for this event and who knows, things to come. I will see some people I know and not know what to say when they ask my why I’m here…. who cares? There was one girl from my church there, I think she’s a senior, and she spotted me from across the room and mouthed to me what I think...

En-Couraged

I can’t remember if I typed this out or not yet, but I’ve decided I’m going to take up the invitation given to me by my old math teacher and visit the FCA meeting at PHS this Thursday morning. I don’t know what will come of it, but as I look back to how God led me to this point of making a decision, I truly believe He’s leading me down this path. As I have mentioned this to a few people I have been encouraged by their excitement. Not about their promise to pray for me; that really doesn’t do it for me, but to actually see someone’s eyes light up with excitement when you tell them, out of the blue, about something you’re going to do that connects to something you just heard them praying about… WOW. That is encouraging. That word – encouraging – has come to mean a lot more to me in recent months. Obviously it’s two words smashed together – “en” and “courage,” and I remember my Greek right, “en” has something to do with “being with”. So basically, the meaning I now take from this word is someone who comes along side me and imparts courage to me. They share their strength with me. It’s so much more than just putting a smile on your face and hoping it helps. It’s being part of someone else’s journey, partnering up with them and even buying in to the journey they are taking. It’s following up, listening, responding, and getting involved. I am going to need courage for this thing on Thursday. This is...