Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prayer for the Day

This really impacted me this morning...

"O Lord, you have taught us that without love whatever we do is worth nothing; Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts your greatest gift, which is love, the true bond of peace and of all virtue, without which whoever lives is accounted dead before you. Grant this for the sake of your only Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dating - Raising the Bar

Last night and this morning I'm hanging out with my friend Nick in Colorado Springs. He's a great youth pastor with a sharp mind. (well, kind of) We've been talking about teens and dating and thinking about what it would look like to raise the bar for students.

Earlier this morning Nick said something very profound. He said for years the church and Christian parents have basically said anything goes as long as you make it to your wedding bed a virgin. As a matter of fact many times parents love the whole dating game and encourage their kids to play and play often.

Here's the problem. When emotional intimacy is achieved physical intimacy isn't far behind. It's kind of like throwing kids in the pool and telling them not to get wet. It also seems that God's heart and desire for students goes deeper than sex.

What if the goal was deeper and more profound than virginity? What if the question was something like this?

What does it look like for students to relate to the opposite sex in a way that is healthy for them and glorifying to God?

Answering this question goes deeper than "how far is too far".

When I asked my high school students how often high school kids think or talk about the opposite sex they said at least 90% of the time. Now, I know that isn't a scientific pole, but this is a huge deal for our students. For those of us who work with students we must help them think through how the gospel applies to their dating relationships.

We shouldn't be satisfied with kids limping over the finish line of marriage virgins. Healthy, God honoring relationships go much deeper than saving your body for marriage. It's also an issue of saving your heart for marriage.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

God of Romance???

Question of the day...

Did God create romance and if so, so what?
How is God's perfect intention different from how most teens view romance?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Student Led Worship Gathering - A Student's Perspective

Students are gifted in so many ways. By helping students discover, develop and utilize their giftedness those of us who work with teenagers invite them to get off the bench and into the game. Ministry is not simply something they come and watch, it's something God has gifted them to do.

There are all kinds of ways students can lead and serve but one way is allowing them to plan, prepare and lead worship gatherings. Last Sunday night IBC student ministry hosted their third student led gathering.

Here's what high school junior Wren Culp had to say about it.

Unity. defines it as “a whole or totality as combining all its parts into one.” Combining all its parts into one. Like many pastors have told me before, I am a working member in the body of christ. But I myself am just one of the many pieces of the puzzle that makes the body function. I have my unique abilities and people have theirs. Student Led Worship services let students use those abilities to greater benefit the lives of their friends. Anybody that wants to help in and join in on the process of making these happen can because it’s not the David Grant and Trey Grant worship service, it’s the student led worship. Students are running the show, on stage and off.

Never have I seen such power fill a room than it has in these last three gatherings. Never before have I seen that many people have their hearts changed. Never before have I seen such unity. Unity with each other, but more importantly unity with God. Without unity with God, we cannot stand. Unity with God and unity with others is all we need.

“A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” - Ecclesiastes 4:12

It's hard work to hand off ministry and leadership to students. To be honest it's a lot easier to just do it yourself but the lasting impact is worth it.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Teen Age Dream - A look a teen romantic relationships

Isn't it cute when teens get together and start dating? They become facebook official and all the cute pics start coming in. Or could it be that below the surface the dating game is more dangerous than we think.

Most romantic relationships are driven by selfishness and insecurity. Sure, every once in a while you'll run across the exception, but for the most part teen age dating relationships lead to idolatry, physical compromise, isolation, broken friendship and intense pain at the breakup.

Starting February 13 our middle school and high school ministries are beginning a 4 week series called "Teen Age Dream". I know it's corny, in fact our goal is to have as many corny elements as possible. Every week we'll show a short clip from "Saved By the Bell" to enhance the level of corn.

As far as content, here is a brief look at the topics for the four weeks.

God of Romance

Romance was not created by Arthur Fonzarelli. It was God's idea and heart that we would connect with the opposite sex in an romantic way. If he made us that way we should perhaps pay attention to his perspective.

God of Purity

Purity is more than resisting intercourse before marriage. It's an issue of the heart and mind.

Does the Bible say anything about dating relationships?

The Bible speaks of marriage and courtship but says nothing about our system of dating. In fact the way teens deal with romantic relationship would be very foreign in the first century or earlier. However, the Bible has much to say about how we treat each other. Romantic relationships shouldn't have in invisible bubble that make them immune to the one another principles taught in scripture.

Is there a better way than the current system?

I hope students will be open to thinking through ways to interact with the opposite sex that are different than the current model. If you work with students you have experienced the struggle and sometimes devastation that can happen to students when they buy in to the romance crazy culture in which they live. Surely there is a way that is healthier for students and more honoring to God.

So what do you think? What are we leaving out? Perhaps I'm I over reacting?