It’s Time To Live Open

We’re starting a brand new teaching series this Sunday with our students that I’m super excited about.  My life has been changed in some serious ways with real accountability.  In fact, I have 3 guys I meet with on a regular basis who have complete access to any area of my life at any time.  I wouldn’t still be in the game without them.  I’m excited to see how this stuff can help our students build this crucial habit into their lives now.

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This series is based on the content of Craig Gross’ new book Open.  We’ll be pushing students and families to purchase their own copy of the book to take it deeper.
Here’s some more info on the series itself:

Despite our best intentions, temptation always seems to loom around the corner, threatening to derail us into a desperate world of secret behavior and covered-up indiscretions.  From families to relationships to the drama at school, we are suckers for bad ideas.

Why do we so often make poor decisions that can lead to life-shattering results?

Why do we promise ourselves to do better only to slide back into our old habits?

Why can’t we help ourselves?

The time has come for each of us to become accountable.  To experience the freedom, peace of mind, and overwhelming self-confidence that come from living a life free of secrets and lies.

In every area of our lives, it’s time to go beyond self-help…. It’s time to get accountable.

It’s time to live Open.

Part 1 – Sunday, November 3rd

Part 2 – Sunday, November 10th

Part 3 – Sunday, November 17th

Part 4 – Sunday, November 24th

 

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Developing An Unoffendable Heart

i’m super excited about a new series we’re starting this sunday with our teens at lakeshore. it’s called “No Offense!”

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it seems more and more that we’re so easily offended these days, and i wonder what that says about our internal unhealth.  if we’re truly secure in our relationship with God, i have to believe we wouldn’t take things so personally.  it’d still be hard, of course, but at least we’d be able to navigate the situation without it crippling us.

here’s a little bit more about the series as we get word out to the students on it:
we’ve all heard people at times start a conversation with us with the line “No Offense, but…” and then proceed to lay into us and our shortcomings.  there’s no doubt that people’s words can be hurtful and damaging, but the truth of the matter is, they’re not going away.  even if you drop those relationships, someone else will eventually come to take their place.  how do we develop a heart that is secure enough in who we are to not be constantly offended at every lazy word directed at us?  if you’re in junior high or high school, be sure to join us for this important series; we’re confident it will help you manage the pressure of this last month of school!

the graphic above came from one of my favorite sites – creationswap. be sure to go over there and buy the image if you’re thinking of using this in your setting at some point in the future!

 

X3Church: Demonstrating A Healthy Sexual Ethic To Children

this was originally posted at xxxchurch.com, and can be found here.

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As youth pastors and youth leaders, we’re always thinking of better ways to equip our teenagers to be successful when they leave the nest of our youth ministries.  Within weeks of graduation, our seniors will be inundated with opportunities, temptations, and situations that will test their faith and determine the trajectory of their futures.  How can we set them up to have the best possible sexual ethic as they enter their young adult years?
Here’s some things we’re trying in our context; would love to hear what you’re doing in the comments section below!
  • We’re committed to leading by example. Teens can see inauthenticy in adults a mile away, and they know better than anyone that actions speak louder than words.  When a youth leader can sit down with a teenager and share specific things they did LAST WEEK to fortify their purity, a powerful connection is made.  We’re always looking to recruit adult leaders from our church who are honest and real about their struggles; it’s critical that our teens are surrounded by people willing to relate to what they’re going through with honesty and vulnerability.
  • We’re trying to talk about it in large group more often.  If you’ve never been accused of talking about sex too much in youth group, you probably aren’t talking about it enough.  It’s constantly running through their minds, their bodies are primed and ready for it, and whether we like it or not, it’s the language of pop culture.  The Bible has a lot to say on it as well, so we’re trying to bring it to the front of the room!  We recently did a great series on sex, love, and dating called “Facebook Official”, which you can find over at www.downloadyouthministry.com
  • We’re consistently bringing it up in our small groups.  Whatever your small group ministry looks like – whether you have groups that meet in homes during the week, or as an element tagged onto the end of your crowd program, small groups are a great environment to go deeper on issues of purity.  Take your group through books like Pure Eyes or a video curriculum like Pure Sex by Simply Youth Ministry.  Small groups are also a great environment to teach students how to hold one another accountable, and you can help by pairing them up.  If they’re using X3Watch on their computers and mobile devices, ask them to add you to their account. 
  • We’re trying to resource our parents so they can do the heavy lifting themselves.  Most parents are deeply concerned about their kids’ sexual ethics, and don’t want to hand the entire responsibility over to the church (nor should they).  As pastors, we can help resource and empower them to have successful discussions with their kids.  If you’re like me and you haven’t yet parented teens through their teenage years, you may feel inadequate in this realm.  One thing we’re going to be trying soon for our parents is a meeting on this topic, and I’m going to invite 4-5 different parents who have navigated this stuff successfully to participate in a panel discussion.  I will moderate, but the real teaching will come from these seasoned and successful parents and will give practical ideas to the other parents in the room.
  • We’re trying to do more than just drop a book in a teen’s lap There are some great books and resources out there for kids and teens – way more than when I was in high school.  Don’t ever discount the mentoring role you as a youth worker can have in the life of a student when you work through a book together.  Instead of just handing them a book to read, what if you threw a $10 Starbucks card in the back of it, and invited them to talk about it with you when they finish?

Poll: Cussing & Vulgarity

this weekend we’re starting a new teaching series with our students on a few different topics that would fall into the “it’s complicated” genre.  there are many verses throughout scripture that give biblical principles by which to navigate the grey areas, but it’s not easy… and depending on how you look at it there can be multiple viewpoints.

cussing and vulgarity is one of the topics we’re gonna touch on.  i’m curious on YOUR thoughts – please vote and help me out!