And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Loneliness… that is the number one problem among teens today. The most connected generation in history feels a sense of disconnection like no generation before it. Jesus Christ and his church is the only remedy for this! Not only does one need Jesus but he gave us each other in the church. This can not be understated.
A christian without community is like a soldier without a unit it belongs to. He’s still a soldier but has no one around him to keep him from falling! We need each other and when we don’t connect with one another we see once strong believers fall away to the likes of unhealthy romantic relationships, drunkenness, drug abuse, sex, pornography and anything else that will take away the loneliness, if just for a minute.
We need each other, let us not forget that. We are made for community, in the image of God (as he exists in the perfect community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit).
You are not alone!!!
By Matt McGill
Every great relationship requires time in order to grow, and it’s the same for our friendship with Jesus. God wants us to spend time with him! Here are some ideas to help you connect with God on your own:
1. Choose a TIME when you are at your best. If you are a morning person, spend time with God in the morning. The idea is to be with God when we are most alert and ready to hear him speak.
2. Pick a PLACE where you won’t be distracted. Our world is FILLED with interruptions. Disconnect from the world…Facebook will still be there when you are done.
3. Set a GOAL that’s realistic. Building the habit of a regular quiet time is difficult, so start with what you can handle. You may start with five minutes a day, two times a week. Eventually, it would be great to spend time with God once a day!
Ok. So. Now What?
Prayer can be defined as “simple communication with God.” You don’t need to know anything special to be able to talk to God. Anyone can! So share what’s on your heart. When we pray, we have more peace and less anxiety. We find more wisdom and make better decisions. God wants to hear what you have to say, and he wants to speak to you, too!
Read your Bible.
The Bible is God’s love letter to us. By reading it, we learn how God wants us to live and his purpose for our lives. Sometimes it’s good to read just a few verses, other times you’ll want to read multiple chapters. Do what’s best for you. We suggest you begin with the Gospel of Mark, so you can learn about Jesus. After that, check out Genesis, then Philippians, and John. After that, if you need some more suggestions, ask a youth leader or youth pastor
Express your thoughts, feelings, learnings, prayers, questions and anything else about your spiritual life. Writing helps us explore what we’re learning from God.
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way.Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! 1 Peter 3:15-17
The theory of evolution is one that every public high school biology student will have to face at some point. We can sit here and talk about whether or not it should be taught in the public schools or not but that’s not the point of this post. How do we as Christian students react to the teaching of evolution and to our fellow students who hold or believe such things.
First off understand what evolution is. As far as biology is concerned evolution is a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations . In other words animals evolved into different animals with small changes from generation to generation thus creating new species.Evolution is not the Big Bang but many will cite the Big Bang as the cause of the beginning of the universe. The Bible says that God created Male and Female in His image (see Genesis 1:27).The Bible also says God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, not over millions of years as a result of a large series of random bangs. So the theory of evolution is not compatible with the Bible, though many teachers and professors have tried to tell me otherwise.
Now there is a ton of evidence out there for creationism. I’ll be listing some resources below. But we as Christians need to worry about something far greater. That thing is love. I remember being in high school and my early years of college getting in arguments with teachers, professors and other students over this issue. I thought I was taking a stand for the Gospel. I thought I was taking a stand for truth! Honestly, I was just being an annoying jerk! I would come into class ready to do battle with the terrible secular humanists! But I had no love or respect! The Christian author Phillip Yancy once said “ No one has ever converted to Christianity because they lost an argument.” And that is so true!!!! Getting facts and figures to bring to class to prove your teacher or fellow students wrong will not work. Trust me I know. As a 16 year old I thought I would come into class and make my 55 year old biology teacher with a masters degree in biology look stupid. I just looked stupid.
Now I am not saying don’t understand creationism or not to study creation science. By all means do and I will give you some resources below to look at. But Jesus never says people will know you are a Christian by your ability to debate against evolution. He said they will know us by our love.
I would encourage you, when it comes to fellow students…love them. Build relationships with them and when they ask you what you think about evolution, lovingly explain to them the truth of a God who created everything including us in His image.
When it comes to teachers, I will admit some can be harsh and rude about this. But show love, grace and kindness to them to. If you have questions or want to have a conversation with them about it, do so at the right time and do so in love. Be respectful and ask good questions. Arguing the issue usually just makes people defensive and if they are defensive 9 times out of 10 they will not hear a word you are saying.
Speak the truth in love!
These sites are a great resource for information on creationism
Just a quick reminder to all the Litehouse youth that if we get 30 on a Sunday Night we will play Can Can!
Over the past few years I have used my blog for many a purpose. For a time I wrote my feelings. By that I mean I just used it as an outlet to vent my frustrations. But my grammar and typing were bad and no one wanted to hear about the angst of a 24 year old college drop out.
As time went on (and I started school again) my blog became very political and I had a tendency to ruffle a few feathers with my political views!
As of late it has kind of been a catch all. Blogging about life, frustrations, ministry, school, books, music and trying to stay away from the political. Now, my blog is about to take a new turn. A pastor once told me “Don’t blog unless it has missional value”. By that he meant don’t just blog to blog, blog to enhance your ministry.
I’ve noticed as of late that many of my youth have asked me some really good questions concerning life, theology, relationships and so on. I began to think of a way to address these questions on an ongoing bases without interrupting my teaching schedule on Sunday Nights. I can’t think of anything better than my blog.
The word disillusionment meant to be freed from illusion or false truths. I’ve called this blog “Grateful Disillusionment” as I am grateful for those times when God opened my eyes to illusions that I was holding onto and showed me truth. Even when those times challenged me and forced me to question.
This is a forum to be honest and vulnerable. Ask your questions about God, Life, relationships etc. There is no judgment here and no condemnation. So feel free to read, comment and ask!
So I’ve been at this youth ministry thing for a few years now. As many of you know I took on my first full time youth pastor position this past July at Smith River Baptist Church in Smith River, CA ( the last town on the Cali coast before you hit Oregon.) I have loved every minute of being a youth pastor. But as I have begun to do ministry I think back to my youth pastor and how he invested in me.
You see if any of you knew me in High School you knew I was a jerk. I truly was. I thought I knew it all and that included what our youth group in Las Vegas should be doing. But if you also knew me in high school you knew that my family life was, well horrible and I was dealing with a lot of issues. Then Pastor Henry comes along in the beginning of my junior year of high school. Henry was saved at my church when he was a youth and had lead a high school/ college Bible study where I also lead worship before our previous youth pastor moved on.
I had known Henry for a few years before he became my youth pastor and considered him a friend. Henry was young, 23 I think, a few months from being married and had a passion for Jesus like I had never seen before. People gravitated to him, including myself. In the year and a half as my youth pastor he had such a great impact on me and helped to point me to Jesus! I’ve never thanked him for what he did, so this is my attempt to do so!
We butted head…
A lot! I’m going to be honest. We were both strong willed individuals and as a 17 and 18 year old I thought I knew it all!
I remember one time I had forgot my guitar strap for leading worship one Wednesday night. So I grabbed a stool and was going to lead from there.
Henry said: “ …if you’re leading and we ask everyone else to stand you need to be standing too.”
I said: “How?
Henry said: “Make it work”.
I said: “ That’s stupid and legalistic, I’m not playing!”
He said: “yes you are”.
That back and forth continued for about 20 minutes. I had my work shoes in my bag with me so finally after being a jerk to him and getting worked up and threatening to quit the youth worship band I took the shoe laces off of my work shoes and with an old sound cord fashioned a guitar strap for the evening.
I say all that because despite how many times we clashed (and it was a lot… I won’t talk about the time I threw rocks underneath a bathroom stall while he was in it on the way to camp and he then proceeded to make me sleep on the floor that first night at camp…lol ) I never once doubted that he cared for me and wanted me to fall more in love with Jesus.
He communicated truth unconventionally…
Whether it was lighting off firecrackers ( and I don’t think they were the legal kind) in youth group to display the foolishness of the big bang theory or wearing a Trojan Condom T-Shirt in a talk to a bunch of guys about abstinence, he communicated truth! I’ve since stolen many of his ideas ( some successfully and others not so much) but he was never afraid to push the limits to communicate the Gospel.
Henry spent a lot of time with me. And I just don’t mean at church. He went out of his way to connect with me outside of church. Every Wednesday my senior year of High School after youth group we would go to the restaurant in Vegas called Charlie’s and get chicken fingers and fries with two other guys and his wife Mary. EVERY WEEK for a YEAR! He just spent time with me. He was like a father to me in a lot of ways. I will never forget the time he spent with me and how he was just there. I knew if I had a problem he would be there. If I needed to talk he would be there. If I just wanted to hang out he would be there. He taught me the importance of “being there” in youth ministry. Henry was my friend!
He pushed me to be better and follow Christ harder…
His teaching, time and exampled pushed me to know Christ more! His example is who I follow now as a youth pastor.
Henry, Thank you for what you did and what you do. If I turn out to be half the youth pastor you were to me I would be happy. I still strive to have that “Christ Like Style” and ten years later am so thankful for you being in my life and you being my youth pastor! You were there for me and pointed me to Jesus. As I minister to these High Schoolers and JH’ers in my church I strive to do the same! Thank you so much!
(I promised myself I wouldn’t cry)
In His Grip!