Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Acts 1:14- Prayer

I wanted to share some thoughts that I recently journaled about regarding prayer as I was reading in Acts 1:14a- These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer...  The word "devoted" is such a strong word in our language.  To be devoted to something is to be committed and loyal.  It is way more than just wanting to do it.  There are many things that I want to be devoted to but I am not.  The Greek word used here is proskartere√≥ which means to persist; keep on with devotion; to attend to constantly.

In other words they were constantly and persistently praying- a way that is far from us today and if I am honest, far from me.  I have recently grown convicted of my need for more prayer and consistently devoting time to it, but why don't I?  This, along with all sin, stems from selfishness.  Selfish in the fact that I see a greater need to pray for myself than to pray for others. Selfish in not spending the time with God that He deserves and desires from us.  

So how do I/we change this?  When we view prayer as the act of worship that it is and understand that worship is a lifestyle, then we can't help but be devoted to prayer as we grow and fall more in love with Jesus Christ.  When we realize that we get to instead of have to, talking to God is a privilege not a chore.  As this occurs I believe we will see what took place in the early church in the book of Acts- we will see countless numbers of people who are saved by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Younite '12 Bandana Videos

So this is the final post of videos we made for this year's Younite.  It's been slow uploading them all since I am only allowed so much each week on the account.  We gave the students Younite bandanas this year and so my friend Jason and I filmed all the ways you could use a bandana.  We just stood in front of the camera and started talking and 11 minutes later we finished.  So with it being that long I split it into 4 videos and we showed them at the opening night during the activity after the kickoff.  So in case you ever wondered all the ways you could use a bandana, here you go.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

WNW 8/22/12- Leadership Challenge

This week's Wednesday Night Worship was our final one for the summer as we are doing something different next week, then kick off the new church year the following and will be back to a regular WNW.  We began the night by playing a short game called "Shape Shifters" where the group circled up and joined hands and closed their eyes and then one person outside the group would try to talk to them and guide them to move around to form different shapes.  It was a good activity to grasp the importance of leading and listening to leaders.  We then went into a worship set that included:  "So Much", "In The Secret", and "Good" (Chris Sligh).  

I began the night by talking about favorite quotes and some students shared theirs.  My favorite one shared was "Always be yourself unless you can be Batman, always be Batman."  I shared some funny quotes that I found on the internet by Yogi Berra, Bill Cosby, and Steve Martin, and one by Ron Swanson "Intensity- Give 100%, 110% is impossible, only idiots suggest that."  I also shared that one of my least favorite quotes and saying is "The youth are the church of tomorrow."  This drives me crazy because while they are still growing up and maturing and learning about life, they are the church now.  I want our students to understand that they are leaders now and need to understand the importance of serving others and being a leader.  When you become a Christian it isn't simply about going to heaven because Jesus is the prize.  You are committing to give Him your life and that means following Him wherever, however, whenever, and doing whatever He leads you.

The first set of Scripture we looked at was 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 about Spiritual Gifts.  We only spoke about Spiritual Gifts briefly but I told the students to talk to me if they are unsure of theirs and we can talk about that.  I shared a few things like how you receive at least one Spiritual Gift when you are saved, some examples of what are NOT Spiritual Gifts, and that they are given to you in order to serve God and glorify Him.  We then looked at 1 Corinthians 12:12-20.  We looked at these verses last fall when one of our student led groups talked about this.  I shared about how it is every Christian's responsibility to be a servant, which is what we will be covering more this fall.  I told the students that my heart and focus in youth ministry now more than ever is to lead and teach them to become servants and lead others to Jesus.  I believe that this is the main way we are to evangelize through relationships.  One of the main marks of a spiritually mature Christian is that they serve others.  I then shared with them the following ways they can serve and be leaders:
1)  New students- our new group of student will be moving up soon and we have a group of about 12.  I shared with them that they all need to get to know them, welcome them, and make them feel a part of the group.  The quote I use every year is "Act stupid and you will lead them to be stupid" meaning that if you show disrespect then so will they, if you act like a Christian and then live differently outside the church then they will also.  I encouraged them to really understand that these young students are looking up to them and it is their responsibility to set a godly example.
2)  After School- we have a new after school program this year and we are really encouraging our students to be a part.  They can serve in several capacities, and then they will be dismissed in time to come be a part of our youth Wednesday Night Worship service.
3)  Sack Pack Ministry- I am excited to be a part of this new project.  A sad reality is that there are kids that only get to eat when they are at school.  This ministry will be that each week we will be packing 25-30 bags of food that will be delivered to EK Baker School for these kids to take home with them on the weekend.  The student ministry will be in charge of preparing these bags each week.  Every student needs to be involved in this.
4)  Service Opportunities- I shared a few opportunities that are currently available for the to serve such as helping Full Circle move into their new building, which is the place we worked at during Younite to get ready for this move.
5)  Leadership Teams- I announced that we are having 4 new leadership teams within the youth ministry for students to pray about how they can serve and be leaders:  Media Team, Welcome/Greeting Team, Prayer Team, and Creative Team.

I challenged the students to pray about where God would lead them to serve within the youth ministry, the church, and the community.  I ended by reading Jeremiah 1:7-9.  I shared with them that they should not fear because they are young, that God will send them where He wants them to go and will put His words in their mouth.

I am excited about how our students are growing, and I told them that I look forward to the victories that we will celebrate over the next year.  Please pray for our students as they serve and lead as they are the church of today.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

WNW 8/16/12- Group 2

Last night at Wednesday Night Worship group 2 led.  I ended up leading worship to fill in for Joseph who was unable to be there, but Mikaylee also played for her first time.  We played a set with:  "Good to Be Alive" (Jason Gray), "More Like Falling In Love" (Jason Gray), and "Happy Day" (Tim Hughes).  Every student in their group was involved during the night from worship, welcome, prayer, Scripture reading, and Kaite gave the message.  Her message was from 2 Corinthians 6 and 7:1-4.  I wrote down several of the things she said that stood out to me:
-You don't always worry until you think there is a reason to worry
-Our hardships should not define our life and our choices
-Any day you can call out to God for salvation and He hears you
-When you endure hardships, God is praised for it in the end by the fact that He helped you through it
-Credibility means believability- when enduring you show those who see that God has credibility
-Run as fast as you can toward Christ and those beside you are your true friends

Her final words to the group was to be real with one another, stick together, and unite with the purpose of Christ and God will do great things.  She used 2 Corinthians 7:4 as her main verse in saying that she also has confidence in the students that God will do great things in and through them.  She challenged us all to write out a list of all our hardships that God has helped us through in order to praise Him.

It was a really good night and a great message for our students to hear.  I'm excited for the road ahead for our students just as Kaite referred to.  I am looking forward to the words that He has placed on my heart for the coming season and I too have confidence in our students.  I have confidence that God wants to use them in ways that they cannot even imagine.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Younite '12 Review Video

It's crazy that Younite was over two weeks ago and I'm still posting stuff about it, but it is hard to wrap up in a few posts and videos what all God did in and through our students that week.  It is such an honor and privilege that God would use us and that He allows me to be a part of something so great.  I love our students and am so proud to be their youth pastor.  They really did some amazing work at Younite, and it is amazing to hear their stories and how God worked in their hearts.  Here is the long or extended version of the wrap-up video.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

WNW 8/8/12- Group 1

This week at Wednesday Night Worship was the first of two completely student led weeks.  We have done this in the past and a couple of our students that graduated had told me in the past they wanted to do this again before they left for college in order to give their final challenge to the students.  The groups ended up being divided with guys in group 1 and girls in group 2.  This week was the guys group since it was Mitchell's last week before moving to college.

The band consisted of the normal group, but Joseph led instead of me.  It was nice to get to worship on the floor with the other students.  They did a set that had:  "Silent Night" (to see who would laugh), "Song of Hope", "Holding Onto You", "Revelation Song", and "Cannons".  Mitchell then gave the message and did a great job.  He started off with an activity he called "I'm going on a trip" where the first person said where they were going and who they were taking with them.  The second person had to repeat the first and add to it, and so on.  Of course it gets harder with each person to remember what all has been said.  They ended it with Austin saying he was going to heaven and taking all of us (which Mitchell tied in with his message at the end).  He began by talking about where he was a year ago.  He was starting his senior year and had the thought that in order to make it great he needed to be involved in everything he possibly could.  He said he felt like it was his last chance to do something great.  But he realized that wasn't his purpose, or any of ours.  He read the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and talked about our purpose is to go and make disciples.  He tied in some of the thoughts from Younite about how life is short and how we are not guaranteed tomorrow.  This does not mean we are to complete items on a bucket list, but we are to do everything for God.  He was challenged at one point in the year at an FCA event when they were told to not let "senioritis" get them, which he admits he was dealing with.  He was challenged that the school he was in was his mission field.  He then read Hebrews 12:2-3 and shared that you are going to get tired as you go along, but to look to God for your strength.  He also read 2 Timothy 4:1-8 and challenged each student to continue always serving God, and finish well.  He then had us right a letter to ourselves of where we want to be in our relationship with God by Christmas and seal it in an envelope.  Then he will come back at Christmas and give them back out for us to read and see if we have grown in our faith.

It was such a good night.  I was really proud of the students and the ways they led from singing, to praying, to running lyrics on the computer, giving the message, etc.  Mitchell's message was really well spoken and it was truly from his heart as he challenged the students.  I look forward to seeing Group 2 next week.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Younite '12 Day 3

The last day of Younite was different and it went really well.  We started off the day like the others with a worship set that included: "Tell the World", "Happy Day", and "Like A Lion".  My throat was really feeling it so Joseph stepped in and sang for me.  The Bible study theme for the day was "Joy- Living With Joy Brings Joy to the Giver".  The verses used were Romans 6:11, James 1:2-3, Isaiah 43:2-3, and John 16:22.  We focused this day on the difference in happiness and joy.  Jason described it perfectly that happiness can change in any given moment, but true joy is not based on your circumstances.  

For our project this day we changed it up a bit.  At Fuge we had some that were in the Evangelism track and each day they went to a park and prayer walked, prayed with people, and shared their faith.  We went to our local Regional Park and did the same.  It was great hearing from the students some of their conversations where they were able to share with people and ask them how they could pray for them.  After lunch we went to the hospital to visit one of our student's grandfather.  He has been dealing with some sickness and we went to encourage him.  We may have encouraged him, but he encouraged us as well.  He is a retired pastor and he talked about being a witness and sharing the love of Jesus with everyone.  Very inspiring to say the least!

At our nighttime worship we changed things around a bit.  The students decided it would be nice to let Joseph lead and so mine and Ariel's voice could rest to lead at church the next day.  It was a simple set of Joseph on the acoustic, Jamin on the electric, and I played bass which was a lot of fun.  Our set list included: "Cannons", "Mighty to Save", and 2 others that are slipping my mind.  We had another great session with Teddy as he talked more about the difference in joy and happiness.  After some hanging out time we had our last group time which was really nice.  The students shared some of the experiences that stood out to them the most from the week and how God had impacted them.  Always an encouraging time for me.  We ended the evening with "movie night" by watching "A Goofy Movie".  When at camp one of our other leaders kept quoting hilarious lines from this movie and so it was really fitting to watch it.  When we announced that we were going to do that the students cheered.  It was a nice relaxing time as they got their pillows and lounged in the floor eating popcorn and candy while watching the movie.

I can't say enough how excited and pleased with how Younite went this year.  It was amazing to see the students serve, and grow closer to God each day.  I am so thankful that God has allowed me to be a part of this student ministry and see them become the men and women of God that they are.

Here are the morning videos we showed on Saturday.  The final rejected Younite theme and the video to announce movie night.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Younite '12 Day 2

Day 2 of Younite was another great day for us.  We began the day with a worship set that included "The King is Coming", "Dancing Generation", and "Oh Happiness".  The theme from the Bible study for the day was "Overflow- Live like there's no tomorrow."  Scripture used were James 4:14, Psalm 39:5, Proverbs 27:1, and Colossians 3:17.  The study and what Jason talked about was how life is short and we are to live our lives as an act of worship to Him.

After a hard day of work we had dinner, which was some amazing barbecue, and then the nighttime worship.  The worship set included: "Salvation is Here", "Good to Be Alive", "Running to You", "Forever Reign", and "Always".  Teddy followed along with the theme of the day and focused on Isaiah 43:1-7 and how life is short, and we were created to bring God glory.  After some hang time and group time discussing the day's events, we had the 2012 Younite Olympics.  Four teams competed in a series of events and it was quite entertaining.

Here are the morning videos we showed for the day:  the second Younite rejected theme and the commercial to announce we were doing the Younite Olympics.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Younite '12 Day 1

After staying on Wednesday night and having a great kickoff service, along with some other activities, we woke up Thursday morning ready to go at it.  Our theme for the day was "Seize- Dead to Sin/Don't Waste Another Second".  The verses used in this day of the Bible study was Romans 6:11 (our main verse), and Romans 6:12-13.  The beginning of this study focused on being dead to sin.  We talked about how we are also presented with opportunities to serve God each day and must seize it while it is before us.  Leonard Ravenhill said "The opportunity of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of that opportunity."  The line of the song "Good to Be Alive" that we focused on was "I won't waste another second."  We were really challenged with not wasting any opportunities that were before us take the opportunity to serve God.  Jason began the day with a hilarious story of a missed opportunity he had as a teenager which involved vomiting (you just had to be there).  The morning worship set included:  "Like A Lion", "Marvelous Light", and "Good to be Alive".

After our morning worship we set out on our first day of projects.  We worked these first two days at the new Full Circle Crisis Center building that they are about to move into.  We did various tasks such as painting, cleaning windows, cleaning floors, cleaning carpets, landscaping, etc.  The students worked extremely hard and it was great to be involved in helping out such a wonderful ministry.

After cleaning up, resting a bit, and eating a wonderful dinner we had our night worship service which included the songs:  "Our God", "SMS-Shine", "Hosanna", "Never Coming Down", and "Arms That Hold The Universe".  My friend Teddy delivered a great message looking who Jesus is.  We did things differently and circled up chairs so he could not only teach, but bring in some discussion.  We discussed how the world views Jesus and what the Bible says as well.

After the message we had some hang time and went into some group discussion about the day.  Students gave great feedback each day about what God had spoken to them on site, in the Bible study, worship, etc.  Afterward we played "The Singing Bee" which was a lot of fun.  Students showed the knowledge, or lack of, in Christian lyrics.  It ended in a sing-off between two students who still got everything right so we concluded with a duet.  A great first full day to say the least!

Here are the morning videos we showed.  The first video if the first in a set of "Rejected Younite Themes", while the second video is a commercial for "The Singing Bee".