For Students: Don’t Stress There’s Help!!

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Dare You To Try And Watch And Not Smile!!!! You Can’t:)

My son was playing in his room one day.  As I sat on the couch in the living room he came running out screaming “daddy daddy I want to show you something”.  I said “OK buddy”. He said “watch daddy watch”.  I could not believe how committed he was in doing this dance move as correctly as he saw it in his mind.  It makes me smile every time I watch it.  I hope it puts a smile on your face. 

For Students: What If All Christians Cared Like This?!?!

avalancheWhat would be equally worse than having a cure for a disease and never telling or giving it to anyone?  Answer:  If you have the answer to how you have your past forgiven and given a purpose for living and a home in heaven and not share it with anyone.  I’ve learned to check myself frequently, making sure that I haven’t gotten so caught up in my own walk with Christ, that I forget about those who haven’t been introduced to Him yet.  Because I can get caught up in what I want God to do for me that I forget what he can do for others.

I had a conversation with a student that really got me thinking.  The student took a bold chance and invited a friend of a different faith to church.  The two had heard that day in church about how Jesus Christ is the only way to God the Father.  So in a conversation after the service the friend asked the student “do you think I will go to hell based on what I believe right now”?  The student, knowing that this could go horribly wrong and probably change their friendship, said “yes”.  Now the response the student’s friend gave is what motivated this post.  The friend responded with “well thanks for caring enough about me to invite me to church”.  The friend went on to say, ” I have other Christian friends and they have never invited me to church.  If they believe what you believe about where and how I would spend eternity, why wouldn’t they care enough to invite me?”

This conversation got me thinking about how important it is that we share Christ with everyone because it simply shows that we care. duh!! ha.  Simple concept but very profound.  Sometimes in order for us to show that we care, it takes us to not care about what other people say or think.  This student took a huge step not caring what the friend would think and invited the friend to church.  The fact that the friend equated being invited to church as an act of caring for her should be a wake up call to us.  Who do you need to care about this week and invite to church?  I believe there are a few lessons we can learn from this student that had the boldness to invite not just a friend but one of a different belief to church.

  1. Jesus Christ died for everyone so there is no one excluded.(John 3:16)  So reach out and invite your friends to church.  It doesn’t matter what they believe or where they are in life, God can reach them.  Pray for opportunities to talk with those friends about Christ.
  2. Being bold in sharing your faith in love, will have an affect in the lives of those you share Christ with, in some way.  Even if they don’t come to Christ right away, you have planted a seed in their life that will produce fruit.
  3. Be motivated by God’s love.  Those who do not have a relationship with Christ cannot fulfill the purpose God has for them here on earth in Christ.  Christ died so we would have the opportunity to be in relationship with Him.  We should want that for everyone we know.
  4. Sharing Christ with others who don’t know Him is valuing your eternal relationship with them as-well-as your temporal one here on earth.  Because God cares about them both.

I know how hard and scary it is sometime to share Christ or invite someone to church.  Especially knowing that religion is a very hot topic for people, but the cost is too high for us not to share and invite.  I find the strength to share Christ, in knowing that it’s something God has called me to do.  The people I share with and invite are better off regardless of whether they come to a service or receive Christ because a seed has been planted.  So I rely on Him to use me in His plan to change lives. It’s not in my own strength that I share my faith but through Christ who strengthens me.  We have all been called to spreading the gospel.  So care about someone this week and  share Christ and invite them to church.  I would say think about it as if their life depended on it because IT DOES!  You never know who’s waiting just to be invited.

hope it helps
ac

Why I Hate Religion, but love Jesus/My Response!!

I was asked by a student my thoughts on this video so I thought I’d share them in a post.  With over ten million views this video is crazy popular. I’ve definitely seen it being posted and re-posted over and over again on Facebook.  I have to wear two different hats to respond to this video.  My check and balances hat says that some of his points in this video could  be better, although he does make some good points.  I believe the theme he should be referencing is man’s sinful  nature in the name of religion vs Jesus.  Just using the word religion could confuse people on the concept of religion.  So my advice would be don’t agree with a video because it’s popular or sounds right make sure it aligns with the bible.

Now, wearing my God can use anything hat.  I think because this video is so popular I believe this video can be used to talk about Christ to people who needs to hear about Him.  We should address the flaws but also address the opportunity this video has created.  I’ve learned that the opportunity to share Christ does not always come the way I expect it.   I think about how we use the good stories about Christ for good but we also use the bad that happened to Christ for good.  We use the good that King David of the bible did for good.  We also, use the bad that King David of the bible did for good.  So take the opportunities to share Christ out of the box of events and clubs. 

So I challenge students to use this video as a tool to talk to your friends about Christ.  You never know where people are in their life.  What you say might be just what they need to hear.

hope it helps
ac

Part 2/2 Don’t Graduate!!

When it comes to building a lasting relationship it all comes down to the foundation. There is a story in the bible that Jesus told,(Matthew 7:24-27) it was about two men. The first man was building a home and decided to build it on sand.  When the rain came, the streams rose and the wind begin to beat up against the house and it was destroyed and washed away.  The other man was also building a home but he built it on a rock.  The rain came, the streams rose and the wind blew.  His home withstood all that had tried to destroy it.

If you build your relationship with Christ on the truth of what the bible has to say about him.  Then you are just like the man who built his home on a rock.  It will be able to withstand the craziness of life. If you build your relationship with Christ on anything other than truth it will crumble like the man who built his home on sand.  Developing spiritual habits such as, spending time with Christ in conversation and reading the bible, strengthens the foundation of your relationship with Christ.

No matter where you think you are in your relationship with Christ, the steps below should be considered.

  1. Understand who Christ is and what he has done for you.
  2. Allow that truth to be the motivation for pursuing a relationship with Christ.
  3. Develop spiritual habits that will strengthen your relationship with Christ.
  4. Allow your relationship with Christ to transform your entire life into one that imitates Christ.
  5. Connect with a leader or join a life group if you are not in one.  You need to be in community with other believers.  God designed us and our journey with Him to be in community with others not on our own.

One tip as you look at potential colleges is that you need to look at the surrounding churches.  It’s important that you are connected with other believers.  That should be a part of your college priority list.

If you would like resources to help you in one of the areas above you can respond to this post or email: ac@saddleback.com.

My prayer is that you are free to move on from high school into college knowing that you have built your relationship with Christ on a solid foundation.  Just because you’re graduating from high school doesn’t mean you should graduate from your faith.

hope it helps
ac

Part 1/2 Don’t Graduate!!

Heard a story the other night that motivated this post.  A student sent their leader a text full of concern and uneasiness.  This student was accepted into the college that they’ve always wanted to go to.  The issue comes with it being out of state. The students concerns are:

  • They are a new Christian and won’t have the support of their life group who has been like family to them.
  • They might stray away from Christ because they don’t feel strong enough to be on their own.

Statistics came out that if you filled 100 students in a room 65 of them would leave the faith after high school.  This has literally set off a student ministry wide search to come up with answers.  People are writing books, workshops and even doing podcast about it. Some are doing the blame game and others are pushing that they have the solution.  To be honest, I think it’s a great thing that we are trying to figure out our part in this as your youth ministry.  It’s definitely different for everyone and so we need to take different looks at the issue for sure.
My angle in this post is really to push you to think about the student in the story.  I hope that every student will have these concerns, but it’s not enough just to be concerned, but to have actions to follow.  Whether you feel like you have it all together or not, ask yourself these questions and be honest in your answers.

  • Do you know what it means to have a relationship with Christ?
  • How faithful are you in pursuing to be more like Christ?
  • Do you find it easy to get caught up in doing the wrong thing?
  • How committed are you to getting connected and growing in your life group or church group?
  • Do you feel like you have a solid foundation for what you should believe as a Christ follower?
  • Do you feel like God would be pleased with your life if it ended tomorrow?

These questions are definitely not about making you feel guilty.  God wants to be in relationship with you and has a purpose for your life.  No one plans to get to a point where they are just drifting out of relationship with God.  Even though some people give the excuse that it just happened, that’s not just the case.  There is a reason why out of a 100 students 65 drift off and out of relationship with Christ.  So as the youth ministry world makes this a priority in doing their part, I would ask you to do the same and check your walk/journey with Christ. Do the things that would strengthen the foundation of your relationship with Christ.  So that when the day comes for you to graduate from high school you don’t include your faith.

Your relationship with Christ is meant to be a relationship that lasts for eternity.  The choices you make today about your faith will impact your life either way in the future.  I would advise you to talk with your parents or your church group leaders about these questions and your response to them.  Find someone that you know will tell you the truth and give you sound advice.  Allow someone to walk with you as you build a faith that will last.  Just because you’re graduating from high school doesn’t mean you have to graduate from your faith.