Hi! Happy October!! OCTOBER????? Haha! I am praying for you right now! 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
Our job is to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child. #elmore
When you feel stretched, it’s a setup for God’s strength. #furtick
Don’t worry about finding your purpose. If you are seeking after God, your purpose will find you. #evans
Being odd for the sake of Jesus is the highest of callings. It’s living an odd life marked by love, forgiveness, compassion, kindness, humility and self-sacrifice. #fields
1. 10 Things to Say When Your Child Says They Don’t Believe in God Anymore…
2. Teen Trouble… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/teen-trouble-take-quiz/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=70d98c1e72-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-70d98c1e72-126726953
3. 12 Prayers for when you are anxious by Max Lucado
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
4 Passionate Desires of a Good Leader’s Heart by Brandon Cox
Today’s Kids Are Not Yesterday’s Kids by Dale Hudson (Find your age group!! Memory lane!)
Seven Terms That Summarize Generation Z’s Mindset by Tim Elmore
Apps Stirring Up Trouble in Schools by Caroline Knorr (Yikes!)

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

Here are 2 just for you:

Great Leaders Live By Strong Convictions by Rick Warren

The real foundation of great leadership is character, not charisma. And one aspect of a leader’s character is the convictions to which he is deeply committed. Great leaders have strongly held beliefs. An opinion is something you’d argue about; a conviction is something you’d die for. Pastors, especially, must define the convictions for which they will endure every kind of hardship, and the only way to stand for those kinds of convictions is to live from a deep sense of God’s calling.

If God has called you to the task of leadership, nothing can stop you. Your identity rests in your relationship with him, not the approval of the people you are leading or the watching world around you. Instead of living in the comparison trap or the fear of what people will think, you must develop your convictions – theological, ethical, and practical – and stand by them.

Believe in advance that your convictions will be tested from at least eight angles:

1. Derision. When you’re in leadership, one of the first ways people will try to get you to deny your conviction is to make fun of you. Your convictions may very well be a punchline at times.

2. Discouragement. One of the enemy’s most powerful weapons is discouragement. Why? Because convictions, by their very nature, require courage to uphold. Discouragement usually comes at the halfway point when you’re halfway done with the project or halfway up the mountain.

3. Dread. Fear is one of the greatest threats to a leader’s convictions. I’ve often said, even when put on the spot by secular media personalities that I must fear God more than other people. It is to him alone that I will answer someday for how I stood by the deeply held beliefs he called me to possess.

4. Discord. Few things will stunt the growth of a movement or a church faster than gossip. One rumor or false accusation has the potential to destroy the reputation of a leader.

5. Division. It’s a big challenge for a leader to keep people together in a movement, but it’s essential. And since leadership is all about getting human beings to work together toward a common goal, this challenge is especially difficult for a leader to face.

6. Distractions. If the enemy can’t divide the people of a movement, he’ll provide distractions. Some of the distractions that cause the most problems aren’t bad things but rather good things that aren’t the best things.

7. Defamation. Paul was hounded by the Judaizers. Nehemiah had to deal with Sanballat. Jesus was falsely accused of blasphemy. It’s the pioneers out front who are most likely to get shot in the back. It’s a side effect of an expanding influence.

8. Danger. The Bible never actually promised believers a life “safe and secure from all alarms.” On the contrary, those who lead and have a voice will also suffer persecution and encounter danger along the way.

The enemy will try to use all eight of these tactics to top you from leading. What do you do in the face of such opposition? Don’t give up! Hold onto your convictions. Be persistent. Endure. When you are committed to your convictions, nothing will cause you to quit. And a “no quit” attitude is an essential characteristic of any great leader.

Heart of a Champion (One of my favorites!)

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air.  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”                      (1 Corinthians 9:25-27) (NIV)

There is an old saying: Champions don’t become champions in the ring – they are merely recognized there. Boxing is a good analogy for leadership development because it is all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, he has to prepare and train to become successful.

One of the most famous quotes of President Theodore Roosevelt uses a boxing analogy: “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause.”


4 Passionate Desires of a Good Leader’s Heart by Brandon Cox

I completely agree with Ken Blanchard, author of Lead Like Jesus, that the greatest leader in all of history is Jesus. My faith convictions about him being the Son of God and Savior of the world aside, his organization should have died long ago if judged only in business terms and yet, it’s thriving two thousand years after several major world empires have fallen.

I also believe some people echo Jesus’ leadership style without even realizing it. Any talk of servant leadership certainly traces back to the influence of Jesus on our modern era.

One of the facets of Jesus’ leadership that sets him in his own class is his absolute purity of motives for leading. While some leaders become quite wealthy leading (and there isn’t anything inherently wrong with that), Jesus seemed to have no care whatsoever for acquiring personal possessions. I do believe he wanted some things, but his wants were different from the desires of many other leaders.

Let me offer desires that good leaders seem to have:

1. Good leaders want to change the world for good.

It isn’t that good leaders only lead and manage organizations with good causes, it’s that good leaders see their leadership as significantly affecting the world around them in good ways. In general, good leaders seek to contribute something to human flourishing.

2. Good leaders want more influence.

Some leaders won’t admit it, partly because our culture tends to push back against people who desire achievement, but most of the great leaders I know see leadership as both a privilege and a responsibility. That is, leaders should lead people.

Therefore, we want more influence so that we can lead more people and change more of the world for good than we are currently leading. Don’t apologize for this. It’s okay to desire more influence.

3 Good leaders want a healthy organizational culture.

Culture is a force that trumps vision and strategy combined. It’s incredibly powerful. And good leaders understand that their primary area of responsibility is culture creation. This explains why so many leaders strive to be more emotionally intelligent and aware of their own personal growth.

Effective leaders have an understanding that they are a lid for the people they lead. Stagnant leaders never lead stagnant teams.

4. Good leaders want the best for the people they lead.

The Grace Hills Church staff talks about this often. One of our core values is that we “refuse to use people” and we try to help people discover their gifts, passion, and personality and serve accordingly so that they thrive.

People need to do more than survive. And I believe they even need more than “success.” People need to make a significant difference in their world, so a leader’s heart is to equip, empower, and release people to do significant things.

The greatest leaders I know have always seen leadership as relational rather than transactional. Rather than separating the personal from the professional, great leaders are willing to care for the people they lead and to be interested in their good and their growth.

Feel free to discuss this with the team you lead, and let me know in the comments what I’ve missed!


Today’s Kids Are Not Yesterday’s Kids by Dale Hudson

Remember when you were a kid?  Take a trip down memory lane for a minute with me.

In your 70’s or 80’s?  You may remember these from your childhood.

  • Electric train set toys
  • Steel truck toys
  • Chutes and Ladders game
  • All-Star Baseball Game by Cadaco
  • Happy Time Doll Houses
  • Pull Toys
  • Toy Rotary phone
  • Electronic radio player
  • spending lots of time playing outside
  • playing marbles
  • steel wheel roller skates
  • walking downtown unattended by your parents
  • movies had no rating system – it wasn’t needed – Saturday matinee was 10 cents
  • “The Shadow” and “The Green Lantern” on the radio
  • one room school houses
  • working on the family farm

In your 60’s?  Remember these from when you were a kid?

  • Fisher-Price Little People
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • Gumby
  • Barbie
  • Hula Hoops
  • Pogo Sticks
  • Lincoln Logs
  • Radio Flyer Wagon
  • View-Master
  • Slinky
  • Cinderella movie
  • Sleeping Beauty movie
  • Peter Pan movie
  • playing Scrabble on a rainy day
  • riding your bicycle to the corner store (without a helmet)
  • television was 3 networks in black and white
  • Howdy Doody Time on television
  • long road trips in the station wagon
  • Leave it to Beaver

In your 50’s?  Do you remember any of these from your childhood?

  • Chatty Cathy doll
  • Wham-O Super Ball
  • Lite-Brite
  • Easy Bake Oven
  • Flatsy dolls
  • Big Wheels
  • G.I. Joe
  • Cap guns
  • Crackerjacks
  • Hoppity Hop
  • Nerf balls
  • Barrel of Monkeys
  • Twister game
  • Operation game
  • The Sound of Music movie
  • Mary Poppins movie
  • The Jungle Book movie
  • 101 Dalmatians movie
  • The Flinstones
  • Johnny Quest
  • Tom and Jerry
  • Underdog
  • Mister Roger’s Neighborhood
  • Saturday morning cartoons
  • Superman comic books
  • coaches weren’t interested in your comfort or self-esteem

In your 40’s?  These may bring back some childhood memories…

  • Etch-a-Sketch
  • Stretch Armstrong
  • Legos
  • Mastermind game
  • Mouse Trap game
  • Tonka trucks
  • Atari 2600 video game system
  • Pong video game
  • Aristocats movie
  • Herbie movie
  • Mork and Mindy
  • The Brady Bunch
  • Six Million Dollar Man
  • What were seat belts?
  • Riding in the back of a flatbed truck
  • Metal slides on the playground
  • Fruit Stripe gum
  • Hawaiian Punch
  • Pet rocks
  • listening to 8-tracks
  • Space Invaders video game
  • Shag carpet
  • Conjunction junction, what’s your function?
  • Rubik’s cube

In your 30’s?  See if these cause any flashbacks…

  • Teddy Ruxpin
  • Fisher-Price Cassette Player
  • Casey the Talking Robot
  • Care Bears
  • Cabbage Patch dolls
  • Garbage Pail Kids cards
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • He-Man and She-Ra
  • Smurfs
  • Pound Puppies
  • Transformers
  • My Little Pony
  • Nintendo NES
  • Mobile phones go on sale and are the size of bricks
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off movie
  • Back to the Future movie
  • The Little Mermaid movie
  • Honey I Shrunk the Kids
  • The Muppet Show on TV
  • Captain Caveman cartoon
  • Disco music

In your 20’s?  See if these cause any flashbacks…    

  • Pogs
  • Super Soakers
  • Pokemon cards
  • Tickle Me Elmo
  • Spice Girls
  • Gak
  • Furby
  • Beanie Babies
  • Flip phones
  • The Lion King movie
  • Aladdin move
  • Pocahontas movie
  • Toy Story movie
  • A Bug’s Life movie
  • Playstation game system
  • Dreamcast game system
  • Rugrats TV show
  • Blue’s Clues TV shows
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy
  • Microsoft Office
  • Desktop home computers
  • Floppy disks
  • VHS tapes from Blockbuster
  • Game Boy handheld video game
  • Furbies
  • dial up internet

 Today’s Kids…

  • iPhones
  • High speed internet
  • Wireless internet
  • 8 second attention span
  • Nintendo Switch video game
  • Social media
  • Wii
  • Xbox One game system
  • PlayStation 4 game system 
  • Most diverse generation in the U.S.
  • iPads
  • Lego Batman movie
  • Zootopia movie
  • Minions movie
  • Nickelodeon channel
  • Disney channel
  • Feature films that are computer n
  • Streaming music 
  • 9/11 and terrorism
  • Cell phone cameras rather than point and shoot digital cameras
  • 92% have a digital footprint
  • Addicted to digital devices
  • Spend an average of 7 hours 38 minutes a day with digital media.
  • Netflix
  • Interact with 5 screens a day
  • Transgender issues
  • Co-inhabiting parents
  • On demand

As you can see, today’s kids are not yesterday’s kids.  We must remember this as we seek to reach and disciple them.

Many children’s ministry leaders make the mistake of trying to teach kids the way they were taught when they were kids.  The problem with this?  Childhood has changed.  Methods that worked when you were a child may not work today.

It is crucial that we stay up-to-date with current child trends and happenings.  Our message doesn’t change, but our methods must change to stay relevant with today’s kids.

We are committed to helping you stay informed and up-to-date with today’s kids.  We feature regular articles that can help you stay connected with today’s kids.  Here are some recent articles about Gen Z.

3 Big Keys to Reaching Gen Z 

8 Big Differences Between Millennial Parents and Their Gen Z Kids

Gen Z…the latest need-to-knows

Are We Losing Gen Z?


Seven Terms That Summarize Generation Z’s Mindset by Tim Elmore


In 2016, Growing Leaders hosted five focus groups, made up of high school and middle school teens, from various states across the U.S. Our purpose was to uncover the mindset of these students and how it has shifted from that of the Millennials.

Today, I offer you six commonly used terms that seem to summarize Gen Z (kids growing up in the 21stcentury). In addition, I will provide a summary of how we can best lead them, given their mindset (psyche) and circumstances.

1. DIY

You know this term: Do It Yourself. Today’s students have grown up in a world of “do it yourself”—from purchasing products on-line, to pumping gasoline, to tailoring their Nike shoes to Googling answers. Generation Z learned from their Millennial counterparts who believed what adults told them: graduate high school, do community service, get a degree from a four-year college and you’ll end up in a great job and career. For millions, life did not turn out this way. Gen Z plans to be less conventional with their future opportunities. They are “hackers” who plan to figure out what works best for them, even before they graduate.

Our response: Our leadership style should resemble The Home Depot motto: “You can do it. We can help.” Instead of hovering over them like helicopters, what if we let them process their goal and the steps to reach it—and we act like consultants, not supervisors.

2. GPA

This acronym has been used for decades to describe a student’s Grade Point Average. Over the last forty years, the importance of GPA has been rising among high school and college students. A recent Bates College study found that a high school GPA is the best indicator of success in college—not standardized test scores. It’s become so central that it’s produced anxiety among students who made it a “god,” not a “guide” for success. Today, although some colleges have lowered requirements due to lower enrollment, GPA remains a high priority for students and parents. In fact, the top two pressures teens feel today are family stress and their GPA.

Our response: Our style should resemble the Kit Kat slogan: Give Me a Break! Help students lighten up on the GPA scorecard. Academics are important but over-stressed students do worse on exams. Put grades in perspective and be sure kids have margin in the day to reflect on what they really learned. No doubt, some kids need to learn to concentrate—but many need to learn how to be at peace.

3. FYI

We use this term all the time: For Your Information. Generation Z is all about this: both sending and receiving more data than any generation before them. They’ve never known a day without social media. They no longer need adults to get information. What’s scary is—much of the information is fake, damaging or outright lies. But, alas, information rules the day. The information overload has led to angst and depression as kids’ brains consume more than 10,000 bits of data each day. Herbert Simon once said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

Our response: We must help them “filter” the information coming at them. We must talk about what online content is worth their time and what isn’t. We must alert them to how damaging multiple personas on social media can be. We must help them to reject “friend requests” or sources of information that could be distracting or damaging. Students need to be encouraged to embrace the phrase: “Less is more.”

4. FOMO and FOLO

These terms have become popular over the last 5-7 years: Fear Of Missing Out and Fear Of Living Off-line. They arose due to social media posts revealing fun stuff going on in friends’ lives (particularly if you weren’t invited) and feeling your life pales in comparison. Hours on Instagram or Facebook actually foster angst and depression—from seeing how great others’ lives are (or at least “great lives” are being projected on social media). Let’s face it. Today, we have never been less self-aware, yet more socially aware. Further, much of what kids fear they’ll miss out on are unnecessary; like pictures of food on Instagram or ridiculous shows like The Kardashians or The Bachelorette.

Our response: Our leadership style should be more like Nike: “Just Do It.” Host conversations with students to show them that paranoia over what they’re missing causes them to miss out on what’s right in front of them. They frequently stress over items that are out of their control and miss items that are in their control.

5. OJT

We learned this term when we got our first job or perhaps when we launched our career: On the Job Training. Generation Z plans to be educated, but they intend to start working earlier than Millennials. They may be school “hackers” rather than attend a four-year liberal arts college. Their resume may look more like a “mutt” than a thoroughbred, as they do MOOCs (massive on-line, open courses), internships, gigs, and certificate programs. While GPA is important, OJT is on the rise as equally important.

Our response: Our leadership should mirror Aetna’s new slogan: You don’t join us. We join you. If students are going to practice metacognition, adults must let them do the work, create the plan, make the mistakes—and even fail. Not all high school grads should go to college, especially if career preparation is better found in vocational training or tech schools. The world is different now and employers know it.

6. OMG

This term is overused today, in my opinion. It’s commonly used on a text or via social media to express: “Oh My Gosh!” or “Oh My God!” This term describes the high level of emotion Gen Z experiences. In a global survey, teens’ view of their own generation is: lazy, curiouscarefree, motivated, positive, and excited. That’s a pretty honest assessment. They’ve grown up in a day of hyperbole and nonsensical humor, as well as impulsive remarks on social media—and lots of emotion. To get heard, it seems you have to stretch the truth and use boatloads of exclamation points and emojis.

Our response: Back in 2005, Coca Cola first used the slogan: Make It Real, probably a derivative of their earlier phrase: It’s the real thing. The irony of students is that they claim to value authenticity, yet they may buy into more fake and disingenuous communication than anyone. We must remind them: Emotions make a wonderful servant but a poor master. Truth is most potent with no added artificial ingredients.

Question—Can you think of any other descriptors and solutions?


Apps Stirring Up Trouble in Schools by Caroline Knorr
How certain apps become popular with kids is a bit of a mystery. The best ones mix all the stuff tweens and teens love — gossiping, hanging out, clowning around, and meeting other kids — with an X factor that makes them go viral. Once an app gains critical mass (like, when every kid in school is on it), that’s when the real fun begins. But that’s where things can go wrong, too.

While recent app crazes were all about the new and novel, such as Snapchat’s disappearing messages and WhatsApp’s free texting, this year’s social media giants mostly serve up familiar features. And though some new offerings correct safety issues of the past — and kids are getting savvier about responsible use — social media can still stir up drama. The ones to watch out for this year include anonymous appslive streaming, group chatting, and friending, which bring up risks associated with giving blunt “feedback,” broadcasting yourself to the internet, oversharing, and meeting strangers.

It’s tough to keep up with all the latest apps kids get into. And the truth is, you don’t have to know every single detail of how each one works. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication open with your kid. Talk about their social media, ask questions — and listen. Pay attention to anything that sounds like a red flag and dig deeper. Helping your kid learn to use social media responsibly is the most effective way to help them stay safe online.

Check out some of the apps that can potentially stir up drama in schools.

Anonymous Apps
These apps allow kids to provide anonymous, unsolicited, and unmoderated feedback to other users. Anonymous apps are notorious hubs for cyberbullying because kids feel emboldened to say things they wouldn’t normally. New apps in this category include safety precautions, but you should still keep an ear out for potential issues.

Kiwi. This app and website let people ask questions of friends or all users. Posts are tagged with your location (unless you turn it off) so all the kids at one school can be on the app. The combination of anonymity and proximity led to the downfall of similar apps such as YikYak.

Sarahah. An Arabic word that translates roughly to “honesty,” Sarahah lets you send anonymous comments to friends. Some teens may use it to send anonymous messages with their schoolyard crushes, but more often it’s used to transmit all the mean things teens would never say to a friend’s face.

TBH. Standing for “to be honest,” TBH lets kids answer mostly wholesome questions about friends. The app’s launch was pretty tame, but with anonymous apps’ poor track record, TBH’s planned chat function could get out of hand.

Live Streaming
As with live TV, users simply aim the camera on themselves and broadcast to whoever is following them. Since there’s no delay — and kids are often streaming from their bedrooms — there’s a real risk of giving away personal or even intimate information. This kind of oversharing can make kids vulnerable to “sextortion” because users can record the live streams. If a kid reveals too much, others can use the recordings against them.

BIGO LIVE. BIGO lets users make video blogs or live stream their activities with the object of monetizing their videos and possibly becoming the next YouTube sensation. User-generated content can include bad language, violence, and nudity.

Live.ly. Live.ly is an extension of the lip-syncing app Musical.ly — which is known for its young users dancing suggestively. The app has no screening tools, so users who watch the streams are never entirely sure what they’re going to see when they open it up. And though the terms of use clearly define what objectionable content is not allowed, it also states that the developers have no obligation to respond to reports about violators.

Live.me. Live.me has a racier feel than other live streamers. You’ll see everything from racial slurs to kids being asked to take off their clothing. The emphasis on getting followers and fame is even embedded in the title, which may propel people into doing more outrageous acts.

YouNow. A very popular gathering place for kids, this app has its own celebrities and culture. Not only can you comment and like someone’s video, but you also can buy them gold bars or other gifts, which generates money for the broadcaster.

Making New Friends
The new “friending” apps enable kids to easily connect and chat with people they don’t know. While many of them rely on Snapchat or Instagram, they make it very easy to widen your circle of contacts to strangers. Friending apps also use location, so the new “friends” are all nearby, increasing the possibility of face-to-face meetings. Privacy and safety are real risks with these apps.

MyLOL. MyLOL is an app and website advertised for “teen dating” but is really meant for users over the age of 17. Users often post provocative, half-naked pictures of themselves and engage in flirty or even sexually explicit conversation. Chat topics also can include references to drug use, alcohol, or violence. Some users post their real names, IM handles, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Spotafriend. Billing itself as a Tinder alternative, this risky location-based app lets you rate other members (and lets other members rate you) by swiping left or right. It’s marketed as a teen “friend” app for users age 13 to 19, but comes with a Mature 17+ rating in the app stores.

Yellow. Called “Tinder for teens,” Yellow works with your Snapchat or Instagram account and similarly to Tinder in that users swipe left or right on photos to find a match. Users don’t have the option to make their profile private, and your profile can be viewed by anyone in a particular radius of your real-life location.

Group Video Chatting
Group video chatting is the newfangled party line from the olden days of rotary phones. Using their webcams or phones, kids communicate with several friends at once via live video. Because there’s no screening, there’s always the possibility of kids sharing private information or encountering age-inappropriate content.

Airtime. Airtime has most of the same features as other video-chat platforms but with the added twists of letting users watch videos and listen to music from across the web together. They can also live stream themselves. Viewing age-inappropriate content is a big risk, since there are no filters. And Airtime’s ability to create private “rooms” means kids could have one-on-one video chats with strangers.

Houseparty. Unlike FaceTime or Skype, Houseparty lets you have up to eight people in a room and have several “parties” going at once. The app makes it easy for kids to connect with people they don’t know and have private conversations.

Monkey. This app randomly connects teens with other Snapchat users around the world for a 10-second video chat. As with so many social networking tools, a teen’s experience will depend a lot on other users’ behavior. Some users report abuse and requests for baring body parts so it could be easy for some teens to get into trouble with this one.


Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
The preaching that this world needs most is the sermons in shoes that are walking with Jesus Christ. #moody
Worry less. Worship more. And trust our God to lead us to victory. #terqeurst
You cannot become who you are while wishing to be someone you are not.
(See 1 Corinthians 15:10) #furtick
Sometimes God must win the battle WITHIN me before He can win the battle FOR me.#furtick
1. Which Parent are You… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/08/which-parent-are-you-1/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=0dfb72756b-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_03&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-0dfb72756b-126726953
4. Four truths that will help your kids demonstrate the existence of God (below)
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
14 Characteristics of Incredible Small Group Leaders by Chase Snyder
The Best Gift You Can Give Your Teen (For parents but great for us!!
Teens are becoming adults later than they used to by Erica Pandey
Ten Steps to Maturity for Teenage Boys by Mark Gregston

Here are 2 video links I think you might like to see:

Here are 2 just for you:
How Do You Want to Be Remembered? 
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”   “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”    Matthew 26:10, 13
How do you want to be remembered? The memory of your life will linger beyond your death; so how will your obituary read? Your epitaph will define you; so how will it read? Will it point to God and people or to you? We will all have a memorial that reflects our life. It may be pigmy-sized because it is built around us, or it may be bigger than life because it is built around Christ. These are important eternal questions that need clear definition. Your defining moments are building a memorial that will extend into the future. There are spectators watching you assemble a life memorial. Your family is watching, friends and acquaintances are watching, and the world is watching, but most important, God is watching. 
Some of your heavenly-minded cohorts will do more than watch. Their memories will intertwine with yours, creating a beautiful tapestry of God’s faithfulness. Your memorial may be more a collaboration around community—rather than individual—accomplishments. Either way, stay in the process of keeping your life aligned with and for eternal purposes. Other well-meaning (and some not so well-meaning) pundits will try to dissuade you from a lifetime commitment to seek God’s best. They may define God’s will differently than you, for they have “a wonderful plan for your life.” But you have your own life to live. God’s best for you may not be God’s best for another, so take what God has given you and completely dedicate it to Him.
Your commitment to Christ is compelling in itself. It provides the wet cement that binds together the bricks of your life experiences. As you construct your life memorial, consider a few things. Ponder the wisdom of making God your foundation. When He is your foundation, your memorial will stand for eternity. The memory of your lifelong acts of service for Christ and others may fade over time, but your God-based foundation will remain. Build eternal financial investments for Jesus into the architecture of your beautiful life memorial. Leverage your resources for God’s Kingdom. Your memorial may be bricks and mortar that represent churches, schools, hospitals, businesses, community centers, or homes. Whatever you build, build for the glory of God.
However, one word of caution is necessary. A Christ-centered charter, governed by God-fearing leaders, is required to keep an institution pure in its mission. Spend as much or more time and money on preserving the integrity of the vision, as on the construction of buildings. Otherwise, your memorial to Christ may very well be hijacked by heresy.
Your memorial may consist of paying for the Christian education of your grandchildren. It may be funding initiatives and projects that leverage evangelism and discipleship in a country outside of yours. Your memorial building may involve serving Jesus in some obscure and remote part of the world, without fanfare or appreciation. Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord. Resist the critics, embrace Christ, and be ever mindful of beautiful Kingdom memorial-building.
The Bible says, “I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you forever and ever” (Psalm 45:17).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, may I be remembered as a follower of Jesus who loved well, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Application: What do I want my epitaph to say?
Being Before Doing
“Live right, and you will eat from the life-giving tree. And if you act wisely, others will follow.”  (Proverbs 11:30) (CEV)

I believe people tend to think of leadership only in terms of action. But leadership is so much more than just that. Leadership is not just something you do; it’s something you are. And that’s one of the reasons good leaders have such strong magnetism. People are attracted to who they are.

All leaders desire results, but being must precede doing. To achieve higher goals, you must be a more effective leader. To attract better people, you must be a better person yourself. To achieve greater results, you must be a person of great character. A common problem occurs when a leader’s real identity and the desired results don’t match up. But when leaders display consistency of character, competence, and purpose, it makes a powerful statement to the people around them – and it draws those people to them.

If you desire to do great things with your life, then seek to become a better person and a better leader. Nothing great can be achieved alone. Any task worth doing requires the help of others. And if you want to attract good people, you’ve got to become a better person yourself. If you’re willing to do that, then you can leave the results to God.


Four truths that will help your kids demonstrate the existence of God:

Our Universe Requires a Divine “First Cause”
Scientists have determined that our universe is not infinitely old. In fact, they now believe that everything in the universe, all space, time and matter, had a beginning in the distant past. Everything that begins to exist must have a causeWhat could account for the beginning of the universe?

One thing is certain: whatever caused the cosmos must be something other than space, time or matter (since these didn’t exist prior to the beginning of the universe). That means we’re looking for something non-spatial, non-temporal, non-material, and incredibly powerful. Sounds a lot like God, doesn’t it?

Life in the Universe Requires a Divine “Author”
Scientists have also determined that life in the universe is formed and guided by information. Biological organisms (like humans) possess deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) molecules. The nucleotide sequence in DNA is an incredibly long (and sophisticated) code that guides the growth, development, function and reproduction of every living organism.

But where does the information in DNA come from? Did this incredibly complex series of instructions come about by chance? Was it caused by the laws of physics or some process of evolution? No. The best explanation for information is intelligence. The information in DNA requires an intelligent author. Once again, God is the most reasonable explanation.

Moral Laws in the Universe Require a Divine “Law Giver”
All of us recognize the existence of moral laws and obligations. While some behaviors (like stealing or lying) may be justified on rare occasion (to save the life of an innocent person, for example), it’s never morally acceptable to steal or lie for the fun of it. This is true for all of us, regardless of when we have lived in history or where we have lived on the planet. These objective moral laws also describe obligations between persons. No one, for example, is morally obligated to the laws of physics or chemistry.

All laws such as these require lawgivers. Objective laws and obligations that transcend all of us require an objective, personal lawgiver who transcends all of us. Once again, God is the best explanation for the moral laws and obligations we all recognize.

Evil in the Universe Requires a Divine “Standard”
Some people point to evil as an evidence against the existence of God. Why would an all-powerful, all-loving God allow bad things to happen? Is He unable to stop them? Is He simply unwilling to prevent them? In either case, the existence of evil seems to invalidate our definition of God as an all-powerful and all-loving Being.

But what defines something as evil in the first place? Is something “evil” simply because we don’t personally approve of it, or do we believe some acts are truly evil, regardless of our opinion? If the latter is true, we would need an objective, transcendent standard of good by which to judge any particular act. The existence of God offers such a standard, and God often allows and uses temporal evil to develop our eternal character, draw us to himself, and achieve a greater good (if not immediately, over the course of history). Evil doesn’t disprove God’s existence but instead requires a standard of good to be anything more than a matter of opinion. Only God can provide such a standard.

Blessings, Kendall


14 Characteristics of Incredible Small Group Leaders by Chase Snyder



What right do you have leading others to Jesus if you are not following Him?

Small group leaders must be spiritually mature. Does this mean they have to be perfect? Of course not! Maturity doesn’t mean you are perfect. Maturity in Jesus means that you are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus through spiritual disciplines. Spiritually immature people are incapable of being spiritual leaders. The great news is that we can all, by the grace of Jesus and application of spiritual disciplines, grow spiritually.


Great small group leaders are attentive to the needs, spiritual conditions and personalities of the people that they are serving. It isn’t enough for a small group leader to know the bible study material – they must know the people they are serving.


Transparency is essential to building relationships. A relationship is essential for discipleship. Every person in your small group doesn’t need to know every aspect of your life. Instead, they need to know that you are a real person with real struggles. Groups that are transparent are led by a leader who is transparent.


Small group leaders are not responsible to “fix” people. There are too many negative ways you can take that statement so I will move on. Some leaders become increasingly frustrated that the students in their group aren’t maturing as quickly as others. Be patient. People are different. People come from different backgrounds. People have different stories.


This one is a no-brainer. Leaders have integrity. Without integrity, you lose influence. Integrity comes from practicing what you preach, both publicly and privately.


People are willing to follow someone who encourages them. Everyone feels inadequate in some areas of their spiritual life. Encouraging your small group can be as simple as praying, sending text messages or remembering to follow up with a question.


The love for people is an essential characteristic of great small group leaders. The best small group leaders are actively participating in other’s lives.  The best small group leaders are not the greatest Bible teachers – they are often the best relational leaders.


I find it hard to read the Bible and walk away with a negative attitude. God has repeatedly done the impossible for His people. Small group leaders need to approach their groups with a positive attitude. After all, God promises to provide for His people – both spiritually and relationally.


Jesus’ life exemplified the power present when we assume the role of a servant leader. Your small group doesn’t exist to serve you, but for you to serve them.


The most encouraging person can still make for a bad small group leader if he is unavailable to his group. Time and energy are essential to disciple others. Small group leaders understand that at times they will sacrifice their schedule to minister to their group.


Spiritual growth doesn’t appear magically. Growth takes intentionality. It is a small group leader’s responsibility to intentionally lead each person in his or her group.


Do you believe that your group members can do incredible things to build the Kingdom of God? Healthy expectations can spur growth more so than wordsmithing a perfect open-ended question.

Each Jesus follower has been given spiritual gifts and talents to leverage in their mission to share the Gospel. Great leaders help their people set healthy expectations and paint a picture of what God may have for them in the near future.


Enthusiasm is contagious. It is important for you to enjoy spending time with your small group. The leader is the one who sets the pace for this. If you dread attending small group meetings, your group will dread it as well. Add elements that will connect the team to one another and spark their enjoyment for life and Jesus.


Your small group is not a platform. Your small group is not your audience. Don’t lecture to them for an hour. Be a leader that facilitates conversation. Facilitators steer the conversation without controlling the conversation. Facilitation, when done well, incorporates strong Biblical teaching and ensures there are practical steps for each person to walk away with.


The Best Gift You Can Give Your Teen


At Axis, we talk a lot about starting conversations with your teens, especially about the world in which they live. It’s one of the best ways to cultivate trust and bridge the chasm between the generations. As parents, we often know what is best for our kids, therefore the temptation is to talk at them instead of listening to them, especially when discussing volatile topics like dating, social media, or pornography. Conversations can quickly deteriorate into a competition to win, instead of a mutual dialogue. It’s difficult to truly listen when you are mentally crafting the perfect comeback. Maybe that’s why God gave us two ears and only one mouth. We are to listen twice as much as we talk.

One of the best tools for increasing the effectiveness of your conversations is active listening. Our ability to actively listen to our kids may be the biggest influence on your relationship with them. It will build trust, foster an environment of honesty, and build empathy with their situation, emotions, and feelings.

French philosopher Simone Weil once said, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” So here are seven practical ways to be “generous” in this way with your kids:

  1. Give them your full attention: Silence your smartphone, stop looking at your computer, and try to focus on what they are saying, instead of what you want to say next.
  2. Choose your body language intentionally: 93% of communication is nonverbal. Lean forward slightly, do not cross your arms, make eye contact with them, nod, remove physical barriers between the two of you, and make facial expressions that reflect the emotions of what they are sharing.
  3. Do not immediately judge or evaluate: Lecturing will almost certainly end the conversation. Attempting to understand what they are saying is not the same as agreeing. Your willingness to suspend your judgment will allow the conversation to continue. This is especially true if your teen is opening up to you about something like cutting or an addiction to pornography. Do your best to take a deep breath and remain calm. You want your child to see you as a safe. An extreme reaction will communicate the opposite.
  4. Cultivate Awareness: It might feel like just an ordinary conversation about ballet practice or the soccer game, but if you model listening to the mundane well, your teen will be more prone to come to you about deeper topics.
  5. Paraphrase back what you heard: Choose non-judgmental language to reassure them you heard exactly what they were trying to communicate, such as, “So what I hear you saying is that you feel frustrated about our boundaries with smartphones,” as opposed to, “So what I hear you saying is that you want no accountability with your smartphone.”
  6. Ask open-ended questions: Instead of asking closed-ended questions that require a mere yes-or-no answer, ask questions that demand a meaningful answer like, “What was the best part of your day?” or “How did you feel when she said that about your hair?”
  7. Define Expectations: Try to avoid immediately reassuring, explaining, suggesting, or sharing about your own experiences. Communicate respect by asking something like, “ Would it be most helpful for me to just listen right now, or are you looking for help or advice?”

There will be times you need to set firm boundaries, provide correction, or even establish non-negotiable expectations. But as a general rule that’s not the best starting point. By practicing active listening, you will help your teen feel heard, validated, and respected, encouraging them into a deeper relationship with you.


Teens are becoming adults later than they used to by Erica Pandey


Teens are growing up more slowly than they did two decades ago, and today’s 18-year-olds act like the 15-year-olds of the 1990s, per a new study. Researchers found that U.S. teens are engaging in adult activities — drinking, driving, dating and working for pay — later than they used to, delaying the transition from adolescence into adulthood.

The big picture: Avoid falling into the trap of seeing these trends as all good or all bad. “It’s a tradeoff,” lead researcher and author of a new book, iGen, Jean Twenge tells Axios. Today’s teens may be less prepared for adulthood, but they’re safer, with rates of car accidents and teen pregnancies falling dramatically.

The takeaways:
  • 66% of 12th graders surveyed in 2014 had tried alcohol, compared to 81% in 1994
  • 73% of them had drivers’ licenses, down from 85% 20 years prior
  • 58% went on dates, compared to 83% of 12th graders in 1994
  • 56% worked for pay, down from 72% in 1994

The prevalence of risky behaviors has also declined, says Jeffrey Arnett, a professor of psychology whose work is cited in the study. Rates of binge-drinking, teen pregnancy and teen crime are lower than ever.

Yes, but: The transition into adulthood has slowed down so much that Arnett says people age 18 to 29 are living through a new life stage between adolescence and adulthood: “emerging adulthood.” The consequences of this are that teens are less prepared for college and the workplace, Twenge says. “What really strikes me is that ‘adulting’ is now a verb,” she says. “What’s the alternative? Are you gonna go back to being a child?”

Be smart: Some of these behavioral changes can be attributed to technology, specifically the rise of the smartphone, Twenge recently wrote in the Atlantic. Teens are spending less time out getting into trouble and more time at home on their phones. But delaying adulthood also has to do with the fact that people live longer than they used to and more people expect to go to college instead of directly entering the workforce.

Twenge’s Atlantic piece also claimed that heavy smartphone use has an adverse effect on teen mental health. But to say smartphones are destroying a generation is alarmist, tech writer and researcher Alexandra Samuel wrote in JSTOR in response. Data shows that “high school students who use social media a lot aren’t any more depressed than those who use it a little,” she wrote.

But Twenge is right to say technology is quickly widening generational gaps, Samuel tells Axios. “The pace of change is so rapid now that we raise our children in a world completely different from the one we grew up in,” she says.

What’s next: As technology advances, these trends could accelerate, Twenge says. “Soon 18-year-olds could look like the 13-year-olds” of the past.


Ten Steps to Maturity for Teenage Boys by Mark Gregston


Fifteen is the age when a boy moves into manhood while still holding on to the boyish ways of childhood. It is a time when parents need to be extra vigilant to help him make it through the transition smoothly, and therefore not get stuck at this stage for several years.

Age 15 is when your son’s thoughts and his expectations crash like ocean waves amidst a sea of change. It’s the end of one tide and the beginning of another.  At the very least, it’s an awkward season. Increased hormones, growth spurts, voice changes, muscles, and moving from concrete to abstract thinking all tend to make a young man feel a jumble of both invincibility and vulnerability.  And as a first step toward making up his own mind about life, everything you’ve taught him will be questioned.

This is a “convenient” time for a mom and dad to detach and drift alongside their teen as he is busier with extra-curricular activities at school and spends more time away from home. But this is no time for parents to back off. It is a critical and pivotal point in time where a parent can steer a son away from childish thinking and move him toward more mature thinking.

Your son needs to learn from you how to be respectful during a conflict, to be honest in the face of confusion, and to remain obedient in times of disagreement. It’s a time for some serious character-building. Sailing these waters can be a tough time for parents… but more than ever it is the right time to be available and to be firm.

So how do you go about making a smooth transition?

First, determine the “state of your child.” If things are already getting strained in your relationship, move toward them out of compassion, not frustration.  Approach the harshest situations with humility, but carry a big stick.  I don’t mean a big stick in relation to punishment, but I’m referring to your authority as a parent to set the agenda and to say “No” when you need to.

Parents today strive to be a friend of their children more than a parent. But as most soon find out at about age 15 when conflict erupts, they’ll wish that they had more of a “parent role” than a “friend role.” I’m here to tell you from years of experience that it is never too late to jump into the parental role, and trust me; there will never be a better time for boys than at age 15.

If you’re seeing behavioral problems, it is important for your son to know that you will stop at nothing to change the inappropriate direction he is headed. If you don’t know what to do, find help from others who have been there.  Or, contact our on-call coaches for more help.  Just call our Family Crisis Helpline at 866-700-3264 or visit www.heartlightministries.org/crisiscoaching for more information about that service.

A parent will do well to start with the following list to-do’s beginning on your son’s 15th birthday:

  1. Ask your son to begin making more of his own decisions. “Where should we go to eat tonight? What would be good for us to do on our vacation?  What movie should we get this Friday? What charities do you think would be good to support?”
  2. Ask for his input or point of view.  How would you respond in this situation?  How would you discipline differently?  What you do think about what’s happening at school?
  3. Give him an opportunity to respond correctly. He may not respond to your giving him more responsibility appropriately at first. So give him another opportunity to get it right. Display empathy rather than judgment. The way you go about it is sometimes more important than the message itself. Remember, a gentle answer turns away wrath. How you respond to him will determine how he will respond to you. Be slow to speak, slow to anger, and quick to listen, gentle, and humble, and give him another chance to respond correctly.
  4. Set clear boundaries. In times of trouble, don’t move away from your child, move toward him. Immaturity demands that you place boundaries around his inappropriate behavior. You may be thinking, “Well, you don’t know my kid and how he mistreats me.” I admit, I don’t. However, I do know that if you do nothing to rein in the bad behavior you see in your 15-year-old son, it’s only going to get worse, not better.
  5. Help your son learn how to say “No” by honoring it when he says “No.” This is another boundary issue. Honoring his boundaries will help him learn to honor others’ boundaries.
  6. Admit when you are wrong. Admitting when you are wrong will help your son understand that everyone makes mistakes, and models how to behave when mistakes happen.
  7. Shift control before you think he is ready for it. Yes, he will blow it, but he will also learn some valuable lessons from doing so, but only when you… (see number 8).
  8. Force him to take responsibility for his decisions. Don’t say, “I told you so,” or, “I should have made that decision instead.” Allow him to figure out what he should have done instead, and force him to own up to the consequences of his choices.
  9. Encourage him in his good decisions. Point your comments toward his successes, not his failures.
  10. When your son responds with maturity and responsibility, then move him up to the next level. Expand the limit and expectations and expect him to meet new requirements. For instance: “Honey, I think it’s great that you have a job now. If you are willing to save your money, I will match it and help you buy your first car.”

I encourage you to take advantage of this time to help your son make a strong transition to the smoother waters of responsible adulthood.  Age fifteen is a great time to sail alongside him through the rough and tumble waters of adolescence. Thankfully, he won’t be 15 forever.