10.16.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! Monica, Nancy, Michael and I are headed to LA today and would love your prayers!
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
WWJP: “What would Jesus Post?” (Bracelets coming soon) #johnston (Haha!)
Your praise is contagious – So is your complaint. What are you carrying today? #furtick
God isn’t nearly as concerned about what we’re doing for Christ as He is committed to forming Christ inside us. #voskamp
“If your life does not worship God, your lips do not worship God either.” #Tozer
 
 
FYI:
 
 
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield (Blog post but some good data.)
Genius Ways Companies get Kid to Do Their Marketing for Them by Caroline Moore (Interesting!)
3 Vital Tips for Leading Discussion in Small Groups by Trey Gilmore (You know this but still good!)
What the Future of Leadership Looks Like by Tim Elmore

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

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/70470/the-one-who-died-for-all?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2249484&utm_campaign=nl-10/11/2017-2249484
(I’m playing this at training! Zo and Jon… start learning your moves!!
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 

Alarm Bells for Leaders

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  (Galatians 6:7-10)

We can’t pull a fast one on God. He sees all and cannot be deceived. He notices our shortcuts and also our efforts when we do well. To ensure that we live by this truth, seek others to hold you accountable and act as your “alarm bells.” Invite others to ask you tough questions, such as the following:

  • Is my personal walk with God up-to-date?
  • Am I keeping my priorities straight?
  • Am I asking myself the hard questions?
  • Am I accountable to someone in authority?
  • Am I sensitive to what God is saying to the whole body of Christ?
  • Am I over-concerned with building my image?
  • Do I put more stock in “events” rather than “process”?
  • Am I a loner in my leadership and personal life?
  • Am I aware and honest about my weaknesses?
  • Is my calling constantly before me?
Learning to Lead Like Jesus
 
And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52
Learning to lead like Jesus is a lifetime journey that begins with humility. “Better to say I am learning, than to say, I have learned,” wise and humble words indeed from Dr. Charles Stanley spoken to me and several staff members at First Baptist of Atlanta in the late 1980’s. As a young pastor, this seasoned leader helped me understand to first follow the Lord Jesus by continuing to learn and grow. For example, don’t say “I’ve learned to be a patient leader”, rather, “I’m learning to be a patient leader”. This reminded me to be a humble, teachable and ever-growing leader who is desperately in need of God’s grace to carry out my responsibilities.
Learning to lead like Jesus is for leaders who desperately need the Holy Spirit’s direction, the Father’s wisdom and the Son’s encouragement. Leaders who are learning to first follow Jesus, learn well. Learning to lead is a lifelong education. We never graduate from Christ leadership school, but we do advance as we become wiser students through our own struggles, failures and successes.
“Say to wisdom, ‘You are my sister, and call understanding your kinsman” (Proverbs 7:4).
Wise leaders are learners, but if they stop learning they cease to lead wisely. Leaders who learn ask the right questions, get the most accurate answers, and are able to make the wisest decisions. “How can I get out of the way as the leader, and support the team to be successful?” “How can our organization go from good to great by integrating and sustaining best practices?” The Lord can’t wait to pour out wisdom on earnest and humble hearts seeking to gain what only He gives.
James, the brother—who experienced first hand Jesus’ wise words and actions— defined wisdom in this way: “But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile” (James 3:17, Amplified Bible).
Before Steve Jobs died, wouldn’t it have been wonderfully insightful and inspiring to ask him about the pinnacle of his creation: the Apple iPhone? Seriously, if we wanted understanding into the motivation for and the purpose of his world-changing invention, Steve would be the logical starting point. What was he thinking? What motivated his perfectionism? What was his vision?
In the same way, why not first seek wisdom from the Lord of creation whose majestic exclamation point was humanity—you and me? Doesn’t it make sense to learn how to think from the Divine who molded our mind? Understand how to care for our bodies from the One who perfectly meshed billions of unique cells into a living being? Or engage the heart of God to feel and express the emotions He embedded into our heart, soul and spirit? Wisdom from our Maker makes us more like Him and less like foolish inferior idols. We learn to lead like Jesus by looking to Jesus!
“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, give me wisdom to learn to lead like Your son, in Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Application: What specific area of my leadership needs to grow more into the likeness of Jesus?
Blessings, Kendall

10.16.17

The Scary Truth About What is Hurting Our Children by Becky Mansfield
yourmodernfamily.com

In the past week, I’ve read several studies that are scary to me… it’s the scary truth about what’s hurting our kids.   We all know that what our kids hear becomes their inner voice, but it’s hard to control what they hear from others, isn’t it?

CNN recently interviewed Dr. Jean Twenge, author of iGen and her interview really worried me – because I saw the truth that I would be facing in just a few short years.   Dr. Twenge started doing research 25 years ago on generational differences, but when 2011 -2012 hit, she saw something that would scare her to the core.   This is the year when those having iPhones went over the 50% mark.

The results of that should scare all of us.

  • This was the year that more kids started to say that they felt “sad, hopeless, useless… that they couldn’t do anything right (depression).”
  •  They felt left-out and lonely.
  •  There is a 50% increase in clinical level depression between 2011-2015.
  • Suicide rate goes up.
  • Substantial increase in suicide rate.
    Before I give you any more, I want you to look at these graphs and look at how they correlate to the iPhones being released.They aren’t hanging out with friends nearly as much.

She goes on to say that we are in the worst mental health crisis in decades.  You can get her book, iGen, with my Amazon affiliate link here, to read the rest of her findings.

Why is this happening?  Why are kids more depressed because of electronics?
Think about when we were in school – we didn’t know every time that there was a get-together that we weren’t invited to and we didn’t see pictures of each outing, game, or party.

We didn’t care what we looked like when we were hanging out with friends, because we were  the only ones that were there- I can remember sitting around with my best friends in our sweatpants, just laughing – I didn’t wear makeup or care if I had my hair fixed just right, because the worry of a phone or camera wasn’t there.

Think about bullies.  When we left the school, we left them.   If teasing happened, it didn’t happen at home.  It didn’t happen so publicly.   Everyone couldn’t see it or know what they were teasing other kids about.  Now, it’s all public knowledge and anyone can join in or watch.   It’s horrifying.

I can’t imagine being a tween or teenager now.   Although- as the parents of children, we have to imagine it, because we have to help our children navigate it.

According to Victoria Prooday of YouRot.com, “There is a silent tragedy developing right now, in our homes, and it concerns our most precious jewels – our children... Researchers have been releasing alarming statistics on a sharp and steady increase in kids’ mental illness, which is now reaching epidemic proportions:

She goes on to say that “Today’s children are being deprived of the fundamentals of a healthy childhood:

  • Emotionally available parents
  • Clearly defined limits and guidance
  • Responsibilities
  • Balanced nutrition and adequate sleep
  • Movement and outdoors
  • Creative play, social interaction, opportunities for unstructured times and boredom

Instead, children are being served with:

  • Digitally distracted parents
  • Indulgent parents who let kids “Rule the world”
  • Sense of entitlement rather than responsibility
  • Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
  • Sedentary indoor lifestyle
  • Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification, and absence of dull moments”
    How true… and how sad.

I couldn’t agree more.  According to TIME.com, “Despite the rise in teen depression, the study, which analyzed data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health, reported that there wasn’t a corresponding increase in mental health treatment for adolescents and young adults. Researchers said this is an indication that there is a growing number of young people who are under-treated or not treated at all for their symptoms. ”

The article goes on to say that it’s not just teenagers, it’s young kids- in elementary school.  “Counselors like Ellen Chance in Palm Beach say they see evidence that technology and online bullying are affecting kids’ mental health as young as fifth grade, particularly girls.

“I couldn’t tell you how many students are being malicious to each other over Instagram. “I’ve had cases where girls don’t to come to school and they are cutting themselves and becoming severely depressed because they feel outcasted and targeted.” She says she now sees cutting incidents pretty much weekly at her elementary school, and while they vary in severity, it’s a signal that not all is right.”

So… what can we do about it?

– The AAP now suggest screening all children for depression starting at age 11.

– Get back to what we did before phones (back to what our parents did when we were young)… spend time playing games with our kids.

-Spend dinnertime talking.

–Drop everything that you are doing when your kids get home from school to TALK to them.

–Make dinner without having the TV on, the phone close by, or the tablet tuned into something.

–Use any ‘car time’ to talk to our kids (maybe even by not allowing electronics in the car)

-Have your kids do chores: Responsibilities increase their self-worth.   Example: if you don’t set the table, we can’t eat.  If you don’t wash your clothes, you will have nothing to wear tomorrow:
“To develop a high self-esteem a person needs purpose. A key component to high self-esteem is built on how you view yourself in terms of contribution. In other words, in the child development process, chores are a big role in a kid’s self-esteem.” ~impactparenting.com

-Be sure that your child is getting enough sleep.   This is a huge contributing factor.

-Don’t keep a lot of junk food in the house.  Limit junk food & replace it with fruits & vegetables.  If your child is picky, they can certainly find a fruit or vegetable that they like.  (I’ve taught our kids to make smoothies, too, but they have to clean up after themselves or they lose the privilege of making them… they LOVE to make them).

-Take away electronics and tell your kids to “go play!”   Don’t feel the need to always play with them.  My job, as a play therapist, is to teach parents how to play with their kids to help them, so while I always think that playing with your kids is a good idea, but I also want them to play alone.  I want them to learn how to keep themselves entertained.

From the time that our kids were very little, I gave them time to entertain themselves and now they are are all good about finding ways to keep themselves busy (drawing, playing, building, etc..)

– Don’t rescue your kids.   Here’s a recent example that happened in our house:
I’ve started having our kids pack their own lunches (with my supervision), but yesterday one of our sons decided to wait.. .and wait… and wait.  When it was down to 10 minutes before leaving, he asked me to pack it.  I said no and he then asked for lunch money.  I said, “I think it’s upstairs in your piggy bank if you have some in there.” His face said it all.   I wasn’t going to buy him out of this.  It was his responsibility.

IT is NEVER easy to teach our kids these lessons, but they serve our kids well.   He quickly made himself lunch and was on his way.   He learned an important life lesson about preparing himself for the day.

–Talk to your kids about why they need to come to you if something is wrong.  I talk to our kids about all of this and they know that I would do anything to help them.   I say it daily… “If you are ever feeling sad or left out about something and it becomes too big for you to handle easily, come to me.   I want you to know that if you ever hurt yourself, you would be hurting your whole family.   My happiness would go away with yours.”

Yes, it’s a lot to tell them, but it is the truth.  I need them to know it.  It’s not a joking matter and it’s not one to take lightly. Talk to your kids TODAY.

Make a rule with yourself that you will limit YOUR online distractions when your kids are home. Make 3:30-9:00 a no-tech time for you, the parent.   (or whatever hours your kids are home). It will not only benefit your kids, but it will help you, too.

10.09.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
We can only hope for what we desire. #cslewis
 
Your view about how the world will end affects how you live today. #furtick
 
The secret is Christ in me, not me in a different set of circumstances. #Elliot
 
If you are not entertaining God’s truth, you will be entertaining Satan’s lies. You do not have the option of a neutral mind. #Willard
 
 
FYI:
1. Videos that are free to download… https://thebibleproject.com (Thank you, Annie!)
 
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
What Do You Do When Your Self-Worth is Challenged? by Alex McElroy (Interesting thoughts on helping students with self esteem.)
Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson
Biggest Changes Generation Z Brings to the Adult World by Tim Elmore
Every Kid is One Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story by Josh Shipp
 

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

A new youtube site with some great videos… https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmO1sDtd5024JJ7rBY7nWMg
Check out two of them…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBJFiMPTzM4
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtoevOdB7m0
 
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Growing a Greater Faith 

For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Luke 7:8-9

To the degree, I submit to authority is the extent to which my faith grows. For example, I may not agree with or even like the decision-making process at work, but I can still trust those who have authority over me. Trust is the highest form of relational health, with it I am able to gladly follow my superior’s lead, without it I struggle to stay loyal. Most of all, I can trust the Lord’s authority and by grace remain submitted to Him and His will with a spirit of humble, grateful faith. Pride bows up against being told what to do, but humility willingly submits, trusts and obeys. 

Remarkably, a Roman soldier who commanded 100 men found great favor in the eyes of the Lord. A non-Jewish protector of the people, with the full support of the Jewish elders– in the past this military leader leveraged his influence, resources, and man-power to construct the local synagogue. In today’s terms, the centurion helped build the local church, though he did not attend church. This man’s goodwill was not forgotten when his most valuable servant fell deathly ill. Motivated by gratitude, the religious leaders and friends asked Jesus to heal him. 

Jesus did. Why? Because of the great faith of the humble leader, “Say the word,” knowing a word from Christ can heal. This military man was familiar with giving commands and being under command. Since the centurion trusted and followed the authorities over him, so his subordinates had faith in his leadership. Jesus compliments the Roman leader’s faith and character as a model of what being under God’s sovereign power looks like. Great faith is the result of humble submission to authority with the fruit of obedience, gratitude, and generosity.

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority” (1 Peter 2:13).

Have you totally surrendered your life to the authority of Almighty God? The truth of His Word trumps other contemporary opinions. One indicator of submission to the Lord is submission to the authorities He has over your life: government, church, a work supervisor or your spouse. Even when you experience an unfair authority, you are called to carry yourself with the spirit of Christ. Your faith grows to the degree you trust that the Holy Spirit is at work–knowing your part is to remain faithful, especially in the small things. Humble submission grows great faith.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, grow my faith to trust Your authority and the authorities You have placed over my life, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Application: To what authority do I need to totally surrender, trusting the Holy Spirit is at work?

 
Attitude Adjustment

For seven days they celebrated with joy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because the Lord had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.   Ezra 6:22

 

Attitude is everything; it can lift you up or bring you down. It is a barometer of your heart. If your heart is not right, your attitude will suffer. Attitude is critical because it influences your course of action. If your attitude is negative, your words and behavior will be too. There is a difference in being a realist about negative circumstances, and living with a chronic bad attitude. Naïve are those who ignore warning signs of trouble, and carry on oblivious to the storm clouds of sin.

However, your attitude is rooted in who you are in Christ, so there is no need to be fearful, guilty, or insecure. The attitude that Jesus exhibited was one of humility and servant leadership. His attitude reflected submission to His heavenly Father, which resulted in service, generosity, and love for people. Jesus was joyful and hopeful, because He rested in the will of God. Do not allow another’s bad attitude to influence yours. Be the attitude influencer instead. Greet a frown with a smile, crush criticism with affirmation, and listen patiently until fury loses its steam. A positive attitude will eventually outlast and overpower a negative one. Most of all, pray for those who thrive on negativity. Pray for them to be set free from their hurt, anger, guilt, and insecurity. God has you in their lives to reflect the Almighty and to encourage an attitude adjustment through Him.

God is the genesis of a right attitude, and He is the right attitude sustainer. He wants His attitude to be our attitude. This is why you need a daily attitude alignment from your heavenly Father. Each day, your attitude gets knocked around and abused by life. If left unattended, your attitude will drift into wrong thinking, harsh words, and bad behavior. Self-pity and anger can begin to replace selflessness and forgiveness. With just a little bit of daily tweaking, your attitude stays in line with His. It is subtle, but sometimes attitudes need to be adjusted moment by moment.

Lastly, slow down and pray when you feel your attitude eroding. When you’re in the midst of a bad attitude, don’t make important decisions; the time isn’t right for that. You will regret every decision you make during a time of emotional upheaval. Be patient, and wait until your anger has subsided, your heart is cleansed, and your attitude is objective. Almighty God is into attitudes that trust Him and reach out to others with compassion and understanding. Open-minded and reasonable attitudes lead to rich and robust relationships. Anyone can be negative; so don’t be anyone, be different. Allow God to shape your attitude on the anvil of His heart.

An attitude molded by God is infectious and transforming. Allow Him to change yours, and then trust Him to change another’s. The Bible says, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).

Post/Tweet today: Attitude is everything; it can lift us up or bring us down. It is a barometer of our heart. #wisdomhunters

Blessings, Kendall

10.09.17

Greater Leadership in Children’s Ministry by Dale Hudson

relevantchildrensministry.com

We live in a challenging day, don’t we?  We’ve been called to reach Generation Z.  They are the largest generation on the planet.  74 million in the U.S.  2 billion in the world.  9,000 babies are born and join Generation Z each day.

They have an attention span of 8 seconds.  They are digital natives and interact with up to 5 screens a  day.  The average age they are exposed to pornography online is 11-years-old.  Terrorism is a way of life, they are growing up walking through metal detectors at their schools, large event venues, airports and more.

Gen Z’s parents are struggling as well.  Over 2 million of Millennial parents are addicted to drugs (either prescription or illegal).  Much of this is driven by an opioid epidemic.  Babies born to a parent taking opioids has increased by 300% in the last 10 years.

If we are going to reach today’s kids and families, then it can’t be business as usual!  It will take greater impact and influence.  How can we have greater influence?  How can we make a greater difference in people’s lives?  It will take greater leadership.  The saying is true, isn’t’ it – everything rises and falls on leadership.

Greater impact is made possible by greater leadership.

This is certainly not the first time a group of disciples like us have been called upon to have greater leadership.  Think back with me to the early disciples.  They had the challenge of taking the Gospel to the world.  And it was a world that was hostile and totally unfamiliar with the Gospel since it would just be unfolding.

Jesus knew it would take greater leadership for the disciples to effectively impact the world with the Gospel and so He began preparing them.  You see many incidents in Scripture where He taught them what greater leadership looked like.

One of those times is found in John 15.  Throughout this chapter, He explains greater leadership to the disciples.  And the entire chapter can be encapsulated in verse 13.  Here’s what it says.

There is no GREATER love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

In this verse, we see the 4 elements of greater leadership.  Ultimate leadership.  The best kind of leadership.  Leadership that is a game changer.  Let’s examine it.

1. Greater leadership loves people.  

Notice again what He says. 

There is no greater LOVE than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

The foundation for greater leadership is love.  It reflects the heart of God for people.  If you want to have greatest leadership, then…

Ask God to renew your love for the kids and families in your community.

Ask God to give you a fresh love for the volunteers and people you serve with.

Ask God to fill your heart with love for those who are far from God in your neighborhood.

Ask God to break your heart for the broken families in your city.

Ask God to give you unconditional love for the child who seems unlovable, uncontrollable and uncooperative.

When people know you truly love them, it opens their heart to your leadership and influence in their life.

2. Greater leadership serves others. 

Look at the verse again.

There is no greater love than to LAY DOWNone’s life for one’s friends.

We have been told that leadership is about taking charge…climbing the ladder…having power…exercising authority…advancing no matter who you have to go over to get there…getting the office with a window view…being known as powerful…taking….getting.

The disciples had seen the same thing modeled.  The Roman government ruled by fear, power, punishment, strength of the army and force.  The religious leaders of the day lived in a class above the ordinary person and lead by rules, regulations, pomp and circumstance.

But then Jesus came and taught them about a greater kind of leadership.  Look what He says in the verse above.  He tells them greater leadership is not about getting, but about giving.  It’s not about taking, it’s about laying down.

He not only taught this greater kind of leadership, He modeled it.  In Matthew 20, the disciples were arguing about who would have the greatest authority…the greatest title in the kingdom that Jesus would establish.  Again, they were reflecting the leadership they had grown up with.  Leadership that is established by power and force and position.

Jesus tells them this.

You know how the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.  But among you it will be different.

Here it is. He’s about to tell them about a different kind of leadership.  A greater leadership.

But among you it will be different.  Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.

Whereas the world says leadership is about how many people serve you, Jesus says greater leadership is flipped.  Greater leadership is about how many people you serve.

He then models this by washing the disciples feet.  While they were busy arguing about who would have the best title, Jesus took a towel and water, got down and washed their feet.  In that culture, only the lowest servants washed people’s feet.  It was the lowest job, the lowest position in the kingdom.  When there were no servants present to do this “demeaning” task, the disciples weren’t about to wash anyone’s feet.  So Jesus used the opportunity to show them what great leadership looks like as He washed their feet.

Greater leadership is servant leadership.  It’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?  Servant and leadership.  But that’s the beauty of greater leadership.  Before you can become a great leader, you must first become a great servant.

Greater leadership is about replacing your “ego” with “we go” as you invest in others.  It’s not about being powerful, it’s about empowering others.

Good leaders are starts.  Great leaders create stars.

Average leadership ponders its rights.  Greater leadership ponders its responsibilities.

3. Greater leadership depends on God. 

The third component of greater leadership is found in the next part of the verse.  Look what it says.

There is no greater love than to lay down ONE’S LIFE for one’s friends.

In this chapter, Jesus shows them that the life is found in the vine.  As life flows from the vine into the branches, fruit comes forth.  He reminds them that without the vine, the branches can do nothing.  Nada.  Zilch.  Nothing is going to happen without the vine.

Greater leadership acknowledges that without God nothing of eternal value will happen.

That’s good news for leaders.  You see, greater leadership is not based on how talented you are, how charismatic you are, how big your budget is or how nice your facilities are.  It’s about the power of God working through you.

Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 2:

When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters, I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.

Greater leadership is not about walking in your own confidence.  It’s about walking in Godfidence.

4. Greater leadership builds friendships.

Notice what Jesus calls the disciples in the last part of the verse.

 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s FRIENDS. 

Jesus shared with them that greater leadership leads through relationship.  The word He used for this is “friends.”  The word “friends” carried a special connotation.  It was a reference to kings who would have a group of special friends that he brought close to him.  This group of friends would be the king’s trusted inner circle.  He would ask their advice before anyone asking anyone else.  They had access to the king 24/7.

You’ve heard the statement “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”  That’s what greater leadership is all about.  It’s earning people’s trust and respect over time through relationship.

Jesus also tells them that He is not going to call them “servants.”  Rather they will be His friends.  When someone leads servants, the people serve because they have to.  They don’t have a choice.  They are made to serve.

But greater leadership leads through friendship.  When you lead through friendship, people follow you because they want to.  You lead through motivation instead of mandating.

Greater leadership invests in people.  Greater leadership is there for people in their time of need.  Greater leadership goes on a journey with people.  Greater leadership is not about what you want from people, it’s about what you want for people.

If you want to see people serve with you for the long haul, then focus on relationship.  The amount of time people spend serving with you will be in direct correlation to the depth of the relationships you build with them.

Greater leadership loves people – ask God to renew your love for people.

Greater leadership serves others – ask God to give you the heart and attitude of a servant. 

Greater leadership depends on God – before you serve, fall on your face before God and ask Him to fill you with His power and anointing.  Acknowledge that without Him you can do nothing. 

Greater leadership builds friendships – invest deeply in the people God has called you to serve with. 

Do these things and you’ll make a greater impact.  You’ll provide greater leadership for the kids and families God has called you to serve.  

Do these things and God can use your leadership to turn the world upside down. 

10.02.17

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
 
Quotes:
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
 
 
FYI:
1. 10 Things to Say When Your Child Says They Don’t Believe in God Anymore…
http://christianmomthoughts.com/10-things-to-say-when-your-child-says-they-dont-believe-in-god-anymore/#more-8114
 
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:

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/26201/when-storms-come?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=when_storms_come-2214110&utm_campaign=fp-08/31/2017-2214110
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69368/today-we-celebrate?utm_source=Christian%20Song%20Tracks%20(Final)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=today_celebrate-2215209&utm_campaign=fp-09/02/2017-2215209
 
 
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.”

09.25.17

The Best Gift You Can Give Your Teen

axios.com

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.

09.25.17

Ten Steps to Maturity for Teenage Boys by Mark Gregston

heartlightministries.org

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.

09.18.17

Hi! I am praying for you right now! 

Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to: studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
If Jesus returns tomorrow, then tomorrow I’ll rest from my labor. But today I have work to do. #bonhoeffer
 
To focus on Jesus as just an example is to reduce him from sovereign Savior to ethical coach and to transform the gospel into law. #keller
 
Bad evangelism says: I’m right, you’re wrong, and I would love to tell you about it. #keller
 
The goal in life is not to be in charge, but to depend on and rest in the wisdom, power and grace of the One who is and will be in charge. #tripp
 
FYI:
1. Communicating with Teens… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/09/communicating-with-teens-2/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=8fa4ead912-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-8fa4ead912-126726953
 
2. Bad Fad Alert: Hot Water Challenge… https://homeword.com/2017/09/07/bad-fad-alert-hot-water-challenge/?mc_cid=9aeff038c4&mc_eid=759fd44a0d#.WbUwWK2ZN0s
Parents your role really matters… https://homeword.com/articles/parents-your-role-really-matters/?mc_cid=2784de0f84&mc_eid=759fd44a0d#.WbCRt62ZN0s
 
3. Loving your hard to like kid… https://www.reviveourhearts.com/true-woman/blog/loving-your-hard-kid/
 
4. Crippling Behaviors That Keep Children from Growing into Leaders… https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/01/16/7-crippling-parenting-behaviors-that-keep-children-from-growing-into-leaders/#d1eec775957b
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
10 Steps on Giving Your Volunteers Feedback by Dale Hudson
Criticism vs. Feedback: Why You Must Know the Difference as a Leader by Dale Hudson
Understanding Teens and Their Smart Phone Habits (emarketer)
Is the Bible Relevant Today? by J. Warner Wallace
 

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

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/57201/our-stories
 
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69175/a-new-creation?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=spot1-2208619&utm_campaign=nl-08/30/2017-2208619
 
Here are 2 just for you:
 
Bouncing Back

Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket. –Proverbs 25:11 (NLT)

As a junior in high school, I was devastated when I was cut from the top volleyball team and sent to the second team. I felt disappointed, embarrassed and dejected. That evening, I spoke with a friend who passed on these words of wisdom, “It’s not how far you fall, but how high you bounce back that matters.” I wrote the quote on my mirror and committed to doing my best for this new team, instead of sulking over my personal loss. Instead of continuing to fall and spiral, I committed to bounce back.

What I learned that day is that what happens to me in life doesn’t count as much as how I react to those things. I had a choice the day I was cut from the team: I could wallow in misery and quit the team, or I could choose to fight through my circumstances and work hard to improve. Each day, choices like these present themselves. When people are cruel, I can choose to accept their apology or let my bitterness grow. When I am treated unfairly, I can vengefully plot a way to get even, or I can seek the Lord’s wisdom and demonstrate patience as He shows me what to do. When I am fired from a job, I can learn from why things did not work or I can blame everyone else around me for my misfortune and never learn, grow or change. When I am congratulated for a job well done, I can either pat myself on the back or thank the Lord for providing me with the skills to succeed.

Life throws different circumstances our way every day, both good and bad. Wherever you are in your life, it is important to remember that people are watching and looking to see how you are living your life. You will long be remembered, not only for what happened to you in your life but for how you handled life’s circumstances. When those circumstances cause you to fall, I challenge you to bounce back!

TAKE A MOMENT (Anonymous)

Recently I took a few moments to reflect on Psalm 139.  The following is my personal, devotional paraphrase of the Psalm that I wrote as in response to that reflection.

Here is my Psalm 139 paraphrase …..

You know my heart – You have searched me – You have gone the distance –taken the initiative – and therefore You know me.

You know what I think–You know what motivates me to action and contemplation because You know my every thought.

You know what I do – what my habits are – You are very familiar with my ways – the ways in which I move through life – from my active and social times to my quiet, somber and restful times – You know me well enough to discern my every habit.  You know me better than I know myself!

You know what I will say – all of it – before I even say it – every word of it!

Even though You know me – You love me.  I know this because Your hand of love and protection surrounds and covers me – You know everything about me – heart, mind, body and soul and yet You still love me that much.

I don’t get it.  This concept is impossible for me to grasp.

I don’t know if I can take so close a relationship – it scares me – I want to hide – but there is no place to hide from You. There is nowhere in the highest heavens or the lowest depths to hide – You are everywhere.

I can’t get up early and try to fly away.  It doesn’t matter how far I travel.  It doesn’t matter where or when I go anywhere.  You will still be there with me, guiding me, holding me tightly.

I can’t use darkness as a cloak – the light of Your presence just melts the darkness away.  You will still see all of me – my heart, my thoughts, my actions, my words.  And I will still be the object of Your love.

You made me – I am Your creation – not some random grouping of cells and DNA – I have a soul – an innermost being – that only You could make –  You gave me my mother – I am no one else’s daughter – I came from her because you placed me – heart, mind, body and soul – within her.

I am unique – tenderly planted and watered from conception – created as others, yet different from them all – I am Your wonderful work – from the depths of my soul, I know that.  I know that I am Yours and for that reason alone I am wonderful.  What a wonderful thing You have done!

I am in Your book.  Somewhere in Your book there is a chapter about me – written when I was only a thought in Your mind’s eye.  You knew what I would look like – I was not a surprise or a secret to You – You thought of me, wrote of me, planned my days for me – and then you knit me together like a perfectly fitting garment – exactly matching the vision You had of and for me.

You are always thinking precious thoughts about me.  Not negative thoughts.  Not thoughts of disappointment.  Not thoughts of anger.  Just precious thoughts!

You never stop thinking about me.  You think more about me that I do!  Even when I am sound asleep, resting my mind – You are still thinking about me.  I couldn’t even begin to count the thoughts you have of me.  There are not enough numbers!

You are so grand.  And, You are so good.  You are the creator who knows everything.  You write it all down in Your book. You can do all of this – so why don’t You stop evil?  I am the object of Your love – why don’t You keep evil away from me? Why did You include those stories in the pages of Your book? They are Your enemies.  They intend to harm You.  They lie about You – hate You – speak lies in Your name.

I hate them!  I abhor them!  They are my sworn enemies – all I feel for them is hated.  They hate You so I hate them.

I wonder what You think of them?  You created them too. Are they the objects of Your love?  Do You love them in spite of their failings – as you do me?  Must I love what You love? Must I love an enemy?  This kind of thinking makes me anxious.

I want you to search deeper inside me.  No more trying to run and hide.  I want You to know my heart – I want You to examine every part of me.  Examine these disquieting thoughts I have.  If my way of thinking and being is taking me in the wrong direction, lead me in the right one – always lead me in the right way.  May I live my days – heart, mind, body and spirit according to the vision You had for me – the one You wrote in Your book.

Blessings, Kendall

09.11.17

Hi! Hard day for many…. Dear God may we choose to cling to faith instead of crumbling in fear, may we discover Your presence in every moment, may we trust Your love and faithfulness, may we cling to You as You hold us in Your unrelenting grip of grace! In Christ’s Name Amen.
 
Sending love and prayers for miracle after miracle to many right now!
 
I am praying for each one of you right now! 
 
I know many classes are starting this week… please continue to pray for one another!
 
Daily Prayer Email: Please send ALL prayer requests for your class to studentcbsprayer@gmail.com
 
Quotes:
 
The evening news must not dictate our theology. Christ reigns and His kingdom will endure forever. #Helopoulous (Thanks, Debbie!)
 
The same God that hears you in the sunshine is the same God that will answer you in the storm. # lecrae
 
Learn to grow your ‘no’ so God can bless your ‘yes’. Saying yes to everything will never lead to success. #lusko
 
The goal in life is not to be in charge, but to depend on and rest in the wisdom, power and grace of the One who is and will be in charge. #tripp
 
FYI:
 
2. New study debunks friends with benefits… https://acculturated.com/new-study-debunks-friends-benefits-relationships/?utm_content=buffer6090b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer&utm_source=Daily+Briefing&utm_campaign=e6d28a9526-Daily+Briefing+07%2F28%2F17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ed3d9d5277-e6d28a9526-273669925&mc_cid=e6d28a9526&mc_eid=a5401c43e5
 
 
4. Recognizing and Preventing Mean Girls… https://www.heartlightministries.org/2017/07/recognizing-preventing-mean-girls/?utm_source=CC+Master+List&utm_campaign=5667cebe92-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5926458580-5667cebe92-126726953
 
Here is what I just posted on the blogwww.studentcbsblog.org 
 
Are Smart Phones Damaging Our Kids by Dale Hudson
How to Reach the Most Exhausted Generation in History by Aaron Helman
Who Are the Unchurched? by Gary D.Foster Consulting
A Confusing Culture for Teens and Parents by Mark Gregston (Good thoughts and reminders.)

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

http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/69291/known?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=banner2-2208619&utm_campaign=nl-08/30/2017-2208619
 
http://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/64988/no-other-king?utm_source=WorshipHouse%20Media%20–%20Around%20the%20House%20(CD%20Update)&utm_medium=email&utm_content=no_other_king-2207483&utm_campaign=fp-08/26/2017-2207483
 
Here are 2 just for you:

Rejoice in the Lord’s Sovereignty

The next time you fear the future, rejoice in the Lord’s sovereignty. Rejoice in what he has accomplished. Rejoice that he is able to do what you cannot do. Fill your mind with thoughts of God.

“He is the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:25).
“He is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
“His years will never end” (Psalm 102:27 NIV).

He is king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, and overlord of all history. An arch of his eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute! Every throne is a footstool to his. Every crown is papier-mache next to his. He consults no advisers. He needs no congress. He reports to no one. He is in charge.

Sovereignty gives the saint the inside track to peace. Others see the problems of the world and wring their hands. We see the problems of the world and bend our knee.

 
3 Ways the Gospel Shapes Our Definition of Success

How do you measure success?

All of us, I think, have some internal barometer by which we measure ourselves. And we apply that measure to all different kinds of activities. We apply it to everything from our career to our families to our relationships all the way down to our daily diet.

And of course we do. Because we all want to be successful, whatever that means in our particular version of it. But the problem with our version of success is the same problem we have with all of life – because of sin, this definition is misshapen. It’s warped and marred. It’s broken.

As a result of its brokenness, we need to feel successful in order to validate ourselves as people. We need that mark of achievement to make ourselves feel secure and worthwhile and, ultimately, lovable by others.

In other words, we fundamentally look to our definition of “success” to do that which can only truly and lastingly be accomplished in Jesus. But when we believe the gospel, when we become the children of God by faith alone and in Christ alone, we see our definition of success start to change.

How specifically does that happen? I’d suggest at least these three ways that, by God’s grace, I’m seeing in my own life:

1. Success is less about metrics and more about faithfulness.

If success was truly all about achieving some metric, then Jesus was an absolute failure. Abandoned by His friends, having failed to seize the momentum that was His, Jesus completely dropped the ball. But Jesus knew that success was ultimately measured in faithfulness to what God had called Him to do and be, and that’s precisely what He is and did.

In the same respect, there are all kinds of ways we might achieve some kind of metric. We might bend the financial rules in order to meet the required revenue at work, we might take advantage of others in order to climb the ladder, we might sacrifice our integrity on any number of altars to produce the right result. But the gospel reminds us that obedience to the will of God is what we are after.

2. Success is less about what you’re doing than who you’re becoming.

Apart from Christ, we will almost inevitably define success in terms of accomplishment. We have to keep getting promoted, we have to keep making more money, we have to keep moving up in the social circle. But the gospel steps onto this devastating treadmill and simply states, “Enough.”

When we believe the gospel, we come to understand that God is going to shape us into the image of Jesus. And to do that, He’s going to use any and everything at His disposal. One of the most effective tools He uses for this shaping is our failure. For it’s when we fail that we are pushed to remember again and again who we really are – that no matter whether or not we achieve some other measure of success, we are once and always children of God.

If God’s aim for us, then, is to be like Jesus, then the gospel helps us deal with failure by refocusing us not on what we are doing (or failing to do) but instead who God is making us to be.

3. Success is less about what you’re accomplishing than who you’re influencing.

We are people-users. This is one of the ways all our relationships are broken by sin. We will always default to looking at others as tools to be used for our own benefit our pleasure. And when we do that, we often find that people are a great stepping stone for our own goals.

But the gospel reshapes how we see others. No longer do we see them as tools of utility, but fellow image-bearers of God. We begin to understand that we cannot leave a wake of bodies in our pathway, no matter how much doing so might propel us toward some goal we have.

Consider today, friends, how you define success, no matter where you find yourself. Consider it, and then let the gospel speak through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we do that, we will stand apart from a world of people who are clamoring for their own piece of the pie.

Blessings, Kendall

09.11.17

How to Reach the Most Exhausted Generation in History by Aaron Helman

ministrytoyouth.com

Let’s start the way all youth ministry blog posts should begin, with a quote from a Greek economist about teenagers:

“They only care about frivolous things. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly… impatient of restraint.”

If my grandfather read youth ministry blogs (he doesn’t, of course), he’d be happily nodding his head in agreement, but here’s the thing I didn’t yet mention:

That Greek economist is a man named Hesiod who died 650 years before Jesus was born and was a contemporary of the same Homer who wrote The Iliad and The Odyssey.

The idea that teenagers these days are somehow different – or worse – isn’t a new one.

For pretty much as long as we have recorded history, every generation of adults has had those who complained about teenagers.

The truth is, teenagers probably haven’t changed as much as many want to believe. Instead, it’s the world around teenagers that’s changing so radically.

It’s the world that – by any statistical measure – has left today’s teenagers more overworked and under slept than any generation of teenagers in history, and it absolutely changes the way that we have to be in ministry with them.

TODAY’S TEENAGE WORLD

Here’s a fun statistic.

The average high school student reports doing three hours of homework a night.

That’s near twice as much as teenagers reported doing 15 years ago (back when I was a teenager).

As youth workers, it’s easy to complain when students are too busy to come to youth group, but I think we can all agree that teenagers are not the ones who chose to have three hours of homework a night.

When band camp lasts a full month for eight hours a day, we can agree that teenagers are not the ones who petitioned the band director for more rehearsals.

The largest change we’ve seen in teenagers is directly attributable to the world that adults have built for them.

They practice more, train more, rehearse more, and study more than ever before – almost always at the behest of the adults around them.

The most significant change in the teenage world is that the adults surrounding it expect teenagers to be bigger, stronger, faster, smarter, better rehearsed, and more trained than ever before.

Almost miraculously, teenagers are, for the most part, doing pretty well navigating this difficult, new world.

They’re getting most of their homework done, nailing auditions, and making football teams even though it’s literally harder to do those things than ever before.

And yes, I know it’s frustrating that youth ministry gets the short stick.

I know it’s frustrating that students seem to almost always choose school, then sports, then music and art, ahead of attending our Wednesday night program.

Yes, I wish they would learn to put their relationship with Jesus ahead of their obsession with being the first-chair trombone or the starting goalie or the Valedictorian.

And we’ll get to all that in a little bit, but first, let’s talk about sleep.

TEENAGERS DON’T SLEEP (NEARLY) ENOUGH

Physiologically, adolescents require a lot of sleep.

Depending on how hard puberty hits, it’s not uncommon for a 16-year-old to actually require more sleep than a pre-adolescent 12-year-old. Pubescent teenagers can need 8-10 hours of sleep a night.

They’re not getting it.

What do you suppose happens when teenagers are loaded with historic levels of stress and pressure, are chronically underslept, and turn to caffeine at younger and younger ages to deal with it?

Every expected outcome. Depression. Panic attacks. Anti-social behavior. Cutting. Suicide.

Today’s teenagers are more exhausted – physiologically, mentally, and emotionally – than any generation before them, and even though they’re trying their best, it’s taking a very real toll.

“MY YOKE IS EASY, AND MY BURDEN IS LIGHT.”

In the middle of all of this teenage stress and commitment is an unbelievable opportunity for youth ministry if we’ll just stop to realize that it’s there.

Every teacher wants teenagers to study more.

Every coach wants teenagers to practice more.

Every director wants teenagers to rehearse more.

Every boss wants teenagers to work more.

And Jesus said this:

“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30

Yes, we want our students to be more committed.

Yes, we want their attendance to be more steady.

Yes, we want them to sign up for retreats and missions trips and summer camps and service projects.

But if we look at this generation of teenagers – who are tired and broken and flat-out exhausted – and we don’t tell them that Jesus offers rest, we’ve failed to share the full story and especially the part of it that they so desperately need to hear.

While every other adult voice in a teenager’s life presses for more and more and more and more, the call of Jesus for the weary is to enter into the presence of Jesus and to rest.

It’s remarkable, really, but the kinds of activities that I hated doing as a teenager in youth group are actually the most popular among the teenagers I serve today.

My students would report that their favorite times are the silent, meditative moments we build into our services – not the up-tempo music that I loved when I was a teenager.

They love kneeling at the rail and whispering prayers and confessions to God.

My students want to sleep at overnighters and retreats.

My students aren’t clamoring for high-energy, hyper-programmed gatherings named after energy drinks.

More often than not, they’d rather recline into a comfortable chair with a cup of hot chocolate and talk about life and faith.

And at the end of the day, they are more content than I ever was as a teenager to merely dwell quietly in the presence of God, to experience a moment of stillness and peace, and to pray and breathe.

Now, more than ever, this generation needs the message of Matthew 11:28 to fall back on.

Everything else in the world is trying to wear them out, but the promise of Jesus is rest.