Friday, December 30, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - December 30

Hello HS Parents!

Say hello to our last Family Plus email for 2011! I hope you've found at least one or two of these emails/blog posts useful this past year. We are working hard right now to make sure our 2012 focus is even better!

Remember that this Sunday on New Years Day we are back to our regular programming. We will be tackling the issue of media (both good and bad) and its influence on all of us.

Don't forget that we start back our midweek meetings next Wednesday night at our Family Plus Event. We will sit Dow for a meal together, share our vision for New Generations in 2012, and play a few games along the way.

This year we also have four studios for you to check out after dinner. We feel these will be very helpful if any of your New Years resolutions have to do with parenting/family. Here's a breakdown of what's on tap for that night:

   1. "Painting a Picture of Balance in My Life and Family" - Artist: Craig Webb

          (balancing family, work, play, church.....LIFE!)

     2. "Music to Calm the Savage Home" - Artist: Ralph Cook

          (biblical resolve to conflict at home...and everywhere else!)

     3. "Sculpting a Faith That Begins at Home" - Artist: Jared Norris

          (making faith the center of your home)

     4. "Designing for Safety in a Digital Universe" - Artist: Michael Eubanks

         (protecting children and teenagers living in a digital world)

Don't forget to register at church or online for Family Plus Event 2012. Let me know what I can pray about for you or your family.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School -December 24

Merry Christmas HS Parents!!

I'm hoping you've got your stockings hung and have said your prayers - 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight! Okay, okay. I know if you've got high schoolers living in your house that "Santa" may not have visited your house in a long time. But I'm pretty sure he's planning on stopping by the Eubanks home tonight to visit Carver man.

I want to remind you of a couple of things:

Christmas Day: Christmas Service at 10:30am. Kids can come in their PJs and don't forget to bring your gifts to give to Jesus on his birthday!

Family Plus Event: Click on the link to the left to find out all the details of this event. You do NOT want to miss this! It will be full of family style eating, encouragment, and vision for where we are going in 2012!

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 16, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - December 16

Hey HS Parents!

We had a GREAT time this past Wednesday night filming our entire New Generations group for a video to be shown the night of our Christmas Eve Eve Service. I wish you could have heard all those kids singing Away in a Manger - it was absolutely beautiful!

As we near Christmas, I would encourage you to think of some ways to keep the gift of Christ at the center of the season for your family. Maybe you could:

1 - Read the Christmas Story with your family. You can find it in Luke Chapter 2.

2 - Observe an intimate communion with your family. You can pick up "official" communion elements at a LifeWay store, but you certainly don't have to. You can use bread and juice purchased from the grocery store. You can find communion scriptures in Luke Chapter 22.

3 - Find a service opportunity for your family to do together. There are many service opportunities available through our church. You might even consider making a donation as a family to missions to teach your kids about stewardship.

No matter what you choose to do, one of these or something else, don't miss a great opportunity to drive your faith home - at home!

As always, let me know if I can pray about something for you or your family.

- Michael

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 2, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - December 2

Hello HS Parents!

This past Wednesday night your students and I had a discussion about the Christmas season and what it meant during the time of Christ. You know - we are very familiar with revolutions in history….the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and even for you who grew up in the sixties - maybe even the Sexual Revolution (which in my mind birthed much of the "grown-up" sexual permeation in our culture Bruce mentioned this past Sunday in his message).

I think, though, we should recognize that when Christ was born to Mary, He was (and still is) revolutionary! To be brief (you know how tough that is for me), speaking out against the government in the time of Christ (specifically, Caesar) could cost you your life. People who began to accept Christ's message as He grew, matured, and began to teach were declaring that their "savior" was not Caesar. Rather, their Savior was Jesus Christ. This could, and many times did, cost them their lives.

Those first century Christians began thinking about their "new" lives in Christ by eradicating the "old" in their lives. I asked your students to think about what in their lives is desperate for a revolution. I asked them to escape the "routine" that has no doubt attached itself to their Christmas experience and/or traditions - for the sake of allowing Christ to reignite the revolution He began in their lives when they first said "yes" to Him.

Christmas strikes me as the PERFECT time to do just that!

Let me know what I can pray about for you and/or your family.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - November 23

Hello HS Parents!

For the past several weeks most of my emails to you have covered our Wednesday night topics. The primary reason for this is that I tend to be a bit "chatty" once I start typing, and if your attention span is anything like mine - I know that I need to make these notes as succinct as possible. To do that, it's a little difficult for me to cover both days. This week, though, we're not meeting on Wednesday (tonight), so I'd like to tell you about the past couple of Sundays - they've been pretty interesting.

On November 13, I asked your students during our Bible teaching time to define marriage; I didn't give them any more parameters than that. As you would imagine, the conversations were all over the board, but ended up right where our focus for that lesson was for the day - can marriage be defined as anything beyond one man and one woman? The Bible, clearly, states that is not possible. I think this is a very difficult worldview for students to absorb given their generation's tolerance and hesitancy to "judge" their peers. (I think ALL OF US can learn from the example they set in not being judgmental).

I hope we helped them see, however, that although the Bible makes clear statements about same sex relationships, our focus for the day was marriage and its definition. Even if someone's worldview accepts same sex relationships as okay, tolerable, or even preferential - marriage, as defined by the Inventor of it, must consist of one man and one woman. I suggested to them that marriage is not the same as a civil union or some other moniker placed on two people joining together. Rather, I felt it important to clarify that God, Who created marriage, is the only One privileged to define it - and He has done so: One man. One woman. Anything falling outside of that can't be called marriage.

Defining marriage outside of God's definition would be like someone asking you the meaning of a word and you deciding to make up something that fit your preference for the definition. For example (warning: this will sound silly) we wouldn't define a bottle using the description/definition of a motorcycle, or define a paper factory using the description/definition of the space shuttle - it just wouldn't make sense...people would not understand what we were defining because we'd have the definition wrong. It's the same with marriage - it has a definition which was given to it by its Creator: One man. One woman.

Lastly, I think the position of the Church (or Church people I should say) for centuries has earned us the right of being ignored on this issue. Too many have been quick to judge in this area rather than loving those who find themselves intrigued by, trapped by, or even enjoying an attraction to their same sex. Christians tend to look past the grace in which we are living that covers our own multitude of sin and, rather, become fixated on crucifying individuals with behaviors or worldviews that we fear. I would submit that, instead, ours is the responsibility of sharing Christ's love for people. ALL PEOPLE.

I think our problem here is that we struggle to draw a line in the sand concerning our Christian worldview, and we fear that accepting a person who acts on his/her attraction to the same sex (for example) means that we are "accepting" his/her behavior. We don't (typically) do that in any other area of our lives. I mean, seriously - do you share the EXACT same feelings/opinions regarding faith, politics, racism, poverty, environment, etc. as the person or corporation who signs your paycheck every couple of weeks? Or with the person who works in the cubicle right next to yours? What about the guy who works on your car or mows your lawn? What about the couple living right next door to you? See the pattern? For most people the answer is no - we don't share the EXACT same views on those things, but we are still able (for the most part) to do life with those people who live in our little section of the world. We are able to separate our feelings about a person's behavior without compromising our command to love them and do life with them. We are ABLE - but do we always do it?

Let's make it a little more tangible - do you really believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has something to offer those people you're doing life with every day? Is there something greater awaiting them, and you, as a result of the Truths we claim to believe? If the answer to that is yes, then I wonder what earns us a greater right to speak Truth into a person's life? A pointed finger preaching hellfire and damnation? Or open arms that display the new lives we have found in Christ? We MUST learn the practice of being godly without being self-righteous. Anything less than that just makes us Pharisaical in our behavior (knowing the law and forgetting the person). Oh, we brood of vipers.

Wow - okay....looks like I'm only covering one Sunday! See what I mean about being chatty - I just can't help myself! I hope that you have an incredible Thanksgiving, and for those of you who will have life issues to deal with when your family comes together over the holidays - I'm praying that you can do it in a way that honors God's Kingdom and grace in your own life. Remember Jesus's reply when asked about the greatest commandment - Love God. Love people. Could He really believe it's that simple? I'm thinking He does. :-)

Let me know if I can pray about anything for you and/or your family.


Friday, November 18, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - November 18

Hello HS Parents!

Great time with your students this past Wednesday night! By now you're well aware that we asked students a week or two ago to respond to God through art. Well, in keeping with that mindset - this week I asked students to read a few selected verses of Scripture and create a mathematical representation of the text. For example, "life + worry ≠ longer life" is a representation of the Luke 12 teaching about not worrying about everyday life and necessities.

Now on the surface, this might seem silly to you. But trust me, there's a method behind my madness: I want your students to open their minds to God's Word in their lives without being captive to an old understanding of what they "know" about the Bible from their younger years. I believe that students (and adults) can be trapped by experiences with and more elementary understandings of God's Word from earlier times in their lives. Doing so will prevent us from seeing how God's unchanging and transcendent Word can take on deeper and new meaning in our lives as our experiences and worldviews broaden.

For example, the teaching listed above about not worrying will always be true, but will have different meaning for a 5 year old than it does for a 30 year old with a wife and 2 children. Students who comment that they "know all the Bible stories" are subject to being "stuck" in what they know rather than stepping into what they have yet to learn from the same passage as an older believer with more life experiences under their belts.

My exercises over the past couple of weeks or so are designed to help your students step into a broadening of their minds by thinking of Scripture in a fashion that might appear obtuse on the surface. My goal, however, is to just get them off-guard long enough to allow their minds to go new places in Scripture rather than staying captive to an elementary teaching they absorbed as a preschooler.

Hear me, I believe those understandings are critical foundations for a student's faith journey - but they are exactly that - foundations. That means they are laid in order to build upon. I'm hoping these different ways of responding to God will allow your students to begin that new addition or remodel of their faith that will bring them closer to God. I'm praying for a deeper spiritual maturity for them that will allow them to experience His love letter in a way that matches their physical, emotional, and academic development.

Whew! That's a lot....I hope it makes sense! Let me know if I can pray about something for you or your family.


Friday, November 11, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - November 11

Hello HS Parents!

Many of you may already be aware of what happened this past Wednesday night in our meeting...but just in case - here's a recap. You know from last week's FAMILY PLUS email that we've recently completed our series called "Forward Motion." This series focused us on taking small steps in our faith rather than taking exhausting giant leaps.

Well, I really wanted to drive the point home and offer students a way to respond beyond any type of verbal commitment that may have made. So this past Wednesday night I asked them to respond to God without using their mouths, lifting their hands, playing an instrument, or dancing. I provided clay, pastels, paper, pencils, magazines. paints, canvas, and time. Wow - how they responded!

Follow the link below to take a look at their work. You'll also be able to see it this Sunday morning displayed in the foyer. Take the same challenge and think of how you might wish to respond to God differently than you normally do. Take a chance at letting loose the right side of your brain and see what He's got waiting inside there for you.

Follow this link to the art on Facebook.
Let me know what I can pray about for you!


Friday, November 4, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - November 4

Hi HS Parents!

Well, we've wrapped up our series on "Forward Motion" - our focus for the past few weeks where we talked about making small steps in our faith instead of trying to take HUGE leaps. This week we talked about celebrating the small steps we have made toward growing in our faith as opposed to being "stuck" on the steps we have yet to take.

If your student is attempting to make a small step in his/her faith - remember that the best role you can play is that of an "hyper encourager!" Sure, the steps your child is taking may not be the ones you would wish he or she would take. And they may not even seem like significant steps to you. But God may be inching your student, little by little, toward His will and purpose for your child's life! Make CERTAIN he or she KNOWS you see the effort!

Remember that your student is likely already dealing internally with the guilt of a weaker walk with Christ than his or her friends might have. There may even be feelings of guilt associated with behavior that your student is not revealing to you. Encouraging your students in the little steps they are making in their faith - no matter how small they may seem - could be the catalyst that will make them take that next step time and time again.

*****Uber Challenge for the Day*****

Make certain that after reading this email that you find at least ONE way to encourage your students in their faith journeys - TODAY! Don't allow them to go to sleep tonight without your taking just a second to convey how proud you are of them for something they have done in their continuing walk with Christ.

Let me know how I can pray for you!


Friday, October 28, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - October 28

Hello HS Parents

What a GREAT series we have having on Wednesday nights! This overall series (called Forward Motion) has really been a surprise for me. I can't tell you how many students I have talked to about their desire to take baby steps in their faith. If you remember, I spoke last week about how our attempts to make BIG LEAPS in our faith can leave us frustrated, disappointed, and exhausted. Long lasting faith decisions in our lives happen little by little.

Needless to say, I felt the pressure of getting the message clear this past Wednesday night. I wanted to make sure that any student who had chosen to take a baby step closer to Christ would feel equipped to do so. We talked about some clear, tangible ways that they could take baby steps in their faith journey. And I was pretty transparent about some of the steps I needed to make in my own life. I shared with them that God has made a significant investment in them as believers.

To encourage them about the investment God has made in their lives, I shared with them an illustration about Netflix. If you haven't heard, Netflix has recently lost about 800,000 customers and watched their stock tumble incredibly over the past few months. In fact, they are worth about 11 billion dollars less today than they were in July due to poor execution of a new business model. As you would imagine - shareholders of NFLX have been bailing out left and right. Their stock was worth about $300/share in July - today it's worth $83.

The point I made with your students, though, is that God is not an uncommitted shareholder. In fact, His investment in us remains solid through the best of spiritual economic times and the WORST of spiritual economic times. No matter how we perform in His market, He remains committed to the idea that we will make a turnaround!

I challenge you to take a few minutes to speak with your student this week about what he/she could do to take a baby step forward in his/her faith. And I doubly challenge you to tell your student something YOU can do to take a baby step forward in your faith. Maybe you could even submit yourself to your student to be held accountable for what you need to do - just sayin.'

As always, shoot me a mail or text if I can pray about something for you or your family!


Friday, October 21, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - October 21

Hey everyone!

Two nights ago we had an INCREDIBLE meeting in the District with both middle schoolers and high schoolers. Robert was in New Orleans taking a class at seminary, so the MS gang came down to hang out with us.

I began a three week series entitled "Forward Motion." I talked to your students about the feelings we have when we go to a camp, a mission trip, or a retreat. A lot of times we get all hyped up on emotion and make some pretty sizable commitments to God....commitments that many times are impossible to keep.

I shared with your students that a walk with Christ is not made with giant leaps - it's made in small steps. I told them that Christ is anxiously awaiting them to take just one step closer to Him today as an act of faith, discipline, and commitment to living a life for Him. Giant leaps leave us dealing with failure, fatigue, and exhaustion. Small steps in our faith are attainable, God-honoring, and offer more longevity in our Christian walk.

My challenge this week - let your students see you take a small step closer to Christ in your faith walk. The smallest, most insignificantly seeming step you take in your faith could be just the catalyst they need to get them thinking that they can take small steps in their faith as well.

If I can pray about something for you or your family, shoot me an email.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

FAMILY PLUS October 15

Hello HS Parents!

This past Wednesday night I spoke to your students about life...and death. We actually discussed a dear family member I recently lost - my great Uncle Charlie. He was such a godly man and his funeral was spent sharing the many years he committed to living out his faith in all that he did.

I had your students complete two exercises:

1) They paired up with another teenager and wrote a eulogy for him/her.

2) I had them write a eulogy for themselves depicting what they hoped people would say of them about their time on earth.

As you would imagine, the responses were pretty interesting...and quite humerous for some of them (I LOVE their creativity!). We ended by asking them to consider that 1,000 years is but a day to God. And since our short time on earth is barely a blink of His eye...what should we spend our time doing?

I would encourage you to look for ways to steer conversations with your student toward purpose and meaning. High school students are in the prime stage of looking for their meaning. Seize the chances you get to help them identify what we are all TRULY here for.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, October 6, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - October 6

Hello HS Parents!

My email to you this week comes from Metairie, LA - a city just east of New Orleans. Metairie is the home of Metairie Baptist Church - the place we stay when we are on mission in NOLA.

I have had an INCREDIBLE week with your students. God has given us opportunity to see significant advance in the work He has called us to here. The relationships that we have with the community and its leaders are just so humbling as they have strengthened considerably over the past several months. God is using our high school students in a very powerful way, and they are stepping up to newer and higher levels of service for Him to this community.

This coming Sunday we will be back in the District for our regular Sunday morning group meeting. We will be covering week two of a study started this past week called Goodness Gracious. We will be looking at Psalm 25 and talking about "What does it mean for God to be "good?" Some question s we'll be asking are:

1 - When you say that someone is a "good person," what do you mean?

2 - How would you describe faithful love?

3 - Do you ever feel "directionally challenged" when it comes to spiritual things? Do you think we get "off course" a little to easy in our Christian journey? Why?

Thank you again for sharing your students with me this week; they have made you look GOOD!!! If you have any questions or something you'd like me to pray about for you - shoot me an email or give me a call.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

NOLA Fall 2011 - Day 2

Day 2 is really Day 1 in the field for us - shaped up to pretty good for us...after a semi-shaky start. This is the first time we have come down here with very little work lined up. It's a challenge to schedule work more than a week or so before you come down as people are still a little hesitant to purchase materials. This stems from all the fraud that was going on right after the storm. Even though we've worked on over 100 homes and have kept our promises to the homeowners we've worked for - people are still a little reluctant. One of our MAJOR jobs was going to be carpeting the sanctuary at Metairie Baptist Church (where we stay), but their carpet didn't get shipped in time. Looks like that will have to happen when we're back in March.

Another challenge facing us is that we have several new (and younger) students working with us in the schools. I'm excited about the opportunity we have to build this young group into seasoned veterans, but many of them will hit the ground running tomorrow for their first time in this environment. That is challenging and rewarding to me at the same time. I'm so excited about what they are going to experience, but appropriately cautious due to the investment we have in our multi-year strategy in the schools.

ALL of those issues caved today as we found out:

1) We have more work to do as of today than we will probably be able to complete before we leave to come home. After an announcement was made in the Franklin Avenue Church Service, we had plenty of work to keep us busy for the week.

2) Our younger and inexperienced school team members had to endure training with me today. I put them through nearly six hours of constant recreation training that had them all pretty spent by the end of the day. They rose to the challenge and surpassed my expectations in every way. I feel very confident about their effectiveness tomorrow in the schools.

It was pretty humbling to watch God lay out for us the plan He had ordained long before we left on Saturday to come down here. Sure, it wasn't timed just exactly as I would have laid it out - but it was timed perfectly according to His plan. I closed the day by having students ideate (in their teams) about how they could be-on-the-look-out for opportunities to represent Christ tomorrow. I asked them to be proactive tonight about ways to engage someone for God's Kingdom without speaking about anything "religious" or having to do with Christianity. I wanted them to be prepared to BE the church tomorrow in actions as they execute their work.

Day 2 summation: It was good.

Friday, September 23, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - September 23

Hello HS Parents!

This past Wednesday night I discussed with your students some misconceptions we have about God's will. We talked about key questions that face students regarding their future and how difficult and unsettling it can be to feel that God sometimes remains quiet about those issues. I shared with them that in these times there is a kind of "test" we can run our choices through based on what Jesus said were the greatest, most important things (commandments): Love God. Love people. If we measure all of our actions within these boundaries - we can be fairly certain that we are in His will or being led toward it.

This Sunday morning we will be continuing our look at "Savior and King" in small group discussion, and will be looking at these (among other) questions:

  1. What are some things about which you are selfish? What are some things you have a hard time resisting?
  2. Where in your daily schedule do you have time to focus on Christ? What keeps you from focusing on Christ?
  3. What are some things for which people are willing to take a stand? Why would someone take a stand?

Scriptures for Sunday morning: Luke 9:23-26

My challenge for you this week is to find a time to share with your student a personal story or two you have about praying for God to show you His will about something in your life. Maybe it will have to do with a job, a relationship, or even something you were dealing with concerning your children. Try to share something that you felt God was unclear or silent about how you should act or react in that situation. Talk about how you processed those feelings and how you ultimately moved toward a decision (or opted not to move at all) if you did not receive a clear answer from God. Bringing this kind of subject up out-of-the-blue might feel a little awkward. Be looking for ways to insert this story intentionally into other conversations you're already having with your child.

REMINDERS: The fall mission trip to New Orleans is October 1-8. If you plan on making the trip, please sign up as soon as possible.

DATES: October 1-8

COST: $150

Please contact me if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - September 17

Hello HS Parents!

This past Wednesday night I had a very direct conversation with your students during the teaching time. I reminded them that when we meet Jesus, He changes our lives and ultimately causes us to change how we live, talk, play, etc. It was a pretty heavy discussion where I called them to take a serious look at their lives and assess whether or not their lives reflected the grace and forgiveness they had received in Christ. Again, a pretty heavy time of reflection. We used for our context Judges chapter 6.

This coming Sunday morning we will continue our look at "Savior and King" in small group discussion. Here are a few questions your student might encounter:

1. How do we hear from Jesus? How do we know His voice?

2. When you want to secure something, what do you do or what do you use? WHy do we want things to be secure?

3. What does it mean for Jesus to know His sheep ? How can He know each one?

Don't forget that our Fall Mission Trip to New Orleans is just around the corner. Space for this trip is limited, so your student signing up as soon as possible is critical. Cost is $150 and covers travel, lodging, and food.

Challenge: This week, look for opportunities to model your faith to your student. If your actions are more like bad "re-actions" to what life seems to be throwing at you - you might give pause to ask what those reactions are modeling for your student. Step into the peace that Christ has brought to your life and allow that to guide your actions - AND your reactions!

Praying for you and your students....let me know if you want me to pray somethings specifically for you or your family.


Friday, September 9, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - September 9

Hello HS Parents

This past Sunday we started a new series with your students called Savior and King. This series will focus on why Christ came into the world and what he desires for our lives. This particular study has the potential to be challenging as we will touch somewhat on lordship. The challenge is that many people are willing to make Christ their Savior, but draw the line at making him Lord of their lives.

We also started a new series on Wednesday nights called Labyrinth. This series will focus on helping students navigate their calling in life. We believe firmly that Christ has a plan for everyone and has uniquely gifted all of us to achieve His desire for us. This study will point us toward learning to step into His calling for us - even when we don't feel qualified for the task.

Don't forget that our Fall Mission Trip to New Orleans is just a few weeks away. Please make sure that your student is signed up. Cost is $150 and covers food, lodging, and travel.

Please let me know if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 2, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - September 2

Hello HS Parents
This week we completed our four week series on service. We took a long look at our responsibility to be servants to others for the cause of Christ. Admittedly, it was a pretty difficult study to walk through with integrity - getting "me" out of the way is difficult for all of us.

This Sunday we will begin a new study entitled "Savior and King." this study will focus on why Christ came to earth and what His sacrifice means in and for our lives. Our Scripture for this Sunday will be John 6:32-40.

This week please consider continuing your focus on service with your students and modeling sevanthood for them. Let me know if there is something I can pray about for your family.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - August 25

Last night we completed the third week of our study on service called, "If Necessary, Use Words." I shared with your students the importance of relating with people who we are called to serve, and suggested that our grasp of their need must go far beyond a week or so of our time with them. We've experienced this very thing in our work in New Orleans - those guys and ladies down there have become our friends...we feel very close to them and share, quite intimately, the struggles they face.

This coming Sunday we will be wrapping up the fourth week of that study by discussing the ultimate point of serving others is to point them to Christ. We don't do it because it makes us feel good or even because it's the right thing to do. Rather, we do it because it reflects the message of true hope that can only be found in Christ Jesus. We'll be looking at 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 as our text. I will be hanging out with students in the District until around 9:30 or so before heading down to teach our Family Plus Parent Class in Room 127.

I shared a video with your students last night that I will leave you with this week. It's a comical glance at how mission trips can take a side turn based on the actions of the missionaries....hope you enjoy it. Let me know if there is anything I can pray about for you or your family.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - August 18

Hello HS Parents!

Last night we completed the second week of our series "If Necessary Use Words." In this study we are focusing on how God can use us as servants and our responsibility to play this role in the lives of people we interact with daily. It can be pretty humbling to think about well you execute this critical command from Jesus.

This coming Sunday we will narrow our focus even more to look at the people God has called us to serve. Our Scripture reference will be Acts 9:36-43, Matthew 25:31-40, and Matthew 10:42. A great way to prepare your student for this Sunday AND to keep this idea fresh in his/her mind after Sunday is to look for opportunities to serve someone WITH your student. This doesn't mean you have to hunt down a mission opportunity in Zimbabwe with your student; rather, this means seizing every chance you can to model servanthood to your student in your everyday life.

In other words, find tangible ways that you can do something for someone else while you are going through your regular routine. Just being intentional about this will open a world of opportunity for you to give something back to others. But the greatest reward will come from what your students see in you as you choose to put the needs of others above your own. There is PLENTY of opportunity to go around out there...make the MOST of it for HIS glory.

Don't forget that our Family Plus parent class begins this Sunday at 9:15 PM in the Fellowship Hall. If you are looking for a Sunday Morning CONNECT opportunity - I'd love for you to check out this class for parents.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - August 4

Hello HS Parents!

For most of you school has started back and your schedule is settling back in to some sense of normalcy. I'm still waiting for that to happen for me as Wednesday nights won't really get back to normal until next week on August 10. That's the first night we'll have our incoming freshmen with us. That also means that for some of you (parents of graduates), that this is the last Family Plus email you'll receive from me.

This coming Sunday we will begin a new series called: If Necessary Use Words. It's a spin off the adage, "Preach the gospel - if necessary use words." This study will focus on the witness your students have at school, work and play without even opening their mouths about the gospel. It reminds me of a poster that my fourth grade teacher had on our classroom wall that read, "Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you say."

It might be helpful for you to think about this in your own life and what you say to your kids about your beliefs through your actions. This can be unsettling and humbling when we get honest about our intentions and our actions. Mine do not always line up in reality the way they do in my mind and heart. I'm certain I'm not alone in that regard! Add John 9:1-7, 35-38, to your Bible reading this week. It's the text we'll be using this Sunday as we discuss "What is servant evangelism?"

I want to remind you that beginning Sunday, August 21, David Watkins and I will be teaching a class for parents. You can get information at Grouplink this Sunday about that class and other New Generations ministries.

Thanks for a great summer! I'm looking forward to what the fall will bring and the opportunities God has already ordained for you and your students to grow closer to Him and closer as a family. If there is something I can pray about for your family, please contact me via email or phone.

- Michael

Thursday, July 21, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - July 21

Hello HS Parents:

It's tough to believe that summer is almost over. I know the past several weeks have flown by for many of you just as they have for me. The next week and a half will fly by as well, and before you know it your students will be back in school.

We have had such a great week in the New Orleans area with your high school students. It has been my privilege to work and serve with them again in St. Bernard Parish. I've watched them be selfless and give more of themselves than a reasonable person could expect…and most of it under some pretty adverse conditions.

By Friday night of this week we will have worked on five homes and served 35 children at KidzDays in the Parish. The impact on the children and families we serve AND on our students as a result of these opportunities is quite humbling. It's difficult to comprehend that people still need help six years after The Storm. Hearing people share their stories with us about the chaos that has been their lives since Katrina affirms, again, that our strategy and focus are correctly placed in the heart of this area.

This Sunday we will continue our study in the District on Abba during our Bible study time. We will be discussing what it means for God to be sovereign and using as our text: 1 Samuel 2:2-10 and Isaiah 46:9-11.

Please be in prayer for our students and leaders as we complete our week of missions in St. Bernard Parish. Pray for safety as we travel home and for God to continue His work in the lives of people in the New Orleans area. Please contact me if I can pray about something specifically for you or your family.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School -July 16

Hello HS Parents!

As I write this I'm on a bus with many of your teenagers on our way to New Orleans. Don't worry -Robert's driving right now! I'm so excited about this trip as it is one we have been preparing for nearly three years. Many of our previous trips have served as the ground work for this missions opportunity for your students.

This week we will have about three construction teams working in St. Bernard Parish and Orleans Parish. Yes, there is still MUCH to be done in the rebuild effort in the Gulf Coast areas affected by Katrina - or as the locals refer to it: The Storm. These rebuild teams will continue to be a apart of our longterm strategy in New Orleans.

A new opportunity for us this week, though, is our initiative to provide a KidzDays camp similar to the one we provide in Gladeville. We have rented a local park in St. Bernard Parish as our camp facility and haven marketed the camp for the past several months. Our prayer is that we will encounter the students we have come to know through our work in the local school system.

Please pray for the work God will do in the lives of your students this week and the lives they will touch on behalf of His Kingdom. "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news." Romans 10:15b. Your teens are bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to children and families in the New Orleans area.

Students who are at home this week will be tackling the second week of our Abba study on Sunday morning. This week covers the question: What is the Trinity. The Scriptures we will use are 1 Corinthians 6:8, John 1:1-3, and John 16:13-15. I challenge you this week to try to articulate to your spouse or a friend what the Trinity is. I suggest this as a practice for having a similar conversation with your high schooler.

I would also suggest that you refrain from Googling the Trinity and using those search results as the basis of your conversation with your student. Our church library has some excellent resources for biblical questions and the library staff can point you to other solid resources to help you as well.

Thank you for your prayers this week. Please contact me via email or cell phone if there is something you'd like me to pray about for your family.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - July 9

Hello HS Parents

Only one more week until we head out to New Orleans for our July Mission Trip. We'll be doing a KidzDays camp in St. Bernard Parish (just east of New Orleans). This is the same parish we work with students in the public school system. We'll also be working in homes in St. Bernard.

Tomorrow we begin a new study in our student area entitled "Abba." This study will last four weeks and will provide solid answers about who God is. On the surface, it might seem that this type of study would be elementary for high school students. My experience, though, is that these are the types of questions that students have a difficult time answering/articulating verbally. Many of them "know" the answers to these questions, but they don't know WHY they know them.

Lastly, I want to share with you a new class that will be starting in August. David Watkins and I will be co-teaching a Family Plus parenting class for parents of students. Here is the copy that will be in our fall connect book regarding this class opportunity:

Family Plus Class for Parents, Taught by Michael Eubanks and David Watkins, Sunday mornings at 9:15

Our New Generations ministry operates on a principle we call "Family Plus." It's simple - we believe that parents are the key voices in the lives of preschoolers, children, and teenagers. We also believe that the church is a strong, and necessary, voice in the lives of preschoolers, children, and teenagers. We are resolved that although young people will benefit from either of these voices in their lives, the greatest benefit with the strongest impact comes when they have both of them in their lives. To that end, we believe that the messages from each needs to be a clear, united message.

Family Plus Class for Parents facilitates another layer of support from our church to the success of your family. It encourages you as a parent trying to rear your child in a godly home. It equips you to be a godly parent and helps you, and our church, unite the messages we both send to your child for the purpose of seeing spiritual transformation in their lives, your lives, and in your family.

If you are looking for a Sunday morning connect opportunity, I hope you will consider this class. I hope you're having a great summer with your students and seizing EVERY unplanned opportunity to model and discuss matters of faith with them. Let me know if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - July 2

Hello High School Parents

This past Wednesday night we wrapped up our 2010-2011 year with a heated game of Minute To Win It against the middle schoolers. J.D. Young took home the grand prize - $50 gift card to Providence Cinemas. Wednesday night programming will resume on August 3rd at the Back To School Bash.

This coming Sunday in our Bible study time with high schoolers we will continue (actually complete) the last study on patience. I thought we would finish it this past Sunday, but there is content from the midweek portion that I want to cover that we have not gotten to yet. It relates, specifically, to the question, "Where should my patience show? We'll be looking at James 1:19, Galatians 6:9, and Hebrews 12:1-3.

This Sunday also marks the last day for high school graduates to be in our Sunday morning Bible study. On Sunday, July 10th, they will begin their new classes. I've communicated their options this week in a personal letter, but if you need help getting your graduate transitioned to a new class - please email me or give me a call.

My challenge this week is for you to practice and model patience with your teenager, his or her siblings, and your spouse/their other parent. If things are rough in your home, think of ways to model Christ's patience with you in the things that you're facing. If your teen's other parent doesn't live with you and that situation is stressful - think of how to show Christ's love to him or her as a means of modeling Christlike behavior to your student. This is one of the toughest areas to live as a parent, spouse, a human being!!!! Thank goodness we're in it together and have the PERFECT model to show us the way!

If I can pray about anything for you or your family, please contact me via email or phone.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Since I was out of the country last week and missed my posting deadline, I thought I'd go ahead and write a note today...but one that is not "technically" a FAMILY PLUS Update.

Last week Robert Post (our Interim Middle School Minister) agreed to allow the high schoolers to crash his middle school trip to Holiday World. I was SO thankful that our students would be able to go AND for Robert's graciousness to handle the logistics to make it happen. They had a GREAT time - THANKS Robert!!

But the trip (as always happens when we do something out-of-the-norm) raised a few questions about why our high school ministry doesn't do more trips like that. You know - more "fun" stuff. Whether you're a seasoned veteran in our ministry or you've just recently inched your big toe into the waters of New Generations - I hope you find this post helpful.

Having worked in student ministry in some fashion for a long time (almost 20 years now), I have "done" ministry many different ways. And I have certainly had action packed, calendar-filled years that left no down time for family and stressed even the most creative budget planner. But what I have realized amid all the "fun" that we can be about is that the fun is - typically - very short lived.

About five years ago I felt led to change the focus of our ministry from what had grown to look like inward focused activities to something higher - outward focused missions. I began to focus on what our impact could be outside the walls of the church and what we (as students and student leaders) could be about in the greater life of God's Kingdom (not just in our youth group). This led us (our team at the time) to ask serious questions about the purpose behind each and every event we planned.

You see, to mobilize a group of students and leaders is not cheap. For example, a regular trip that we take to New Orleans costs us about $13,500 in transportation costs alone. Add food and other logistics to that, multiply by three trips a year and you'll get really close to about $50,000. Well, those numbers actually hold pretty steady for other trips as well. So when we were taking retreats or going to camp - the costs were relative to the amount of time we were away, but still had a significant impact on our budget.

I became very convicted that if we were spending significant dollars to go somewhere away from our church, then we should not be going to do something for ourselves. I found that although rafting and going to Six Flags were great trips and I had fun hanging out with students, the lasting impact those trips had on students connecting with our ministry or giving us opportunity to share the gospel with them was barely measurable at all. It was poor stewardship of our resources.

I also found that ministry opportunities had much greater impact on the lives of students - especially high school students. For example, one year we took a split camp/mission trip experience. We did the missions part first and the camp part second. The result? Camp was a HUGE let down because students had such a rich experience serving others. The camp experience felt too inwardly focused - and that made students feel guilty for not spending the camp time continuing the mission work.

Another problem that can be overlooked by the casual observer is the impact that these trips have on family budgets. So, let's say we are going to do these types of "fun" trips as long as they are self funded. In other words - no money from our ministry budget can be used to sustain that type of trip. Well, that would be fine at first glance. But what happens when a family budget is stretched to the point that a student can only participate in one trip a year. Now I have put a student in the position of making a choice between something "fun" that (in my mind) will have a short-term impact on his or her life and something "outward" that (in my mind) will be much more fun and reach something deeper in the student's core. I believe it's better to just remove the ambiguity and spend my time facilitating and equipping the church to be the church.

I believe that in the more formative years (children and middle school) the impact of camp and the discipleship provided in an isolated setting is incredibly valuable. But I think providing isolated settings for discipleship connected with an effort to do something for someone else has a longer lasting, more focused impact on older students.

I know that our high school ministry is probably less entertaining than many others. I know that participating in it requires proactive rather than reactive choices from its students and parents. But that seems to go hand-in-hand with the DNA of our church body. I do not believe that any of our age level areas should be looked at as separate entities of the church body - rather, we are the body. And as the body we have to be concerned about the worldview we have when looking at ministry opportunities. To that end, our focus in high school work is serving others for the fame and renown of Jesus Christ. In doing so, we also provide rich opportunities for spiritual growth, challenge, and transformation.

Friday, June 17, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - June 17

Hello HS Parents!

This past Wednesday night Robert Post continued our series on Patience. He shared some personal stories about how his patience has been tried and tested over the years as a ball player, a fiance, and as a man. He talked about the good that comes from waiting and how God has shown him again and again the value of waiting on His timing. This Sunday our students will continue that study in small group Bible study with Scott Weeks.

Many of your students were (as always) a key to the success of Summer Jam this week. Our students continue to make themselves available with their unique gifts for the sake of making Him famous. You should know that they are and were the heros this week...especially to the kids at our church. Our New Generations Team are so thankful for their service and your willingness to allow them to be used for God's Kingdom.

I will be in Peru with 7 of our high school students and Courtney Bradley. Please pray that God will give us safe travel and will reveal Himself to children and adults. If there is anything I can pray about for you or your family...please let me know.


Friday, June 10, 2011


Hello High School Parents

I guess it's safe to say that summer has officially started and your high schooler has already been hitting you up for some extra cash to get in on whatever his or her friends are getting into.  Although my son is only four, he is already capable of asking for money and wanting it right when he asks!

That brings me to the series we just began this past Wednesday in the District on Patience.  We talked about how tough it is to wait on things, but that it seemed the absolute BEST things in our lives were the ones on which we had to wait.  We also talked about how being patient is a mark of the Holy Spirit in our lives as patience is a fruit of the Spirit.

Try to be aware this week about what you are modeling when it comes to patience. I'm sure your student already knows the limit of your patience as it relates to him or her. Watch for opportunities this week to show patience toward your child.  I guarantee you he or she will notice!!!

Take a look at other fruit of the Spirit by looking at Galatians 5.  As always, please let me know if there is something I can pray about for your family.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - May 22

This past week we started a new series called "Godview." This series
is one that we have been delaying for a while...not for any particular
reason -we've just been tackling other things. The cool thing is that
this hesitation proved to be incredibly timely for us. I'm sure that
you are aware of Harold Camping's prophesy (or maybe prediction) that
the rapture would take place this past Saturday on May 21. His
misleading of so many people is the type of thing that is at the core
of this study....what happens when we have a distorted and/or untrue

My message to students this past Wednesday opened the series by
discussing our response, or lack of it, to our convictions is
testimony to our view of God. Our actions and our reactions to life
in general scream to the world our view of God - much, much louder
than any words that come out of our mouths. We reiterated those
teachings in our Sunday morning group time by asking probing questions
designed to reveal our "true" view of God.

Lastly, we focused on Peter's view of God and his actions. Here is a
guy who had his name changed by Christ...literally. He was told by
Jesus that he would be the rock on which He built the church. Yet
when push came to shove, he denied Jesus three times. I couched
Peter's testimony as a way to process our willingness to follow Him
AND our failure at some critical times to do so. I think it provided
a clear understanding of the glaring reality that our only hope is in
Jesus and our responsibility to share that Hope with the world is,
indeed, a weighty thing to bear.

This week would be a great time to share with your students some of
the views of God that you have had to overcome in your own life. Your
student's view of God is at a critical point from now until they are
in their early 20's. Spend some significant time right now owning
some of your own "stuff" with them as a means of gaining permission to
have these discussions with them in the critical years of your
immediate future.

Please let me know if there is anything I can pray about for you or your family.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blessing Dinner/Grad Commissioning

I just got home from the last piece of an incredible day at the Glade. We commissioned our graduates this morning for the next phase of their lives, and challenged them to step into and advance God's Kingdom with their words and actions as young adults. That annual worship service has proved to be the ideal way for our church to challenge our seniors toward a life that seeks something higher than a good scholarship or a promising career; it's our charge to them to well represent Christ and their church as they enter adulthood.

Tonight, though, was the icing on the cake for me. I was privileged to sit in a room and listen to Dads read letters of encouragement and advice to their sons. I was able to reflect on the times I had shared with these young men over the past four years. And I was able to pray with each of them individually and bless their lives as they have blessed mine.

As I left the church completely exhausted from the day, the solitude my car provided for me on my short drive home was enough to allow me to soak in what I had just witnessed. I am continually reminded of the chance I have to model God's Kingdom for my son and to pass on, as I saw these men do tonight, the most important things in life to him...matters of faith and citizenship in the Kingdom of God.

My prayer this past week as I prepared for today's message and throughout the weekend has been that God will allow my son to grasp more anything else in his life the importance of stepping into citizenship in God's Kingdom. I pray that he will see in his mom and dad a willingness to set all things aside for the sake of His higher calling. I pray that he will see our actions tempered with the wisdom and grace of God that has been poured out on our lives in such ways that words are incapable of describing.

I pray that he will long for the things of God and that he will be concerned with the hearts of men and women more so than their appearance or righteousness. I pray that although he will be saying goodbye to dear friends like Aaron, Ben, Daniel, and John, that other men of God who, even as high school students, are equally committed to the cause of Christ and will take interest in modeling the same for him.

The "job" of a minister is as challenging and troublesome as any secular position I've ever held. The hours are longer and the struggles are more personal. It comes with great sacrifice and an emotional and spiritual tax that is sometimes difficult to bear - maybe even impossible to bear but for the grace of God. I never understood how much it is likened to parenting until I became a father to my own son. And therein lies the bonus...the fringe benefit, if you a life of ministry.

I get a front row seat of the spiritual development of students and parents. I get to watch miraculous and supernatural changes take place in the lives of people with whom I've spent years sharing and nurturing a close, personal bond. I get to see the power of Christ overcome that which seems impossible, heal that which is beyond repair, and restore that which has been abandoned due to lack of hope. I get to watch young men and women develop into far greater ministers in their 16, 17, or 18 years of life than I will ever be in my next 39 years.

In short, I have the best seat in the house to watch God fulfill and honor His word and work in the lives of His children. I suppose I'm a little worked up with the emotion of the day, but more than that - my short drive home took me to a place of awe and wonder at the mighty works of His hand and what He allowed me to see and experience today.

Father, for the privilege of sharing in your business I am truly thankful. For the privilege of being able to fulfill the calling I am certain that you placed on my life, I am truly thankful. For the opportunity to exercise the gifts you gave me for the glory of your Kingdom, I am both humbled and thankful. For your willingness to overlook my many imperfections and use me in some fashion for the advancement of your Kingdom, I am truly thankful. For the privilege of working with students who are sold out for you I am so thankful. For the privilege of working with students who are challenging and desperate for your promise of grace, I am so thankful. For the tangible, practical ways you continue to restore my soul, my family, my relationships, my all, I am so thankful. For the assured promise of a Kingdom far greater than anything I could ever hope for in this life, I am so thankful. For conquering death and hell and all the chaos that is life at times, I am so thankful. For the cleanup you provide in my mess of poor decisions and moving against you instead of with you - I am so thankful. For the privilege to have your banner flying in the castle of my heart - I am so thankful.

Father, my simple prayer for my wife, my son, my family, my students and their parents - is thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in our lives here on earth as it is in heaven. Truly, oh Sovereign King, thy Kingdom come.


Friday, May 13, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - May 13

I had a great time with our high school students Wednesday night in that we got to do small groups - something that's a bit atypical for us on Wednesday nights. We wrapped up our final week on the "Upside Down" series by talking about Jesus' teaching that His Kingdom is near. We discussed how it may seem strange that the Kingdom of God is yet to come, but that it is also very near to us right now.

We also discussed the things that will be made whole in our lives once His Kingdom is fulfilled. Students shared different areas of their lives that they will be GLAD when He makes those areas whole for them. We finished by asking students who feel like they have been closer to God at some other time in their lives to identify what is different in their lives right now - to name the things that contribute to them being further away from Him than they have been in the past.

This Sunday I will be speaking in the main service and much of our content will revolve around this series. It is such a strong message and is timely for students and adults alike - especially since it parallels the current Galatians series our pastor is leading right now.

Since I will be in the sanctuary, your students will have the privilege of hearing a guest speaker - Amy Brown. Amy is a representative from Union University who spent much of her teenage years being abused by her parents. She ended up in the Tennessee Baptist Children's home, got saved, and has experienced a radical spiritual transformation in her life. She will be sharing her incredible story with your students this coming Sunday.

Please let me know if there is something I can pray about for your family.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - May 8

Happy Mothers Day to all you moms of high schoolers!

We are in the middle of our series called "Upside Down" and are discussing weekly some of the difficult teachings of Jesus...specifically those in Matthew 5. Today we capped of a discussion I began this past Wednesday night covering what it means when Jesus asks us to give up our kingdoms for His.

This week was particularly difficult as I HATE talking about "behavior stuff" with teenagers. I believe that when students encounter Christ they will experience a life change and their behavior will reflect that. BUT - given the time of year and that my audience is high schoolers - I tackled some behavior issues that typically coincide with prom and graduation (both coming this month).

What is particularly striking to me is that Bruce's message today from Galatians reiterated our teaching about experiencing a changed life...choosing His Kingdom over my own. We already plan redundancy in our messages to students (repetition, repetition, repetition), but when we get (by Holy Spirit working) a confirmation from outside the District - I'm VERY encouraged about what students are being exposed to.

My biggest challenge for you this week comes as a minister who is also a parent. Be willing to ask your student difficult questions about what they are doing, where they are going, who they will be with, and the supervision they'll have when away from you. This is the time of year (end of school and in the summer) where students get sidetracked and can make some poor decisions. Opportunities to step out-of-bounds are presented to your student daily...but there's just something about this time of year that makes it feel like our guard is not as high as it is usually.

I'm so appreciative that I can be on the journey with you. For those of you who work in our younger age group levels - thank you SO MUCH for being a fellow minister to my son. I SO appreciate your encouragement to him and how you minister to me through him. As always, please let me know if I can pray about anything for you.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - April 28

Hello HS Parents

I hope your students did not miss our joint communion service with the middle schoolers in the District last Wednesday night. It was one of THE most moving experiences I have had in ministering to students. We had students reading Scriptures about the crucifixion and resurrection followed by ALL students coming to the stage to sit at the Lord's table and receive communion. Words just can't describe how moving it was for our leaders and our students....such a GREAT lead-up to Resurrection Weekend.

Last night we transitioned from Resurrection Sunday by launching a new series called "Upside Down." The main theme of last night (and the rest of the series) is that there are TWO kingdoms trying to coexist in our lives - but there is only room for ONE. We spent several minutes (on a storm-tossed night) discussing the approach we take to our faith and how to process what Jesus meant when he prayed, "THY Kingdom come, THY will be done."

Your students were challenged to take a close look at their faith to see if it (their faith) is just something else that they "do." If their faith is like going to class, going to work, or going to a party, rather than something that has an influence on all of those areas in their lives, then the wrong kingdom may have been established in their lives.

We will reiterate this teaching on Sunday with small group discussion. Here are a few questions we'll be asking based on Mark 1:15, Mark 4:11, Luke 9:2, Matthew 6:33, and Matthew 6:9-10:

1 - Why was Jesus message about His Kingdom so "upside down" to the people listening to Him teach?

2 - How does God's Kingdom differ from your own expectations of His Kingdom?

3 - Have you ever thought about which areas of your life are in the Kingdom of God and which areas are in the kingdom of "me?"

4 - How do you keep your kingdom(s) and God's Kingdom separated?

I think a good way for you talk about this with your teenager is by being transparent about the kingdoms you have setup in your own life. You might even give your student permission to tell you areas in your life where he or she has witnessed one of your kingdoms overpowering God's Kingdom in your life. Be prepared for the truth and don't react badly if you hear something you don't like.....ESPECIALLY if it is TRUE!!

As always, please let me know if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - April 14

Last night we began the final week of our study in Mark's gospel called "The Beautiful Trade." As you know by now the core of this study is the life that Jesus has asked us to trade in....our old lives for an abundant life with him. The past few weeks have shown us that letting go of our treasures can prove difficult - even for the sake of gaining His treasure.

We reinforced that point last night by talking about things that seem more tangible than the Christ. For example - most students wouldn't mind hanging on to $20 for a week, a month, or even a year if they knew they could utlimately trade the $20 for $200. They could probably even hold on to $200 for the same amount of time if they knew that a trade-up to $2,000 would be the payoff. But trading what we value in this life for the life that Jesus has for us is sometimes more difficult to see.

I did my best to draw a clear line about being a disciple of "action" and not just a disciple of "belief" without sounding too legalistic. I think the message was clear and Christ-focused. We will reinforce that teaching time this week in our small group meeting on Sunday morning. For your reference, the text is: Mark 8:27-29.

Some of the questions we'll use this week include:

1 - We often hear that Jesus was just a prophet or a good man. What do you think sets Jesus apart form other religious prophets or other good men or women who have been seen as important religious figures?

2 - Are there any traditions that you or your family have that Jesus might disrupt? How about traditions in your church? Where are the places where Jesus might upset the order in your life?

3 - If what you do is a reflection of who you say Jesus is, then what needs to change in your life to have your actions match your beliefs?

This series has provided several opportunities for you to be transparent with your teenager. I would recommend using these questions when you sense the opportunity is right to allow your student to hear the areas you're prone to struggle with regarding what you have been willing or unwilling to trade for God's Kingdom.

As always, please let me know if there is something I can pray about for your family.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FAMILY PLUS High School - April 7

Hey HS Parents!

Last night we continued our three week study called "The Beautiful Trade." In our teaching time we discussed how we all make judgments about people and how those judgments influence and drive our actions. In other words, our choice to interact with or associate with certain people is based largely on our judgment of people in general.

We transitioned our teaching to the environment in which Jesus began his ministry...a very closed environment where the rich, popular and healthy were the RELIGIOUS elite and the poor, outcast and sick were forced outside of the religious clique. Jesus spent His ministry teaching that His Father's kingdom was reserved for these unacceptable and unlovable people. He had SUCH a passion for them!

By now, you have no doubt seen the implication of Jesus' view on outsiders and the correlation of it to high school culture. I would suggest to you, however, that social and economic cliques are not reserved for the teenagers in your life. In fact, a self assessment might just reveal your own judgments, prejudices and reservations about certain people groups.

My challenge for you this week would be to allow yourself to be transparent with your teenager regarding these issues. I assure you that your judgment of other people is not masked from your children - they are WELL aware of it! But your conviction to have a more Christlike attitude about it and to trust your child enough to be vocal about it with them might tear down a significant barrier in your communication. It might be just the thing to spark your child toward a less apathetic view of those he/she considers unlovable. (just sayin').

We will continue this discussion in our small groups this coming Sunday. Our text will be Mark 5:22-27, 36, 41-42. Here are some of our questions:

1 - Do you ever feel kept out of something by other people? Are there certain people you try to keep out?

2 - Have you ever made some characteristics or some traits matter more than they should?

3 - Many times we decide who is in and who is out because we have been hurt. Can you think of someone who may have hurt you, which then led you to judge them and judge other people you thought were like them?

As always, please let me know if there is anything I can pray about for your family.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

FAMILY PLUS Update - March 31

Hello HS Parents!

Last night we got back to our regular schedule and it was SO refreshing to me!  We began a new three week series that will lead us up to Easter.  The series is called "The Beautiful Trade" and focuses on trading our old life in for the new life Christ has for us - a life in His kingdom.

Our main point last night is that Jesus does not want to be a "bonus" or an addition to your already full life.  Rather - Jesus wants to BE your life!  We discussed our hesitancy to walk toward God and the fact that our hesitation is driven by our desire to hang on tightly to the things He is calling us away from.

We'll reinforce that message this week in our Sunday morning groups.  I think this study provides an excellent chance for you to be transparent with your teenager.  You can share with them the things that are difficult for you to release for the sake of focusing on God's kingdom.  Seeing your authenticity and y our struggle could go a long way toward your student feeling like you are in this together!

Please let me know if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.

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FAMILY PLUS Update - March 31

Last night we got back to our regular schedule and it was SO refreshing to me! We began a new three week series that will lead us up to Easter. The series is called "The Beautiful Trade" and focuses on trading our old life in for the new life Christ has for us - a life in His kingdom.

Our main point last night is that Jesus does not want to be a "bonus" or an addition to your already full life. Rather - Jesus wants to BE your life! We discussed our hesitancy to walk toward God and the fact that our hesitation is driven by our desire to hang on tightly to the things He is calling us away from.

We'll reinforce that message this week in our Sunday morning groups. I think this study provides an excellent chance for you to be transparent with your teenager. You can share with them the things that are difficult for you to release for the sake of focusing on God's kingdom. Seeing your authenticity and your struggle could go a long way toward your student feeling like you are in this together!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

FAMILY PLUS Update - March 24

Hello HS Parents!

I trust your students have accomplished what I have not yet been able to do - recover from our trip last week! Seems the older I get the more difficult it is to function on 2 hours of sleep each night! All kidding aside, I hope your students have shared with you how God impacted their lives and the lives of others as we served in the New Orleans area.

This past Sunday Alan Pickerel led a share time during our Sunday morning group time and allowed students to talk about what they experienced on our trip. It allowed those who did not attend the mission trip to hear about the experience first hand from their peers.

Last night we watched a video of the trip compiled by Bryant Bural. We were also able to allow students to sign a section of quilting material that will complete a quilt being made for our friend Tommy Strong. As you know, Tommy and Shirley are dear friends of our ministry who were unable to serve wi th us on this trip due to illness.

This coming Sunday we will be tackling a one-week series entitled "What Happens Here." We will discuss the need for the things we talk about and learn at church to push beyond the walls of our church building. It should be a great punctuation mark to our focus on serving this month.

Please let me know if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Orleans - Day 6

Late night tonight, but we're ALL sleeping in tomorrow to be fresh for the drive home.

See you tomorrow, TN!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

New Orleans - Day 5

Today was probably THE longest day of our trip yet. The fatigue your students (and my adult leaders) really sets in hard on Thursdays. Sure, Friday will bring with it that little extra boost of adrenalin, but Thursday can be TOUGH!

Relatively smooth day with no injuries (at least none worth mentioning). Roger's team got to take the Chalmette Ferry in our church van and pulling the Metairie Baptist Church trailer.

A highlight for us today, though was being able to finish up laying some VCT (tile) for MBC. Their church is always so gracious to allow us to spend 7 long days in their building. Their pastor, Dr. Thomas Strong, told me today that it is how their church has chosen to support what God has called us to do in their community. I so appreciate our friendship and partnership with our sister church, Metairie Baptist.

Tomorrow is our last day on the job. For our seniors, this will likely be good-bye for them to the students they've grown close to in the elementary schools. Wait - I suppose they can come back as adult leaders at some point!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

New Orleans - Day 5

As time has allowed on this trip, I have scouted different sites to prepare for our KidzDays in the Parish camp (like KidzDays in the Glade at home) that we will do this summer in St. Bernard Parish. Today, that work allowed me to cross paths with a new friend: Mike.

Mike works for the Recreation Department in St. Bernard, and I found out a lot about him in a short amount of time. He is a single parent of five children. He loves St. Bernard Parish. And he is still not back in his home more than five years after the storm. In fact, his home has been in its current state for the past two years. After a site visit to his house, I believe that we are going to be able to help Mike when we come back in July. It was such a joy to be able to pray with him (along with Cydney Greenwood and Bryant Bural).

We spent just a few short minutes popping into this guy's life, but I'm hoping the impact we can have on him will be longer lasting. I'm hoping that we will be able to finish up some work on his home and help get him back in there. I'm hoping that we will model the love of Christ as we minister to Mike in His Name. I'm hoping that God will be made more known and gain further renown as a result of our work on Mike's home. I'm hoping that we make a Kingdom-sized impact in Mike's life and that God lines up plenty more "Mike's" with whom we can share His love.

For those of you counting down the time till your little angels come back home...we've made it past the hump day. Your students have two full days of work left before heading back to middle TN this Saturday. See you soon!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Orleans - Day 4

Kelley and I have a little routine with Carver...once he gets in bed - that becomes our time to do all the little things we need to get done but can't while he is awake. This typically means she gets to craft and I get to do techy stuff. Well - that's what happens on these trips. Once all the students get in bed - that's when we can get to all the little things we need to get writing these posts. And make no mistake - getting these guys to bed is just as difficult as getting Little C to lie down!

Our day didn't really end up like we had planned for it to. We had a little issue with one of our bus tires (being repaired tomorrow). Some of our students had some unexpected issues back home (you've probably seen these on our prayer chain). And we had a few more injuries today: Josh Mathis got a bee sting while chasing down a runaway basketball. Devon got a little nosebleed....most likely from ingesting a little too much drywall dust while sanding. And Bryan Agee picked a fight with a chain link fence during a game of ultimate frisbee...Fence: 1, Bryan: 0.

Mix all this up with a little teenage drama and we've had a pretty eventful day. BUT - here are some other happenings. The bus is going to be repaired by a mobile service that will come to us to do the work! AND it's a rental - no charge to us. Jordan Russ got some pretty devastating news today from back home, but it gave me a chance to see what an amazingly mature young lady she is. I got to watch Alicia Kurth drop everything to go comfort a friend in need of some extra TLC. And not even knowing that I was going to purchase a new Cafe Du Monde coffee mug on this trip - Frederick Ross gave me one and thanked me for taking him on this trip.

We got to play with some cool students at our elementary schools. We got to do some work on a playground in a part of New Orleans that we had not worked in before. I got to meet a mission team from Texas who prayed for me and our group before we parted ways. I got to pray with some students going through some rough times at home or with their friends.

Yeah - this day didn't end up at all like we had planned. It was much better....filled with more opportunities to minister and watch ministry happen through your students.

It was a good day.

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Orleans - Day 3

GREAT first day at the schools! We increased our teams by one student for every school team and it has proven to be very helpful. Tonight at share time we heard great reports from all five of these teams.

At Chalmette we've got two new programs in the pilot stage - art and music. Teachers have been asking us to implement something in these areas for a while now. Day one showed us that this concept has a lot of promise. It's a completely different setting than the recreation we do (since it's in the classroom), and gives us a different type of interaction with students and teachers. After seeing it in action the first day, I think we have something we can work toward to make this a regular element of our work with the schools.

Our construction teams were busy to day as well - they were able to get in an entire workday today and made some huge strides. Today is when you typically get a pretty good idea about who is a worker, who is a leader, who is a follower, and who seems to be here just to consume some of the New Orleans air. Ummmm.....I'll just leave it at that. :-)

For parents reading this post - let me just say that I (and all my adult leaders) LOVE your students! We love the lazy ones and the hard working ones. We love the troublemakers and the peacemakers. We love the doubters and the seekers. I covet the time I get to spend with your students on these week long trips because I get to know them in a way that "normal" church life does not permit.

And as a parent, I don't take lightly what it means for you to trust us with them for so long and so far away from home. Thank you for placing them in our care and letting us do life with them in this intense and exhausting environment. It really helps us get a better look at who they are, and let me tell you - I see something special.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

New Orleans - Day 2

What a great day we had today in worship with our friends and family
at FABC. We've worked so much with these guys and ladies that they
feel like family. It's very special for us to be able to worship with far the major highlight of our Sunday.

Today our work crews started their first jobs while our school teams
got in one more day of training on new games. Tomorrow will be the
first full work and school day.

We also got to see Thomas Strong today...Tommy and Shirleys son. We
are so grateful for his ministry here at Metairie Baptist Church and
for the wonderful hospitality of their congregation.

Just a few minor injuries today:
Evan Cox was using a staple gun and put a staple through his glove.
Unfortunately his hand was in it at the time. He's fine...we assured
him that was not a 'first' on our NOLA trips.

Casey Webb took a tennis ball to the eyeball. That wouldn't be so bad
except it was thrown by former NAIA World Series pitcher Robert Post.
He's okay, though...just had to sit down for a few minutes.

Not too bad at all...really looking forward to watching this group develop.

Sent from my iPhone#

Saturday, March 12, 2011

New Orleans - Day 1

I felt great this morning when we rolled out of G'ville at 7:15 AM. This is the largest group we have taken to New Orleans, and by far the earliest we have ever pulled away from the church. Unfortunately, we ran into a few hiccups along the way today. Between some minor mechanical issues with one of our buses (I now know what DEF is!) and the worst traffic we have ever experienced in New Orleans (including the time just after the storm) - we didn't get to the church until about 9:00 PM.

We've just finished all of our team assignments (draft style), room assignments, and have gotten lunches ready to go for tomorrow. With the time change, wake-up time is about 3 and a half hours from now.

After 12 hours of driving, multiple problems along the way, and wound-up students I'm battling to settle down (they are as keyed up and wide-eyed as I am right now) - I still feel GREAT! I've watched God's provision in even some of the smallest things we've tackled today. We'll have extra rest time tomorrow to compensate for the rough schedule today.

Don't forget you can worship with us live tomorrow...ehhhhh - today - by logging on to We will be attending the 7:30 AM service.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

FAMILY PLUS Update - March 10

We've spent this week getting our group ready to go to New Orleans. Last night Dave Shelley stopped by to lead our students in some new games we'll be using in the schools in St. Bernard Parish next week. We were able to get a refresher course on some old games and put some new ones in our game bag.

This coming Sunday most of our high school students will be attending church at Franklin Avenue Baptist in New Orleans. You can worship with us live on Sunday by logging on to We will be attending the 7:30 AM service. It should be interesting as we will have driven all day on Saturday and the time changes on Sunday morning...I'm getting sleepy just thinking about it!

For students attending The Glade Church on Sunday morning, Scott Weeks will be leading that group in the District at the regular time.

My challenge for you this week would be to find ways to ask your students what they plan to GIVE to the people of New Orleans while we are serving down there. I would also ask them what they hope God might SHOW them while they are serving in His Name.

On a personal note, I would ask you to remember Tommy and Shirley Strong in prayer. This is the first trip in 8 years or so that they have not accompanied me on a mission trip to prepare our food. Tommy has been dealing with some health issues and is physically unable to make this trip. His heart and spirit, however, are already on the bus heading to New Orleans. Pray for his healing and that God would restore his body.

Please let me know if there is something I can pray about for you or your family.

Monday, March 7, 2011

High School New Orleans Missions

This is the final week of prep before heading down to New Orleans for our high school mission trip. We've got 106 people heading down to serve in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard Parishes. Please be praying for our students and leaders as we continue to minister to our dear friends still dealing with Katrina - six years after the storm.