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.