How to talk to your kids about their camp experience

How to talk to your kids about their camp experience

Camp season is here and we are kicking things off this Thursday with Kid’s Camp! Whether your student is in 3rd, 8th or 12th grade, great conversations after camp can solidify the meaningful truths they experienced at our retreats. We want to help you have those conversations with your student when they return home from camp. 
 

If there are already lots of churches, why plant new ones?

his is the right kind of question. It assumes we are asking some other pivotal questions:

What is the most strategic use of resources to help people connect with God? 

What should we be doing to partner with God to reach our city?

These are great questions because it means that we are poised to take our time, our lives, our money and our passions and turn them towards God’s work in the world.

So, why should we plant new churches?

We should plant new churches for a few key reasons, I will paraphrase them from a couple articles by Tim Keller Why Plant Churches and Church Planting is What We Do.

Beautiful Design #3

You feel it every morning you wake up and every night when you go down to sleep. You watch it on the news and see it in movies and television. In every conversation, relationship, thought and desire. 

It’s sin. Such a typical Sunday school answer, but consider the real results of sin in everyday life: all types of pain, stress, anxiety, aggression, strife, selfishness, dishonesty, passivity, anger, stealing, just to name a few. We feel the alienation from God, nature and each other in all sorts of ways we can hardly wrap our minds around. James 4:1-4 says, 

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Our beautiful design as men and women made in the image of God has also been tarnished. If you pay attention to current issues at all, you have probably noticed the changing nature of conversations on manhood, womanhood, marriage and the like. For some of you, it’s scary. For others, it is a daily battle of identity and self-worth. 

Clearly, sin affects all aspects of manhood and womanhood, but also in specific ways. Women are more inclined towards endless comparison (shape, size, tan, clothes, success, etc.) and perfectionism (the perfect selfie, job, relationship, measuring up to an impossible expectation set up by who knows!). Men, on the other hand, are prone to selfish passivity and selfish aggression. Just read statistics about pornography, fatherlessness, and incarcerations. It is truly a wilderness we live in. 

Is there any way to be free from these temptations, struggles, pitfalls and failures as man and woman? Or are we doomed to be tossed about by the winds and waves of whatever our culture defines as good, or pleasurable or desirable in a man or woman?

Perhaps a better question to ask is one that takes us back to the Garden of Eden where humanity fell out of love with its Creator God. And that is, do you trust God? Can you trust His design, purpose and love for you?

If we were honest, I think we would say “no.” Our actions, thoughts, values and beliefs make the case. We need overwhelming proof of this love, this beautiful design and destiny with God, right? Then be glad, Friend, for Romans 5 says, 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What kind of reaction does that stir up in you? Knowing you can’t save yourself is depressing, but the reality of God’s love is one of self-sacrifice and victory for you and me. There is power and freedom in the name of Jesus for men and women alike. 

Reflect:

  • What are some common struggles both men and women of all ages experience? What are some different types of struggles they each face?
  • How does the truth of God’s love and salvation in Romans 5-6 change your perspective on your own worth and value as a man or woman? 
  • What might be your next step in engaging a healthy, biblical perspective on manhood and womenhood? How can we honor the unique image God has placed on each?
  • Parents: What might be some next steps in encouraging your student’s value and worth as a young man or woman? How can you encourage their passions, gifts and beauty beyond what culture tries to value and encourage them in?

Keep an eye out for many more posts, interesting articles and helpful tips as we journey together through Beautiful Design. 

 

Nick Binsacca - Director of Youth Ministry

LIVING THE SUMMER SENT

A Summer Reading list

Truth be told, I believe that there are a few words in the English language that we have come to fear (cue Jaws music here).  One such word in the church world is…wait for it…evangelism.  

Ok, honestly, did you roll your eyes when you read that word?  Why is it that the idea of sharing our faith with those we do life with—family, friends co-workers, neighbors—is so extremely difficult?  I think there are many reasons:

 
  • We may not be an outgoing person.
  • Our culture lives in the shallows of relationship…going deep is scary, and spiritual things are deep.
  • The world believes many ways lead to heaven or heaven doesn’t exist.

Whatever the reason, I acknowledge the uneasiness that accompanies us when we are living on mission—living sent and being aware of the opportunities to engage others with the Gospel.   But, it is still something God commands us to do.  The cool thing is, he asks us to do it within the boundaries of relationship!  We don’t share alone, we share together (more on this in another blog post).  And we live in true relationship with those with whom we are sharing…we don’t need to do spiritual cold calls!

Instead of jumping right in to, “Heaven or hell, which will it be?” What if we got to know people?  Built genuine relationships and as we did, ask normal questions about how they view life, the world, and even spiritual things?  What if that led to opportunities for them to ask us or for us to share what we believe about spiritual things?  It is in this moment that the Holy Spirit does his work to draw others into true, deep, meaningful and life-changing relationship with the Father!

If you are interested, we have compiled a summer reading list that will help you dive into learning how to live “sent” and share your faith with others through genuine relationship.

 

As you read, learn and begin to put some of the principles discussed in these books to practice. Share with us what God is doing, the opportunities he gives you, and even the victories (small or big) so we can celebrate with you!

What if God is moving Refugees?

What if God is moving Refugees?

It’s not secret that the refugee crisis is a huge topic in our world. And I’m not here to try to swing anyone one way or another. But its hard to deny the fact that God is moving people toward the gospel around the world, and I’ve come to believe that this is at least part of the purpose He has to be for my travels around the Middle East and Europe.