Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tonight at Contagious

Tonight was great.  We had a great time during Hang Time playing ping pong, volleyball, farkle and just chillin on the balcony.

I kicked youth group off with some good hawaiian music then we play a power play game on the big screen with some thumpin rap music in the background.   After that we dove into the lesson.  We are still in our series about stress.  Abraham in Genesis 22 was in a very stressful situation as God asked him to sacrifice Isaac.   Many times in life we want to have our test to be over immediately and everything smoothed out.  We don't want the trial we want instant gratification. This instant gratification is actually failing the test of faith.   I heard a lot of good discussion going on in their "family" groups tonight.

Abraham went through this not to strengthen his faith.  Abraham went through this to test his faith.   Read Genesis 22 and think about what you would do and how you would react if you were in Abraham's sandals.

Next week we hit the beach for Contagious on the beach.  We will have youth group on the beach every Sunday night (except Father's Day) until October.  We love the beach!  Parents, we will kick off the Parent Pod next Sunday night.  


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday Afternoon Thoughts on Ministry

Ministry is not something only the "paid" professionals do.  Ministers aren't just the dudes that get up and preach on Sunday morning.  Every believer is a minister, or at least should be.

Every part needs to do function as God has placed the parts in order for a church to be effective in ministry. 

Ministry is serving Christ and his church.  To say you don't have time to minister is to say you don't have time to serve the bride of Christ.  Ministry shouldn't be confused with mission.  If I mow my neighbor's lawn I'm doing mission.   (unless he is a member of the church, then that would be ministry)  If I love my church (that's the people, not the building) I should want to serve my church.

To be a balanced, spiritually healthy, believer a follower of Christ must be actively involved in ministry in their local church.  I'm spiritually unhealthy if I'm not giving of my time, talents, personality, resources.  How much time in ministry is enough time in ministry?  Great question!  You tell me.  Some of the busiest people I know in their business, work and families are some of the ones who are most involved in ministry also.

Great joy is found in serving where God has SHAPED you to serve.  Your church is in poor shape when every part isn't functioning where God has placed him/her.

Where do you serve in your church?  Is it a fit?  Does is fit your spiritual gift(s), your personality, your experiences?  Are you passionate about the ministry you are involved in?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Investing in Adult Leaders

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tonight at Contagious

Tonight was "game night" we extended Hang Time and extra 35 minutes.  Had lots of good food and fun together.  Students were out in the front "lawn" playing bocci ball and corn hole.
Inside we had games of farkle and ping pong and a couple of dudes up on the balcony playing guitars together.

Since we were breaking from the normal routine we did not have family (small) groups.  We just gathered together in a bunch and I talked for about 20 minutes about why our youth group exists on the face of planet earth.  Below is the simple outline:

It is easy to get distracted from the purpose.

1.  Remember our Purpose
Our purpose:  Reaching Students to Discover Life in Christ.

16Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 18:16-20

2.  Commit to our Purpose
Students are committed to many things in life, school, athletics, jobs, friends, relationships. Tonight I asked them to be committed to our purpose, to share their faith with their friends.  "How committed are you?"

3.  It's Not About You

We need to have the "It's not about me" attitude in life when it comes to living out our purpose.  

"Listen, I hate to pop your little bubble but life is not about you.  Some of us are spoiled rotten brats, right?  You know the little kid that lives in your neighborhood that gets everything he or she wants.  The kid that throws the fit in the store for the toy and the parents cave in because the parents think, “Life is all about my little one and I just want him or her to be happy.”  If you are a Christian, someone that has put their faith in Jesus Christ, life is not about you.  You don’t get your way."

20I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:20

Next week we pick up on our series about dealing with stress again.

Our Kitchen Queens gave me some stats from tonight.  With half the youth group gone and half the YM team gone for the holiday weekend we still consumed:

2 large bags of Wavy chips

1 large bag of BBQ chips

3 bags of tortilla chips

2 tubs of french onion dip

2 gallons of lemonade

1 gallon of water

1 giant concession size can of nacho cheese

44 hot dogs

2.5 packages of cookies


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Habits

Ten things to do with your children every day.

Herb Owen shared this at our parenting seminar last month:

  1. Give your child regular responsibilities
  2. Hold your child accountable
  3. Provide unconditional love
  4. Have daily family devotions
  5. Share your life and reproduce what you are
  6. Earn your child's heart teach him to imitate your Godly lifestyle
  7. Determine that your child is under the protection of godly authority at all times
  8. Initiate two way conversation/communication
  9. Shepherd your child by building on the grid of responsibility (should have been at the seminar :) )
  10. Lead your child every day one more step in the journey of being totally dependent on you to becoming totally dependent on God
  • teach them to pray
  • teach them to go to God's word on their own
  • teach them to trust God and not self

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ain't Nothing Free

Oh?  Really?

If you are on church staff  or have time I would encourage you to check this out.  Totally free seminar that will be full of useful stuffs for your church and you don't have to leave the comfort of your office or home.  I'm attending this morning!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tonight at Contagious

Tonight was a much fun.  It's cool to see students hanging out together.  I saw students playing Apples to Apples up on the balcony, students and leaders playing farkle and ping pong.  We had lots of great leftover food from Rich and Lauren's wedding shower. (two former youth who are now adults and getting married very soon.  makes me feel really old.  both will be serving on the YM team which is super cool.)

Our lesson tonight was about dealing with stress that comes from circumstances that are beyond our control.    Abraham in Genesis 14 (lots of fun names in that chapter) goes up against incredible odds.  His little band of 318 men go against a 4 king army. . .and win!

Students today deal with a lot more stress than I did back in the good old days of spiked hair and Michael Jackson jackets.  Some stress is brought on by poor choices, some comes from family pressure, other stress comes from circumstances beyond their control.   This week as you think about the students in your life whether they are your children or members or your church's youth ministry stop and pray for the stress that they might be under.

Next week is Memorial Day weekend.  We are going to have lots of good junk food, a whole bunch of games and a look and a reminder of our group's purpose.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Flip

I'm pretty stoked!  I just opened a box from Student Life and the box contained Flip "31 verses every teenager should know" books.  I'll be giving each student going to camp a copy a month before we depart for camp.  Flip is the camp theme at Student Life this summer and so the daily devos and verses tie support the theme and will lay a foundation for us before we get to camp. 

Camp is a great place to take students out of their normal everyday routine, away from TV, friends, media, texting and place them in an environment that is saturated with worship.  We are going to use Flip to help us prepare our hearts and lives for camp.   It's sort of like packing for camp for the soul.  Student Life is an excellent camp and they hold them from the east coast to the west coast every summer.  

If your teen doesn't attend summer camp with your church youth group I would highly encourage you to plug him or her in.  If your church has students but don't do summer camp I would suggest you check into Student Life, they are affordable and the highest quality.  I trust Student Life with our students.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Parent of Teen Ministry Evaluation

Just finished up an evaluation of our parent of teen ministry.  I would love to see our parenting ministry to be one of our strongest ministries.  As a youth pastor I know the youth ministry would benefit greatly from a strong parenting ministry.  My prayer is that we are simply a compliment to a parent's toolbox of discipleship of their teen.  Parent ministry is part of youth ministry.  The trick is getting parents involved and building an effective parent ministry with parents ministering to parents.

Purpose:

To assist parents in the discipleship of their teens and to provide an avenue of fellowship and connections between parents.

Strengths:

  • Parent Pod during the summer months providing weekly fellowship and providing some resources for follow up to the youth’s lesson during the week at home.
  • Monthly newsletter with resources and event calendar
  • Weekly update e-mail
  • Occasional e-mail links to resources
  • Parent page on the youth web site with helpful resources and online event calendar
  • Annual parenting seminar
Weaknesses:

  • Not meeting regularly outside of the Parent Pod
  • Not much involvement/volunteering in the ministry.  Example - Helping with events, etc.
  • Not getting much feedback from parents on the resources, web page, newsletters, etc.
  • Not seeing many parents of teens bringing in other parents of teens 

Ideas:

  • Calendar a quarterly meeting for the Parent Pod for the rest of 2009
  • Find a Parent Pod coach, a parent to be the point person for the ministry
  • Build a team of event/activity parents from the Parent Pod
  • Create a survey for parents to find out what resources we provide are helpful and what they would like to see more of.
  • Include some resources and tips on reaching out to other parents in our communications with our student’s parents.
  • Get parents input on the topics/scripture for us to study at Contagious Youth
  • Connect parents with  other parents through a Connections group that does a study on parenting teens
  • Track which classes the parents have taken and encourage them to complete all the classes of NHCU
  • Pastors to attend some Parent Pods this summer and share some tips in involving their teens in discipleship; missions; ministry; worship; fellowship
  • Create  a parent facebook page where parents of teens can get together and share prayer requests and resources with each other

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Family Matters

This morning I got to preach in "big" church.  Below is my outline.  I'm guessing the podcast will be up later in the week.

Nags Head Church values families.  Why?

Family Matters
  • We Value Families at NH

Family is God’s Idea

Genesis 2:23-24 

 Family is all about commitment.  

We know that in God’s design children are a special gift from Him.

Psalm 127:3

Parent’s Responsibility

Exodus 12:24-28 

There are at least three parenting priorities we can glean from these verses:

Model – v. 24-25

 Luke 6:40

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. 

Define and Communicate – v. 26-27

When our children are small it is easy to communicate the Sunday school answers.  But What do you do parents when your middle schooler or teenager asks you,  “Dad, why do you believe the Bible is true?”  What answer do you give?

Are you able to define to your child what you believe and communicate your belief system to your child?

We get an example of how to define and communicate what we believe in Deut 6:6-9

Let me put these verses in the new Andy standard version:

Define and Communicate God’s Word to your kids.  Tell them often, over and over, repeat it because we all know it takes a while for something to sink into a kid’s head and then make it to his or her heart.  God’s Word should be part of who we are and we should talk about Him when we sit around the house, when we ride in the mini-van (captive audience), when we tuck them in at night and when we wake them up in the morning.   Hang it on the fridge, post it on the mirror.   Make God’s word the fabric of your home, the joists, studs and rafters of your family, build your family on God’s Word.

Obey – v. 28

More is caught than taught.  

Our Church’s Responsibility

The current Barna study indicates that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. One out of eight born again people (13%) made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old. Less than one out of every four born again Christians (23%) embraced Christ after their twenty-first birthday. 

Train and Equip  

Ephesians 4:11-13

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Assist Parents in Discipling their kids

Ephesians 6:4

4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Serve

Which Sunday morning ministry team are you serving on?


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tomorrow at NHC

Tomorrow's worship gatherings at NHC will be totally different than usual.   I'm stoked about tomorrow and we will be having a "first" at NHC.  

On top of that tomorrow is Mother's Day and my kids have a rockin momma.

I'll be bringing the message in big church, Family Matters, I'm looking forward to that and will post the outline here on the blog tomorrow night.

No Contagious Youth tomorrow night so the students can spend extra time with mommy on her day tomorrow.  Several of our YM team are moms so they need the day off.  It's good to do stuffs like that for your volunteers because they are super special and without a YM team you are "toast" because you can't effectively minister to the students.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Twins!

Happy 4 month birthday to the twins!

They are both doing great, packing on the pounds.  Both are reaching and grasping toys.  Both have great smiles and laugh and make cool baby noises.  These past 4 months have flown by!!
"Fred" is a happy little dude.

Looks like "Wilma" is happy and "Fred" is working on something

Love his smile!

Big brother is awesome.

I think I'm in trouble

"Fred" standing up doing his meercat impresson

Did I mention I'm in love with another girl besides my wife?

Please continue to pray for us as we work on raising the money with those who want to partner with us by investing in these babies' lives.  God has blessed us with two more wonderful children through the miracle of adoption.



Parents Modeling a Passionate Pursuit of Christ

I'm still chewing . . .
 Yesterday's Post

I was wondering this morning how many parents have even taken the time to stop and think about what their child's purpose?  I'll be honest I didn't think about this until this seminar.  I think about my children's future, I pray they come to know Christ and follow after him but never really gave much thought to their purpose.  

For years I have been observing other parents with their children.  I think it is safe to say that many think that their child's purpose is to make good grades, be the best on the athletic team, just be happy in life, be "successful",  but I have only observed a few who have the view that their child's purpose is to become more like Christ.  Some parents get so caught up in the wrong priorities that the passionate pursuit of our Savior gets placed on the back burner.

I hope my kids do their best in school, I hope they give it their all if they play a sport, but more importantly I pray my children become like Christ.

Where will they learn how to become more Christlike?  They should learn from me, I should be their model and I should be modeling Christ to them.

Luke 6:40

A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

Something to Chew On

A couple of weeks ago I attended a parenting seminar we had here at NHC, Principles for Parents, a seminar led by Herb Owen of Cherrydale Baptist Church .

This week I'm chewing on this thought from the seminar:
God's purpose for my children is that every day they should become a little more like Jesus Christ.  It's important to recognize that this purpose is not accomplished in a year, during childhood or even during a lifetime.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son . . .
Romans 8:29

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Middle School Ministry

Monday, May 4, 2009

Church in a Box

Because our church has many guests at church on Sundays it's interesting to hear some of their thoughts and impressions and questions.  Many of our guests are tourist on vacation and I have to give them props for going to church while on vacation.  Since there is such a variety we get a variety of impressions and questions.

"I thought this was a Southern Baptist church?" - we are but with a small "s and b"

"What time is your traditional service?"  - an assumption that because we are SBC we have two different styles of worship services.

"Multiple services divide the church" - actually it brings our church together as we do what it takes to accomplish our purpose

"Is the music always this loud?" - interesting, I didn't find it to be loud

"This doesn't look like a church." -  it's not the church it's just a building the church is the people

"What time is Sunday School?" - we don't do Sunday School we have small groups that meet throughout the week

"Why don't you sing hymns?" -   We do:  
hymn |him|nouna religious song or poem, typically of praise to God or a god a Hellenistichymn to Apollo.• formal song sung during Christian worship, typically by the whole congregation.• a song, text, or other composition praising or celebrating someoneor something a most unusual passage like a hymn to the great outdoors.verb[ trans. praise or celebrate (somethingJohnson's reply hymns education.[ intrans. rare sing hymns.
The point is this:  Too often we try to package church in such a way that it looks, sounds, smells a certain way and if it doesn't fit into our package then is must not be church or must not be right.  Church is something we can't box up, we can't package church.  God's plan is to use the church to build his kingdom.  The kingdom is made up of all different kinds of people.  Since there is a huge variety of people to reach that means there will be a huge variety of churches.  Our church reaches folks the church up the road can't reach and vice versa.  No matter the shape, size or style, church should be a place we plug in and serve (ministry) and share (missions).

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Volunteers are Great!

I have been off of my sabbatical for a week now.  It's nice to be back in the office and I'm looking forward to teaching about stress tomorrow night.  

While I was gone for over 60 something days the youth ministry at NHC kept trucking.  Our YM team of volunteers ministered to students fantastically.  Without them I'm not sure how well the sabbatical would have been or if it would have happened at all.  Turning partners in the church loose to do ministry is what it is all about.  I love watching folks discover their SHAPE and then dive in and serve their Savior and church.  It's a huge blessing and the YM team rocks!

Tonight I was blessed again by another volunteer, Kit, a member of our nursery team, dropped by our home with a chocolate pound cake.  The whole Lawrenson family is enjoying it (well the twins aren't because they have no teeth yet).  Kit is a blessing to me as she serves each and every Sunday in our nursery.  Her commitment to be there each week has made the difference in some tiny lives as they became comfortable being dropped off by mommy and daddy in the toddler room.  The nursery team at NHC rocks and they are a huge blessing to my family.

My Mission Trip Experience

I just returned last week from the island of Eleuthera.  On the island there is a Christian sports camp, Camp Bahamas.  Camp Bahamas is re...