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    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Christmas Ideas for Youth Ministry Pt. 2

    Previously, in my Christmas Ideas for Youth Ministry post, I shared the things God was speaking to me about this season and how in turn I was going to share it with my Middle Schoolers.

    We put together a funny story line to promote and brand the evening. Video one is on the post link above, as well as here:

    During Christmas, we can all be very self-serving or self-seeking, even myself. I remember when I was a senior in HIGH SCHOOL at the age of 18 and I made Christmas all about myself.

    I had gone out and purchased DVD's for my whole family. They had some great DVD choices on their lists, so I bought all of them DVD's that year. As I sat there contemplating wrapping them, a great idea struck me: I haven't seen these movies, and here they are, I can watch them all without renting them! Afterall, I just bought all of them!

    So, I did what camae to my mind: watch the DVD's, THEN wrap them.

    Christmas was akward when everyone opened up their DVD's and noticed that the security tape was gone as well as the plastic wrap that so lovingly covers the DVD cases so the puchaser (or reciever of the gift) can know beyond a doubt it's brand new.

    The jig was up. I tried to come up with a good lie like: "That plastic wrap and the security tape is just a pain, so I took the liberty of taking them off for you" but I had no such ability to lie. I confessed my sin and have been reminded of it often...

    That story of my life is how in a lot of ways each of us approaches Christmas. We take the power out of it and turn the lights off to our understanding.

    This year's theme is: "Turn on the Lights. Save Christmas, Save the World". Next week, I will share my talk here on the blog. For now, enjoy episode 2 of "Save Christmas, Save the World"!

    Wednesday, December 9, 2009

    Old Skool Jesus #7 & #8

    Old Skool Jesus week 7- Why Should I Worship Jesus

    We as humans are created to worship. It is in our very nature to worship something or someone. I shared with the Middle Schoolers that whether they like it or not, they are worshippers. I shared a quick little illustration where I asked them to think about countries where they worship idols made of wood, gold or whatever. I asked them, "If you walked into their world and saw them bowing down to a wood idol that had three weirdly carved faces, what would you think?" Most said they'd think it was funny, and weird that these people were worshipping a piece of wood. They said they'd feel a bit weirded out and want to laugh.

    I then asked them another question: "What would those people think, if they came to America and decided to go to a Pittsburgh Steelers game?"

    They instantly and collectively said: "AHH, they'd think we were worshipping the Steelers!"

    I was overjoyed at how they instantly connected the two. I shared with them that we worship or "give glory to" many things. We shout out praises to teams, we spend money on clothes, we love movies and such. One sign I recently read from Wendy's said: "Love the egg, Love the bicuit, worship the bacon". Because even Wendy's gets that we must worship something.

    Of all the things in life we could worhsip or give glory to, what makes Jesus worthy of our praise? Why should we worship Jesus?

    The answer is very lengthy, but also very short. Jesus is, was and will be God! Jesus came to this earth as a King but lived the life of a poor traveling preacher and for the first 30 years of hus life had the hands of a blue collared worker, even though he was worthy of never having to work a day in his life!

    We sacrifice so much of ourselves to things that aren't worth our worship! We bow down to sports teams, we bow down to money, we honro, scream out loud for video games, movie stars, we give over to sex, drugs and fame as things that will be worshipped by us.

    The truth is, they will all leave us dead and dry in the end. Jesus is the only thing in this world that will never leave us. Anything and anyone else will disaapoint us, because we'll always want more things and we'll always want a better friend, or something just more than what we have. With Jesus, He is enough, He is all we need! That's why we should worship Jesus!

    I showed a silly video from Bluefishtv about a "worship guy" who was "worshipping God" but in reality he was worshipping Chicks!

    Old Skool Jesus week 8- Jesus---The Right Way

    Don't all roads lead to God in the end anyways? I'm in church, but people say god is god and they all lead to the same place. What's the difference about Jesus? Some sections of the "New Skool" of Jesus followers in todays culture would tend to say that universilism is a good avenue, however the Old Skool Jesus clearly says that he is the ONLY way to Heaven. John 14:6 says: "Jesus answered 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

    Jesus made no bones about salvation. he said he is THE way, THE truth and THE life. It's only through Him! Other religions lead up mountains to be sure, but they are all different mountains, not the same! Dan Kimball in his book They Like Jesus But Not the Church on pages 180-181 has a great illustration of these two modes of thinking.

    Some religions lead to you being the god of your own planet (Morman), others say that only a certain number of people if they are just good enough will reach the Father, but its all in how you live (Jehovah's Witness), still others say there are many gods and goddesses and obeying them and doing good to them will make them happy enough to reincarnate you (Eastern religions). All are different means to completely different ends.

    Jesus is the Right way because 1. He claims to be the ONLY way; 2. He made a way FOR us and it isn't contigent upon us.

    All religions besides Christianity are about what YOU DO for the gods. Christianity is about what GOD DOES for you. He made the way, because we are not good enough to make our own. God loves us enough to make a way.

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    Christmas Ideas for Youth Ministry

    Christmas always seems like a tough time of year to get lessons and stuff off the ground. In a sense it's easy because you know the topics, you know the stories, but it consistently comes to the point that you feel like you say the same thing over and over again.

    We as youth pastors also have a tough time as to make this timeless truth timely and relevant to the lives of our students.

    I've been developing some cool things that I hope will help you along your journey this Holiday Season. I took a break from Old Skool Jesus posts (which will resume tomorrow, with a double portion!) so that I could share this stuff with you.

    As I sat down to think about this season, I asked myself what do these Middle Schoolers need to hear about the Christmas message? Some things came to mind: Jesus is "the reason for the season" type stuff, Drop materialism, seek God this Christmas...all of those ideas came. however one thought was pervasive: Christmas and the reality thereof is shrouded in darkness. The true heart of Christmas has been darkened by the evil one...we must turn on the light to our teens understanding about Christmas.

    It isn't just about telling nice pretty stories about Jesus and Mary or the Wise men and the Shepherds, it about Turning the Lights on to what Christmas foreshadowed, what it means to the heart of humanity...not what it means to the heart of consumerism.

    So, I thought about Rudolph and how when he turned on the Lights, he saved Christmas...why can't he do it again?

    Dale Harris (one of my Middle School Leaders), myself and a group of teens put together a video, which will foreshadow this whole theme for our BIG Christmas party on December 23, 2009. Below is episode 1...I will leak more as time goes on. This is my take on what God has for teens this year: Turn on the Lights ("Save Christmas, Save the World")