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Recent data tells us that most of today's youth culture doesn't have anyone they would consider to be a "living hero." How tragic. So this Source, "A Call For Some New Heroes," attempts to call the hero out of some of your students.
It also reminds them that most true heroes have to "make their own mantle" rather than hang around to inherit someone else's. Deceased Christopher Reeves (former Superman) who lived his final years in a wheelchair, said it well: "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles." So in case no one has told you recently, thanks for staying in the youth ministry trenches and being a TRUE HERO.
Determined to pay the price for my own mantle,
You'll love this Source, "Awkward Worship"! In this message I'm taking a run with my gang to up the ante on worship and remove some of the misconceptions of what worship is and is not.
We all know that worship can be awkward at times, especially if you're not used to it. So this message is a simple reminder that WORSHIP is just LOVE EXPRESSED. Like every person who has ever loved someone else knows: If you really love someone, you will somehow show it. With a simple, thought provoking drama and some key Scriptures, this Source will help turn "Awkward Worship" into a passionate lifestyle that glorifies God.
As an "added bonus," I've included the outlines for the other three messages we did in a 4-part series we called AWKWARD: "Awkward Silence," "Awkward Question," and "Awkward Book."
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Anything you do in life HALFWAY always becomes boring, including your Christianity. Isn't that so true? There's a motto that hangs in our home that has really become a mantra for me. It says, "Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intentions of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways to heaven, body thoroughly used up, and happily shouting, 'WHAT A RIDE, JESUS! WHAT A RIDE!'"
In this month's Source, "Boring!" I'm developing a mantra with my students for impacting our world. It can be summed up in three words: VISION + ENDURANCE = CONQUEST. With some help from the life of Esther and an incredible true story about Notre Dame, it's my prayer that our students are ignited with fresh passion to go make a difference in their sphere of influence.
Go cut down your nets,
You are going to love this Source! It's entitled "Changing Seasons Successfully." After four decades of youth ministry I truly know the only thing that doesn't change in the life of a teenager is change itself!
Whether it's ending an athletic season, moving from junior high to high school, graduating high school and starting college, switching from semester to semester or from being in a relationship to the ending of a relationship, a key lifelong gift you can give your youth is to train them how to move from one season to another while remaining solidly planted in their faith.
In this Source I'm joined by Darren Hileman, as we tag team on seven principles of how to spiritually survive during seasons of change. It is a dynamic high impact night that you are going to want to use with your own youth soon!
Your constant coach thru change,
In this Super Session you will enjoy Reggie Dabbs, a motivational speaker that has spoken at high schools all over the world. In his very engaging style, Reggie reminds us of the verse in Deuteronomy 30:19, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life..."
Reggie looks at the story of Job and we are reminded, that we are given a choice when the Enemy sends attacks. Through Reggie's own testimony, stories of his family and ministry he challenges all to..."Choose Life."
Welcome, my friends, to a powerful topic for this Youth Leader's Coach, "Creating True Character In Your Students And In Yourself." So often we hear character preached at us as being the "big deal" in our lives and ministries, but not very often are we told how to practically help our students increase in their own character and even more importantly how to grow personally in character. So grab a cup of coffee and let me hit on this for you with 10 simple yet profoundly ignored principles in growing and teaching true character.
There are a lot of different biblical forms of prayer (i.e. conversational prayer, praying back the Scriptures, personal confession, etc.). Yet, what I'm calling "DANGEROUS PRAYER" is one of the most important but forgotten weapons in our prayer arsenal. James 5:16 tells us, "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man does much good." Though most Christians "know" that verse, I often wonder how many truly "believe" it...and if they "believe" it, how much they are truly "practicing" it in their lives. Intuitively we all know prayer can only do "much good" to the extent it is "much practiced." And, our practice will always and forever be a choice we will have to continually choose to make.
We far too often shorten the power of prayer. We think that prayer is something that we can only do when we want something from God or when we’re in a tough or tight situation. The goal for this message is to "up to the bar" in our prayer lives. Journey with me as we look at our most dangerous and faithful weapon.
Experiencing "Soul Pains,"
It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and instead of working our schedules; our schedules begin to work us. Between family, work, problems with money and problems with colleagues, it seems so easy to forget what we are fighting for. Dreams seem to be a dime a dozen these days, but a dream that is truly fought for, a dream that is made into a reality, is a rare breed.
This message is a parallel between our lives and the dream cycle we see modeled by the ultimate biblical example of a dreamer, Joseph. Listen in on a night of fun and a lot of laughter as we at Oxygen, "Dare To Dream."
Still fighting for my dreams,
All of us come to crossroads in our lives where we face into the question, "What is God's will for me?" We begin the search to find the difference between what's "good" and what God's will is. However, in those moments, we often find ourselves complicating what God has for us. We think too much and pray too little, or we look to the advice of our friends more than God.
In this Source, "De-Mystifying God's Will For Your Life," we show students that the will of God doesn't need to be complicated. With some amusing skits, three "guidance keys," and a few simple principles that we like to call the "harbor lights," we help to remove some of the mysticism of discovering God's will. This Source is a way to help your students choose not to just accept every "good" opportunity that is placed in front of them, but instead, step into God's best for them!
I wish someone would have taught me much earlier in my walk with Christ that "desert" experiences do not necessarily mean you have done anything wrong, but are often times part of God's plan for spiritual growth.
There are Godly purposes and responses to our desert times and in this Youth Leader's Coach we'll discover them. For often times, the Lord speaks the loudest while in the desert. And, as long as we learn to listen with a different set of ears, the experience and growth can be profound.
So grab a cup of coffee and let's dive in...together!
This Source, "Dear Jeanne...," is a little different than some of our other nights. We structured this night to have a closer, more intimate feel. Instead of fill-in notes, I wrote six monologues based on some of the real concerns that a large group of students struggle with.
Even though the messages and events can be incredible, often when students show up at a youth service, they can feel like no one's talking about the stuff that's going on "inside their head." So for "Dear Jeanne...," I let the monologues express honest, and often hidden, thoughts and mind games that our students think.
You'll feel the distinction almost immediately. In a room of several hundred, I felt as though I was able to have a heart-to-heart talk with many of them. This night will quickly become a very memorable one.
We've included everything you need to make this night work for you. Change it, adapt it, and have a memorable night with your gang!
Lovingly your biggest fan,
As leaders, it’s easy to make divine guidance too complicated. But I don't think it has to be. In fact, I believe the supernatural will of God, is actually more super natural. Yet, it's so easy to over-think it or wait for the heavens to open and yell down to us and tell us what we are meant to do.
In this month's Youth Leader's Coach, "Divine Guidance In A Complicated World," I'm sharing with you three GUIDANCE KEYS to help us navigate the Lord's leadership both in our PERSONAL lives and in our MINISTRIES.
Have you ever caught yourself asking, "Lord, why didn't you make me better at...?" or "Jesus, why didn't you make me more like...?" It seems like we forever want to be someone else and often sense that we just don't measure up. Trying to conquer our self-esteem issues is a constant battle not only in our own lives, but in the lives of our students as well. Given that the God of the universe holds us in such high esteem that He sent His Son to die for us, you wouldn't think the battle within would be so difficult and costly. But, we know that it is!
The value we place upon ourselves is, perhaps, the single most important or strategic factor in our whole future. Measuring our worth by our appearance, intellect or abilities can be devastating. So, in this Source, "Extreme Makeover: Inside Edition," we challenge students to realize that their external frame is not nearly as important as what lies within. The inside really is the big deal!
What a privilege we have to help an aching youth culture know that they matter and the best is yet to come!
The hit series "FlashForward" poses the questions, "If you knew what your future held, what would you do? Even if you could only get a glimpse of it, would you look forward to what was coming...or would you try to stop it?"
The old cliché, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know Who holds the future" is only partially accurate. Yes, without a doubt, the Lord holds the future, but the choices found in our daily routines play a significant role in determining what our future will look like as well. Simple choices determine whether our future is bright or whether it will find us waking up one day lying in a bed we never thought we would make for ourselves.
In this Source, "FlashForward," we take a look at "redeeming our time" (Ephesians 5:16) and God's pattern for "matchmaking" with Adam and Eve. Then add simply produced promotional pieces, videos, and drama to create an amazing outreach night that is easy for your students to invite their friends to. Prayerfully, may you find it as rewarding and impacting as we did.
Choosing my future,
I LOVE HISTORY! Recently I came across some intriguing information about the STAGECOACH ERA in the 1800's. An article from The Omaha Herald in 1877 sums up the expectations of 3rd class stagecoach ticket holders in this quote, "Never imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic. Expect annoyance, discomfort, and some hardships." Can you IMAGINE if an airline in today's times had that as a ticket description?
In this month's Source, “Get Your 3rd Class Tickets Here,” you’ll hear me challenge our Atlanta Leadership College students about the importance of preserving through life's trials. You’ll find it’s both MOTIVATIONAL and CHALLENGING. I believe this is a great Source for not just your students, but your leadership team as well.
How do you hold onto spiritual mileage after a big event? I mean, it's one thing to pray and think you've made spiritual progress after a good service or a powerful retreat. But how do you hold onto that progress…and keep growing? This Source, is about the battling mind games that we all often face after we've made some substantial spiritual gains in our lives. In these times, our thoughts are just something we feel like we can never get away from, never ESCAPE. Sometimes it feels like the landlord of our minds really is a JERK.
Using a memorable illustration, I talk about how it feels to have taunting thoughts knocking on the walls of our minds all the time. I also share key Scriptures we can use to live in peace in the homes of our minds after we've invited the NEW landlord, Jesus Christ, to live there daily.
We're wired to feel...we like it...in fact, we love it! I would go so far as to say that we have an "addiction" problem. We want to "feel" when it comes to our music, media, friendships, etc. Unfortunately, with it typically comes the desire to abandon it or them once we no longer "feel" the same way.
If we're not careful, we can have that same faulty mentality when it comes to the Lord. Most of us can tell you an exact time and place where we felt God the most, maybe on a retreat or during a worship service. But, we can also tell you that the "feeling" wore off a few days later and, if we're honest, how we secretly longed to have it back.
I guess I wish some of my leaders would have been more forthright regarding how to handle "non-feeling" times. I think that's why I am so impassioned about walking through them with my students. In this Source, "God, I Can't Feel You Anymore!," we navigate through causes and solutions for those times. An eye-opening Whitney Houston interview, a heart-wrenching Holocaust story, an honest excerpt from, Uncensored: Finding God When He Feels Far Away, and Jesus' own story, help students understand that when they feel God the least, they may be pleasing Him the most.
"Are you serious? Again...I messed up again? Why bother trying? I can't do this!" Those are just a few of the thoughts secretly going through some of our students' heads two weeks after an unforgettable retreat, amazing camp or life-changing youth service. Meanwhile, we're secretly thinking, "I know the decisions they made there were real, so why has our new found spiritual tenor flat-lined? Who poured water on their fire?" These thoughts, left unaddressed, leave our students feeling like failures...and us too!
What happened? Well, chances are during that two week period they came face-to-face with the fact they are still humans. In other words, they aren't quite as perfect as they thought they could be or should be. This Source is not meant to give students an excuse to sin, but to give them hope. To help them understand that God's love is so much bigger than the million times they've messed up. If done well, by the end of the night we will have disarmed the Enemy's attempt to convince students that God is not interested in hearing from them because they've wiped out too many times for Him to take them seriously.
Through an awesome monologue, fun stories and outside of the box creative communication, students will come to realize that our Master has always known about our weaknesses...and has created ways to make good use of them for His glory if we will simply refuse to give up!
Undeserving of God's unmerited love, but grateful for it,
Life is full of them. You know, those small issues people fight over, kids argue with parents about, or simply walk away from God on. Subjects like secular music, movies, television, books, friendships, and money are some of the delicate issues that our students wrestle with. The truth is, it is our role as youth pastors to help them figure out where they stand on these issues. How do we help our students navigate through these "gray" matters?
In this month's Youth Leader's Coach, "Helping Your Kids Live Black and White In A Gray World," I'm sharing with you seven simple questions to help your students as they wrestle with their convictions. I promise this will be an incredible resource for you!
Living "out of the gray,"
Why is the TV series Heroes such a smash hit? Everyone wants to be one...a hero that is. Don't you? In this Source, we speak to that desire. Through skits, stories and the Bible, we laugh, cry and reveal what it takes to be God's kind of hero, not a seasonal hit but an eternal one.
The public and private life of Esther gives us great insight on both the responsibility and risk that come with being God's kind of hero. As you know, while we all want to be a hero in front of the lights, flash and camera, most true heroic moments come when few, if any, are present. Esther was no exception. Her struggles and ultimate victory gives us hope that we too can come out on top.
Just in case no one has shown up in your life to express appreciation lately, allow me to thank you for paying all the costly prices to be a hero in the lives of our students. May you continue to have the vision, endurance and desire to love our kids authentically and run the race well.
Enjoying the journey with you,