Playbook Unlimited // Search Results For: Spiritual Warfare
I was prepared for SPIRITUAL WARFARE when I entered ministry. But the unexpected punches emotionally came from the CRITICISM that became an almost "daily norm" for me especially from other Christian people. Criticism reminds me of the phrase "Death by 1,000 cuts," referencing slow slicing, a form of torture and capital punishment practiced in Imperial China. And as repeated small criticisms come, we find ourselves slowly dying on the inside.
In this month's Youth Leader's Coach, "Criticism: It's Not For The Weak," I'm navigating how to deal with criticism. Elbert Hubbard once saying, "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing and be nothing." Isn't that true? As a leader, criticism comes with the territory. So, listen in as I share some of the lessons I've learned through the years while navigating the "world of criticism."
When fiery prayer burns bright in the heart of the youth pastor, prayer will be alive in the student ministry as well. In this session, we will talk about the opportunity to establish spiritual vitality in students through corporate prayer meetings and practical ways to establish a culture of prayer.>
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.
While there are different forms of prayer (conversational prayer, praying back the Scriptures, personal confession, etc.), in this issue of the Source we are zeroing in on one in particular and that is "Desperate Prayer." Jesus modeled it for us on the Mount of Olives where He took "fervent" to a whole new level. We read in Luke 22:44, "And He, being in Agony of Spirit, prayed more earnestly. He prayed so intensely that His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground." While we are not going for blood in "Desperate Prayer Lives," we are looking to heat up students' prayer lives and pursuit after God through Scripture, drama and stories from the days of Charles Finney.
Experiencing "Soul Pains,"
In this NYLC12 General Session, Mark Batterson, shares insight from his latest book, The Circle Maker According to Pastor Mark, "Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn't just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It's a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us." Do you ever sense that there's far more to prayer, and to God's vision for your life, than what you're experiencing? It's time you learned from the legend of Honi the Circle Maker---a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not budge from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people. What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around? Sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences as a circle maker, Mark Batterson will help you uncover your heart's deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer.
Sin starts SMALL! It's no secret that sin often starts as small thoughts and choices. But eventually, the small decisions will grow inside of you causing you to give birth to a full-sized SIN BABY!
In this Source, "Giving Birth To A Sin Baby," I talk to our high school group about how to recognize the plans of the Enemy and make determined choices to FUEL our desire to stop living in sin. It's all about WANTING to stop living in sin, and making DECISIONS to walk away from growing compromises. This resource has a fun opening skit and some memorable stories that will make this message one that make a lasting impact on your students.
Fighting For This Generation,
In his book, How Do You Kill 11 Million People?, Andy Andrews says, "History shows that any people who are sheeplike in following their leaders, as long as their personal self-interests are satisfied, may one day awaken to find that their nation has changed in dramatic ways." And, that my friends, is where we find ourselves today, waking up to a nation that looks way different than ever imagined.
In this Youth Leader's Coach, we peer back in time to get a clearer understanding of how something as horrific as the Holocaust ever occurred. We do so not for the sake of "knowing" history, but more so for the sake of not "repeating" it, which we are dangerously close to doing. For it is our responsibility as Christ-followers to set a course of freedom for future generations by teaching and telling the truth.
You often hear me say "SIN HAS ENERGY"! Modern science and our space program have long spoken of the possibility of a BLACK HOLE. Scientifically, a black hole is defined as "a small region of space that contains matter packed so densely that an INTENSE GRAVITATIONAL PULL is created from which not even light can escape." And parallel to this, since "SIN HAS ENERGY," we can't be stupid enough to violate "sin's magnetic field of gravitation." With a Black Hole, just like a normal magnet, the closer you get to it, the stronger the pull. And in the same way, the closer you get to SIN, the stronger sin's pull will be on you. That's why the Bible tells us to FLEE from temptation...NOT just "stand our ground and resist it."
The most powerful weapon against the Enemy's invisible world will ALWAYS BE THE WORD OF GOD. So in this Source, "I Talk Back To The Devil," I'm intentionally coming after teaching our students the power of Scripture as they deal with temptation, guilt, a lack of faith, and tough times.
The devastation we've seen from landmines and other IEDs used in Iraq, Afghanistan and third world countries has been heart-wrenching. While not as physically debilitating, the effects of the traps the Enemy sets for our students can be catastrophic as well. For 1 Peter 5:8 graphically reminds us, "Be self-controlled and alert. Our Enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone he can devour."
Fortunately, his traps can only gain energy and strength when we are ignorant of them or choose to ignore them. This Source, "Landmines," is meant to serve as a warning to our students following Christ to be careful not to "give the Enemy a foothold." Using video clips from the CBS TV Series, "Flashpoint," reviewing King David's misstep, and walking through seven common "landmines," our goal is to expose the devil's plans to dilute and shorten the destiny on their lives.
How sharp do you feel spiritually right now? Have your edges become a little dull? Great questions aren't they? They're ones we need to continually ask ourselves whether we're 14 or 40, or any age for that matter. And, if we're honest, I think even the best of us struggle on occasion with our quiet times with Jesus for one reason or another. Revelation reminds us to return to Him, our first love, and choose to do the things we know to do.
In this Source, we'll look to Elisha in 2 Kings 6:1-7 for thoughts on recovering our spiritual cutting edge when times get a little too quiet. We'll come face-to-face with the causes and challenge each other to sharpen ourselves once again. Jesus, our audience of One, deserves our very best.
When someone says, "seduction," it brings romantic pictures to our minds. But there is a kind of spiritual seduction that can cost us eternity. What's the root for all of us when we are seduced spiritually? It's pretty simple. Little by little we begin to fall too much in love with this present world.
In this month's Source, "Seduced," the call is to get some students away from "peeking over the wall" spiritually and remind them to stay inside the Lord's loving "fence of protection."
In Of God and Men, A.W. Tozer said, "Those first disciples burned with a steady, inward fire. They were enthusiastic to the point of complete abandon." Wow! I don't know about you, but I hunger for those words to one day be said of me. In truth, however, there are times my "inward fire" doesn't feel so steady and I become susceptible to falling into the abyss of "mediocrity."
The good news is that over the years I've learned to recognize a few warning signs and take corrective measures. So, grab a cup of coffee, pop in your earphones, and join me as I walk through some secrets to "Shaking Loose Of Mediocrity."
Stoking the Fire,
Sin has energy! That's the heart of this issue of the Source. It is, perhaps, one of the most important messages we really need to get deep down inside of us. The slippery slope that lies ahead for those of us who don't "get it" is frightening.
In order to "get it," we take a close look at the progression of sin outlined very clearly in Psalm 19. It is the very process the Enemy uses to take some of God's finest out of the game. If we're not careful, we are just as susceptible. The costly compromises and rationalization of our sin will blindside us and take us out at the knees. The "Slow Fades" will leave our hearts hardened and spiritually dead.
On this night, we look to God's Word, a video, cooking pot, vacuum cleaner and the perfect song to help put a halt to the "Slow Fades" in our lives.
What do you do when you are running from the fires of Hell? You need to "Stop"...what you're doing, "Drop"...to your knees and "Roll"...with the King.
You'll enjoy this highly entertaining Super Session with Reggie Dabbs, a motivational speaker that has spoken at high schools all over the world. Listen carefully as Reggie shares lessons from a great leader in the Bible, King Saul, who refused to "Stop, Drop And Roll" and allowed his sons to share his death. "Do you want your babies to die like you?"
I often hear youth pastors say to me... "If people really knew how infrequent and lame my own personal devotional life is, I would be kicked out of the ministry! (at least, I SHOULD be.)" ...OR... "NUMBERS seem the be the big deal to my pastor...and true intimacy with Christ is rarely (if ever) focused on from a leadership perspective. What gets rewarded at our church is numbers and platform performance." ...OR... "I often feel very FROZEN and distant from the Lord...but no one seems to notice or even care."
So, what do I think "The Biggest Trap In Christian Leadership" is? I think many of us can buy into...almost unconsciously...what I call a "Jesus AND" faith. In this Youth Leader's Coach, I challenge you to answer some life-altering questions as you consider is Jesus really #1 in your life?
The Enemy would love for us to live our lives as if there were no "contender," as if neither he nor spiritual warfare existed. To live in that manner, however, would be foolish, especially given that two-thirds of Christ's ministry before the cross involved the devil or the demonic world. That, my friend, is a substantial percentage!
In this Source, "The Contender," we pull back the veil on spiritual warfare by exposing the Enemy and examining our weapons of choice. Our goal is not to spook our students, but to convince them not to take this whole thing lightly. It really is a big deal in the eyes of Jesus. The people who make Hell laugh are those who act as if it is not.
Fortunately, while the battle is real, if we have Christ in our lives, the Bible makes it clear that we will be the ultimate victor. Despite that fact, the Enemy still wants to engage us in battle and derail our lives, even if only momentarily. We cannot allow that to happen! Learning how to put on our armor and draw our weapons will prevent it!
Fighting with you,
Who are you really "fighting for" in prayer? That was my question to my students in this Source. There's a lot of different biblical forms of prayer. This night I was talking about one of the most important, but forgotten weapons in our prayer arsenal; DANGEROUS PRAYERS. It's the prayers that come from aggressive hearts who want to damage hell by "standing in the gap" when they talk with God.
The goal of this month's Source, "The Gap," is to up the bar in both our personal prayer lives and in the prayer lives of our students. More than just casual prayers, the challenge was to pray some "gap-standing" prayers for their high schools, their families and their life groups. With the help of the movie, Cinderella Man, it's my reminder that Satan fears when he sees even the weakest Christian on their knees.
Standing in the Gap,
The virtue of honor is one of the most powerful qualities available to God's people. Youth ministries that learn to honor God's presence and each other will see a record number of salvations and miracles in operation among their youth. This may be the most life-changing message that you have ever experienced.
Dr. James Dobson says that overcoming guilt, even after repentance, is one of the primary weapons the Enemy uses on today's youth culture. That's why I wanted to hit this theme again with my gang. I call this Source "The Pounding"...subtitled, "The ABC's of Overcoming Guilt." It was a powerful night for us. I really hope the Lord uses some of our thoughts to make it incredible for you.
Be sure to catch the closing act we did together to wrap up the service. It was memorable and life-changing. (No, I'm not going to tell you what it was. You'll just have to listen!)
Isaiah 38:17 echoes the message of the night: "You, oh God, have put all of my sins BEHIND YOUR BACK."
Thankful for "Behind His Back!"
Sometimes it seems like the Enemy has a rented room in our minds. In this opening General Session, Jeanne teaches us how to recognize and deal with some of the rooms the Enemy likes to "rent" and take control of in our minds...like the rented rooms of Insecurity, Depression, Doubt, Guilt, What's the Use Anyway?, Fear and Self-Hatred. You might be surprised as Jeanne asks some candid questions to the 2,000 youth leaders in the room and they share their honest answers.
You and I must always remember, anything God loves, Hell hates. Often times, the Enemy attempts to distract and derail us from our dreams and destiny using God's own people, who have no idea that they're allowing their flesh and carnality to be anointed for Hell's purposes.
While these people end up "feeling" like the enemy, through our choices we can take what the real Enemy meant for harm and allow God to bring greatness out of it.
So, grab a cup of coffee and listen in as I share how to both identify your "enemies" and allow God to use them to add more value to your character, walk with Jesus and ministry than perhaps many of those you call "friend."
Refusing to be derailed,