Stay tuned for updates and messages about different topics that we are teaching and upcoming events.
April 23, 2015
Dear parents of Jr. Youth,
This week, our group is finishing up the two-week series on sex with a lesson examining the importance of making wise choices in dating.
Boy/girl relationships are an exciting new part of adolescence, and many students never put a lot of thought into dating. Even many Christian teenagers start dating without ever considering how their relationship with Jesus ought to affect their dating relationships.
We will examine 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 and discussed the Apostle Paul's words about not being linked too intimately with people who aren't followers of Jesus. Paul doesn't say Christians must avoid all contact with non-Christians, but he does instruct against being surrounded or bound in such a way that we're drawn away from our faith in Christ.
I'd encourage you to take time this week to talk with your teenager about our lesson. Here are some questions you could use to generate dialogue:
- What do you see as some positives and negatives of dating someone while in junior high?
- What are some possible risks or consequences of dating someone who is not a follower of Jesus?
- How can you grow closer to God by dating another person who's following Christ?
Have a blessed week!
Pastor Petey & Christina
April 16, 2015:
Dear Parents of Jr. Youth,
Our Jr. youth is starting a two-week series on sex, and in our first lesson, we will examine the Apostle Paul's wise words in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.
This passage contains one of the most direct, powerful statements about why God wants us to pursue his plan for sex. Clearly, any sin separates us from God-yet the Apostle Paul tells us in these verses that sexual sin has a particularly significant impact because it affects our bodies and because the Holy Spirit inhabits our bodies if we're followers of Jesus.
Paul's solution to sexual temptation is simple: Run. Don't argue or negotiate or justify or consider or examine or discuss or ponder. Just run. Sometimes this means a literal fleeing-leaving a place or a person that creates temptations. Other times it means refocusing our thoughts away from temptation and toward Christ-like things.
We will encourage our teenagers to run away from sexual sin and temptation, and to recognize that following God's plan requires regular, daily choices-it isn't just a one-time decision.
Sex can be a challenging topic for a conversation with junior highers. (How's that for an understatement?) In spite of the awkwardness, it can be a worthwhile conversation.
- What words best define our culture's attitude toward sex and sexual activity?
- Why do you think God views the topic differently?
- Why does the Apostle Paul say we ought to run away from sexual sin or the temptation to sin in that area?
Praying for you and your family this week!
Pastor Petey and Christina
March 19, 2015:
Dear Parents of Senior Youth
We started the first of three lessons looking at what Scripture says about the topic of healthy dating. Tyler and Amy Grant are leading this series and will be using various passages from the Bible to discuss God's design for romantic relationships. Our goal is to help our teenagers get a clearer idea of God's intentions in our relationships and what a Christ-like dating relationship or marriage looks like.
This week our teenagers examined 1 Corinthians 13 and talked about knowing what they're seeking, not making excuses in dating relationships, and not settling for a relationship that dishonors God. We have the opportunity to value and love the person we're dating-and the person we someday may marry.
I'd encourage you to find time to talk with your child about this week's lesson. Here are some questions from this week that could fuel the dialogue:
- What's the difference between love and lust? What are some examples of the way our culture promotes lust-and examples of the way it either honors or dishonors true love?
- What are some of your expectations for a healthy dating relationship or marriage? What's the basis or foundation for these expectations, and how realistic are they?
- Why does God care about our actions and attitudes when we're either moving toward or in a dating relationship?
Thanks for all your prayers for our small group ministry. I pray regularly that God will guide and lead our young people as they pursue and develop meaningful, healthy relationships, and I know that's your prayer, too!
Dear Parents of Jr. Youth:
This week, our groups launched a three-lesson series on evangelism led by Emilio Ramos and Nick Marano. Our goal is to help our teenagers confidently and effectively tell their friends about their faith in Jesus and what it means to become a follower of Christ.
In this first lesson, we focused on Matthew 4:18-22, when Jesus called some of his first disciples and told them that he would teach them "how to fish for people." This is what Jesus did in his three years of ministry through compassion, miracles, teachings, his sacrifice on the cross, and his resurrection from the dead.
During our lesson, we challenged students to grow in their asking and listening skills-to build friendships in which they earn the right to talk about God because they care about their friends' perspectives, opinions, and feelings. When we show a genuine interest in our friends, we can earn the right to talk about what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
As you talk with your teenager this week, here are some questions you might want to ask:
- Is it more enjoyable to talk to someone who's talking at the same time, or would you rather talk with someone who's actually listening to your words? Why?
- If you ask and listen, how can that open the door to sharing your faith and telling a friend about God's love?
- What are some places where you might find lots of people who need to hear about Jesus? How easily can you spend time there and have conversations with people there?
I pray that this is a blessed week for you and your family!
Pastor Petey and Christina
February 19, 2015:
Dear Parents of Jr. Youth:
Our Jr. Youth group has launched a three-week Bible study on the End Times. In this first lesson (Feb 19), we explored several verses from Revelation talking about future events.
These passages reveal God's actions at the end of time. This world is temporary, which can help us evaluate what really matters most in life. Jesus is coming back in power and glory. Everyone will be judged, but if we've chosen to believe in Jesus and receive the gift of salvation, our names are written in the Book of Life. Ultimately, in the end, God wins.
As you find time to talk with your teenager about this week's lesson, here are some questions you might want to include in your conversation:
- If this world will come to an end but God is still in control, how might that affect your perspective on what matters most in life?
- If eternal separation from God is the result of not having your name written in the Book of Life, what are the implications for our relationships and our mission in life?
- Why do you think Revelation uses so many metaphors and images?
I pray that you and your family have an awesome week. God bless!
Parents of Sr. Youth: Pastor Petey is continuing this week on the topic of Islam
February 12, 2015:
Dear parents of Sr. Youth,
Our students continue to work their way through our extended series about different religions and worldviews. These lessons are designed to give our teenagers a chance to thoughtfully examine their faith and prepare for conversations with people of different beliefs.
It’s not enough for our students to believe Christianity—we want them to examine and discover the evidence for why Christianity is the only logical answer to knowing who God is, how he deals with sin, and how we can have a future with him in eternity.
This week our conversation examined what Islam teaches about God. We learned that the god of Islam, Allah, is not a triune God, and because of this he would be incapable of understanding love and relationship. It is this characteristic of Allah that helps to turn Islam into a works-based religion.
Here are some questions that might be worth asking this week:
- Why do you think Muslims and Christians have had so much conflict throughout history?
- We can find no written manuscripts that contain the original words Muhammad spoke to those recording his words—is that a reason for concern, or is it not a big deal? Explain your answer.
- How can you pursue a lifestyle filled with good deeds, without falling into the trap of thinking you can earn salvation or make God love you more than he already does?
Please contact me if you have any follow-up questions about this week’s conversation, or if you would like any additional resources. Have a blessed week!
Parents of Jr. Youth: See message below dated February 3 as we're still on this topic.
February 3, 2015:
Dear parents of Jr. Youth,
We are getting started this week with a series on communicating with God by learning how to "listen" to God through reading the Bible.
The Bible is the story of God's revelation and interaction with humanity. Through its page, we discover his character, his redemptive plan for humanity, and instructions for living a God-honoring life.
Our students will focus on 2 Timothy 3:14-17, verses that tell us that all Scripture is useful and helpful. The Bible equips us for every good work, preparing us for what we will encounter in life and building our spiritual muscles so we can be who God wants us to be. Scripture is our window into God's heart, and we must intentionally develop the habit of listening to God through its pages.
I'd encourage you to find time to talk with your teenager about this week's lesson. Here are some questions you might want to ask during your conversation:
- How do you think God feels if we spend all our time talking to him in prayer without also listening to him?
- How often do you read the Bible besides when you're at church or in small group? Are you satisfied with how often you read it? Why or why not?
- What are some differences between listening to God through the Bible and listening to your friends or family members?
Have an awesome week!
Dear Parents of Sr. Youth,
We are continuing our small group study on apologetics, and this week we focused on Mormonism. The topic of Mormonism elicits a lot of conversation and controversy among Christians because from the outside, Mormonism appears to simply be a branch of Christianity. But as you peel back the layers of belief and practice, you discover how Mormonism contradicts truths in the Bible.
Our goal was to equip our students with basic knowledge of what Mormonism teaches, how key Mormon doctrines contradict the Bible, and how to discuss Mormon doctrine.
Here are some questions you might want to ask at home this week:
- Why is it important for Christian doctrine to be clear and adamant on the belief in one God rather than multiple gods?
- How are the differences between Christianity and Mormonism unlike the differences between various denominations within Christianity? Give some specific examples, if you can.
- What are some unique challenges when talking to someone who follows Mormonism, compared to someone who follows Buddhism or is an atheist?
Please contact me if you have any follow-up questions about this week’s conversation, or if you would like any additional resources. Have a blessed week.