Here are two questions that I would love for you to answer:
As you raise your teenager, what is one thing that you want to rebel against from your own teenage experience?
As you raise your teenager, what is one thing that you want to repeat from your own teenage experience?
If you would like to share your answers with me, I would love to hear them. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for taking some time today to spend with me. I love serving your family.
Last night was our monthly prayer night. These have turned out to be one of our most powerful events, and one that I personally look forward to each month!
We play worship music in the background while the group prays to God on behalf of AYM, their generation, and themselves. As students pray, they are able to write down what they feel God speak to them on the white board at the front of the room. It is truly incredible to see how clearly and powerfully the students hear from God during these times of prayer.
Each month, we continue to see students grow while beginning to operate in the gifts that God has given them.
You can check out some of the pictures from last night, including what students wrote on the whiteboard regarding what God was speaking to their hearts below:
Each week, you can sense God stirring the hearts of the students. Each week, you can sense that the students are being drawn closer into personal revival. Each week, we get closer and closer to seeing students walk in the fullness of their purpose and destiny!
Per the students request, we started pre-service prayer to pray for AYM, our schools, and generation.
After Tribe Huddles, we played a few rounds of “Easter Minute to Win It”.
Round 1- NO YOKING AROUND (get the yolk out of four Caramel Cadbury eggs in sixty seconds using a plastic spoon).
Round 2- FLYING PEEPS (launch six peeps into a container ten feet away with a spoon in sixty seconds).
Round 3- JELLY BEAN BILLIARDS (use the white jelly been as the cue ball to knock nine jelly beans off the table in sixty seconds).
The title of the message was “Who Is This Jesus?”.
We all may have different traditions and things that come to mind when we think about Easter, but there is one thing that connects us all, sinner and saint. Our Creator and Savior loved(s) us so much that he stepped into our humanity, took on flesh, went to the Cross as our perfect sacrifice, gave his life for us, rose from the grave, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father where he intercedes on our behalf.
Jesus died for you, me, the thief, the prostitute, the murderer, the rich, the poor, etc. The blood of Jesus is the detail that connects all of humanity. The question is, “Will you accept the gift of salvation and eternal life that Jesus shed his blood to provide?”.
Yesterday was Palm Sunday and the start of Holy Week. At the time of this event, it was Jesus Mania, and the popularity of Jesus was at an all-time high. He had just raised a man named Lazarus from the dead, and now he was making his way into the city of Jerusalem while fulfilling a 500 year old prophecy from Zechariah 9:9 and making his entrance as King into the city of Jerusalem.
Matthew 21:1-11 (CSB) says,
When they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage at the Mount of Olives, Jesus then sent two disciples, 2 telling them, “Go into the village ahead of you. At once you will find a donkey tied there with her foal. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them at once.”
4 This took place so that what was spoken through the prophet might be fulfilled:
5 Tell Daughter Zion, “See, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”[a
6 The disciples went and did just as Jesus directed them. 7 They brought the donkey and its foal; then they laid their clothes on them, and he sat on them. 8 A very large crowd spread their clothes on the road; others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. 9 Then the crowds who went ahead of him and those who followed shouted:
Hosannato the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosannain the highest heaven!
10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”
(Also read Luke 19:28-40 and John 12:12-19 for Luke and John’s account of the Jesus’s entry into Jerusalem)
The crowds spread their clothes and palm branches on the road as Jesus rides through. This was an act that people did to show submission to a king. As the crowds cried “Hosanna” (God saves; a cry of happiness; a cry for help; comes from root meaning to “save now”; to avenge, rescue, bring salvation, victory, deliver, save, help), they were acknowledging that Jesus had the power to save. They anticipated that Jesus would finally deliver them from the military and political rule of the Romans.
Jesus was indeed offering freedom, but it was a freedom far greater than political and military freedom. Jesus was offering spiritual freedom and victory over the Kingdom of Darkness. He wouldn’t achieve victory by overthrowing the Roman military and government. He would achieve victory through death on a Cross. This turned out to be too much for many to accept.
Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long as many of the same people who were shouting “Hosanna” were the same people just a few days later that were shouting “Crucify Him!”.
Parts of Matthew 21-23 show Jesus challenging the people and the religious leaders on how they were living and foretelling of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. He called out the hypocrisy and motives of part of the Pharisees which only intensified their efforts to kill him and spread lies about him among the people. The people wanted freedom from the Romans, but many wanted to live their lives for their own benefit on their own terms. The people wanted a savior to deliver them from the Romans, but Jesus came to be more than just our Savior.
Luke 2:11 (CSB) says, Today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Jesus came to be our Savior AND Lord. The Greek word for Savior is “soter” and means to save; a savior; a deliverer; preserver, one who saves from danger or destruction and brings into a state of prosperity and happiness. The Greek word for “Lord” is kyrios and means lord; master; a person exercising absolute ownership rights; master.
Jesus as Savior indicates your sins are forgiven. Jesus as Lord shows a shift in your life, including your sins being forgiven. Jesus as Lord indicates that you are no longer the king of your life, but Jesus is. Jesus as your savior says you are thankful he died for your sins. Jesus as Lord says you are thankful that Jesus died for you sins AND you are willing to surrender everything to him for his glory.
Who Is This Jesus? Are you currently living like Jesus is your Savior, or Lord and Savior? When a generation proclaims Jesus as Lord, mountains move and cities, states, and nations are shaken by the love and power of God Almighty.
What’s your answer to…
Who Is This Jesus?
If you have never accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, or have any other questions or prayer needs, we would love to talk and pray with you. You can email email@example.com for prayer or questions.
It’s time again for our online parenting class. I hope you are enjoying the bite-sized parenting encouragement.
You might be wondering if you can invite other parents to join our online parenting class and the answer is “YES”! You can just reply to this email with their email address and we will get them enrolled in the class.
This month we are talking about how to RESPOND to your teenager instead of REACTING to your teenager.
Did you do your homework from last week? Have you looked up Proverbs 15:1?
This great truth is the first thought that you can bring to your minds and hearts when your teenager opens the door of frustration in your relationship.
But for this lesson I am going to suggest to you three quick thoughts that you can go through like a checklist in your head to keep you from losing your temper:
1) Pray this short prayer first: “God give me grace in the moment”. It is impossible to maintain control of your emotion apart from the grace of God, so be willing to ask for it.
2) Ask yourself, “What can I teach them right now?” This thought will keep you focused on the greater parenting task which is teaching them the beliefs and life skills they need to become an adult.
3) Consider the context. What physical changes could be causing this behavior? What relational pressures or circumstances might be fueling your teenager’s emotional response?
Here is a 6 minute and 29 second video from a recent Parent Seminar that talks more about understanding the Physical Changes that are going on inside of your teenager. Understanding these changes can give you the context you need to RESPOND instead of REACT to their wild mood swings. The video quality isn’t the greatest, but the content is OUTSTANDING! Follow this link to watch the video: http://vimeo.com/parentministry/review/48888063/ff98940e88.
Thanks again for being a part of this online parenting class.
My goal is to encourage you, and open the lines of communication between our church and your home. With that in mind, feel free to email me any questions or prayer requests you may have.
What is the difference between Reacting and Responding?
Actually there is a huge difference. If you and I can understand that difference we can build bridges instead of walls in our relationships with teenagers.
This month’s online parenting class is focused on helping you as a parent learn some tips to “Respond” to your teenager in a healthy way.
I want to start by sharing a great example from an experienced mom of teenagers:
It was my favorite lip gloss! Burt’s Bees (the tinted one, no less) is not exactly cheap. And did I mention it was my favorite? What could she possibly have been thinking? Every sane person knows that when lip balm is left in a warm car, it tends to get soft. So what would possess her to twist it till it was all the way up and then try to push it back down into the tube? Really? Of course it split right down the middle.
This would have been the perfect time to teach my teen the difference between reacting and responding. I failed. Again. There were so many ways to do this better. I could have said anything other than “What in the world do you think you are doing? Did you even think through that?”
How am I ever going to teach my child this lesson if I can’t get it myself? Reactions are governed by emotions, while responses are governed by the ability to think through the situation. That means closing our mouths and not saying the first thing that pops into our heads, which is usually critical.
Not so easy when our teen is hurling their attitude at us with acute precision. Don’t kid yourself. They know our buttons and are not above pushing them. Over and over and over. I think they have created a fantasy league where they earn points by pushing us over the edge again and again! But how different would our relationships be with our teens if we responded rationally to their attacks instead of reacting immediately?
There is one tool that I use that is helping me learn this concept. It’s called breathing. I know, profound, right? But you would be amazed at how well this works! First, it gives you a moment to lower your blood pressure. Extra oxygen always helps. And those few precious moments it takes to breathe a few extra times may be the difference between teaching them and arguing with them. I will take teaching every time!
I want to challenge all of the parents in our ministry to memorize with me a short verse to help us “breathe” when our teenager’s stir up anger in us.
So, your homework for this week’s class is to look up Proverbs 15:1, memorize it, and repeat it to yourself every time your teenager tries to push your buttons. Are you with me? Next week we will dive deeper into the this month’s topic.
As always, if you have any questions or prayer concerns please respond to this email and let me know.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 gives us our mission from God as parents:
“Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
I want to quickly unpack this job description for parents into 3 action steps that you can do today to begin passing down faith in your home:
1) Put it in your Heart First- “these commands…are to be on your hearts” You can’t give away what you don’t have. You can’t inspire someone else to do something unless it inspires you ﬁrst. If you want your teenager to be fueled by their faith than make sure that is what is fueling you.
ACTION STEP: Consider planning a spiritual retreat for yourself. You could get away for just a few hours or you could invest a whole week in a focused time with God. It may feel selﬁsh, but ﬁlling your own heart spiritually allows it the ability to spill over into the life of your family.
2) Infuse Faith into Everyday Life- “talk about them when you sit at home” The center of spiritual activity for your family should be your home. Many times we believe that should be the church. In God’s blueprint for passing down faith He sets up parents to be the leaders and the home to be the main stage.
ACTION STEP: Brainstorm ways you can discuss faith with your teenager daily. Practice intentional conversation about spiritual matters this week. It could be as simple as leaving your teenager a note with your favorite verse and an encouraging word. It makes a difference.
3) Use Symbols and Ceremonies to Pass Down Faith- “Tie them as symbols on your hands” If you read the Bible you will quickly see that God values symbols and ceremonies as a way of giving faith away to the next generation. The Hebrew word for “impress” in verse 7 literally means to “tattoo”. God made the hearts and minds of children and He knew that the way to “tattoo” faith on their hearts was to give them symbols they can touch and ceremonies they can experience.
ACTION STEP: What are some Christian symbols and ceremonies you can bring into your home and lead your family to experience together. Our Student Ministry has created these kinds of experiences you can do with your teenager. Go check out the Rites of Passage Experience materials we have available for you by clicking this link: http://awakeningyouthministries.com/parent-info/.
God sure did give us an important job didn’t He? The encouragement we have for you today is that you are not alone in this task. God Himself will give you all that you need to accomplish His will as a parent.
Also, AYM stands ready to partner with you in this task. This is why we started this Online Parenting Class and we are making the Rites of Passage Experience available to your family.
I would love to hear your questions, thoughts, or continued discussion.
P.S. Feel free to forward the emails from this Online Parenting Class to any parents of teenagers that you know.
I am starting our online parenting class in this email. I hope that you will ﬁnd this experience extremely helpful and informative. Each month, there will be two emails. One will be more of a introductory email for the month’s topic, and the second email will dive deeper into the topic.
Today we are going to begin by talking about your will….
Do you have a will? You know, the paper that they pull out when you die to see who gets your stuff.
The process of preparing a will is not fun. The lawyer asks you, “If you die who will you give your stuff to?” You say, “Give it to my spouse.” The lawyer quickly responds, “and if your spouse dies who will you give your stuff to?”
This goes on and on until it seems like everyone is dead and you are so frustrated you consider telling the lawyer that they can have it!
When you write a will you ﬁgure out how you are going to leave your stuff, but what about the stuff that matters most?
What values are you going to leave your teenager?
What will you teach them about what is right and wrong in this world?
What will your teenager know about faith?
Our student ministry wants to help you leave a rich inheritance to your teenager of the stuff that really matters.
That is why we want to introduce you to the Rites of Passage Experience. We are going to help you have the conversations with your teenager that matter the most.
We are going to give you the tools to infuse faith into the most import moments in life.
Here are the 7 Rites of Passage we are going to encourage you to lead your teenager through:
6th Grade – Preparation for Adolescence
7th Grade – Blessing Ceremony
8th Grade – Purity Weekend
9th Grade – Driving Contract
10th Grade – Money Matters
11th Grade – Family Tree
12th Grade – Manhood/Womanhood Ceremony
I want to ﬁnish today’s class by asking you to watch this 3 minute video. It explains the Rites of Passage Experience we are launching as the foundation of our Parent Ministry.
As always please feel free to reply to this email with any questions about the Rites of Passage Experience or prayer requests.Next week, I will send the other email for this month that will take the discussion deeper with a broader discussion of this month’s topic: “How to Leave a Legacy that Matters.”
Last night was our first Family Night of 2019, and we had a BLAST with our students and parents that came out to join us for the evening.
Parents had the opportunity to see a shortened version of what we do in our opening Tribe Huddles as we give students the announcements, prayer points, and details they need to know for the night.
After Tribe Huddles, we did an icebreaker called “Landmines”. We had three teams of two consisting of one all parent team, a parent and student team, and a team of two students. The teams had to turn over paper plates (landmines) that corresponded with their team color and perform the task that was on the plate. The tasks consisted of: bear hug for twenty Mississippi’s, play a duet of Mary Had a Little Lamb on your bellies, tell each other five things you are thankful in your family, do ten sit ups each, and each of you do an arm pit fart.
The truth is that we face landmines, things hiding beneath the surface, in life with our families. The good news is that God gives us a game plan for making sure our families— our kids, grandkids, and so forth, continue to walk in the victory and blessings of God.
Deuteronomy 6:1-9 (CSB) says,
“This is the command—the statutes and ordinances—the Lord your God has commanded me to teach you, so that you may follow them in the land you are about to enter and possess. 2 Do this so that you may fear the Lord your God all the days of your life by keeping all his statutes and commands I am giving you, your son, and your grandson, and so that you may have a long life. 3 Listen, Israel, and be careful to follow them, so that you may prosper and multiply greatly, because the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you a land flowing with milk and honey.
4 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. 6 These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. 7 Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. 9 Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.
This passage shows Moses giving the command and teachings that God instructed him to command the Israelites to follow in order to inherit the Promised Land— God’s promise to to the nation of Israel.
What is God’s promise to you and your family?
God’s love for us is unconditional 100% of the time, but his blessings are not. Verses five and six say to “Love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart.
The command didn’t just stop there. God shows his design and desire for the family in verse seven— repeat them to your children. This echoes the words of verse two where God says the statutes he is giving are “for you, your son, and your grandson”. We are to teach God’s Word to our children and grandchildren. God’s blessings that he has designed for you and your family depend on it!
The command was to teach them when you sit at your house, walk along the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. This covers all aspects of life— when you are relaxing together, active, getting up to start your day, and when you are ending your day.
The Israelites would sometimes tie phylacteries (a small box containing Scripture texts) around their forehead and hands to as a reminder of God’s law to them. While we aren’t telling your to tie Scripture around your forehead, we are encouraging you to be intentional in keeping God’s Word, commands and teachings, and his promises with you and in your hearts wherever we go.
Life gets crazy busy, but if we, as families, become so busy that we no longer have time to teach our kids and grandkids God’s Word and his desire for our lives, we have become entirely too busy!
We left the families with this— Win the family. Win the generation. Will you commit?
Will you commit to teach your kids and grandkids the Word of God and the promises and blessings he has in store for them as they commit their lives to him?
We closed out the night with Family Feud: Parents VS. Students. The categories were: Things you may do to become a sumo wrestler, things the average person is afraid of, things associated with Alaska, and things associated with Jesus. The final round consisted of one person from each team facing off in the special ten question money round. The parents won the contest, and will get a special fellowship night in return!
We had another great night at AYM last night! We had some DELICIOUS chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes for my birthday and cookies for Austin’s birthday!
We kicked off the night with a competitive game of knee volleyball. This is a game played inside on your knees with a large rubber ball and chairs serving as the net. The ball is played off the chairs, walls, and ceiling. It’s fast paced and exciting:)
The youth band led us in a time of high energy worship with “Love Come Down” and “This Is Amazing Grace”.
The message was on the passage of Scripture referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4. We watched a video from Francis Chan on prayer as he broke down The Lord’s Prayer and challenged us to view the passage and the way we pray in a new light.
You can check out the video by clicking the link below:
After the video, we split back into our Tribe Groups to discuss the video, how it impacted and challenged us, and how it changed our view on prayer.
It was encouraging to see how the video caused students to rethink the way they thought and approached prayer!
We continue to move forward with excitement and anticipation for what God has in store for AYM in 2019!
Last night was the first AYM Service of 2019. We kicked off the year with a message titled “Will You Commit?”.
Two words keep appearing in the posts I see from different Pastors in different areas: Breakthrough and Revival. Last night, we looked at a third word that has to happen before we see breakthrough and revival: COMMIT.
The English word commit means to pledge; to obligate oneself: to say that someone or something will definitely do something.
Proverbs 16:3 (CSB) says, Commit your activities to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
When we entrust and commit our activities to God, our plans (intentions, strategies, schemes, and thoughts) will be established (to set up; make firm; prepare; to stand up right; fixed or steadfast).
God WILL make your plans firm and established in him as you COMMIT you activities to him. When you commit your life to God, his desires become your desires. Breakthrough and revival will follow you when you COMMIT your activities to God.
What you commit to will determine the direction of your life!
AYM is focusing on committing to what we are calling the “BIG 3” in 2019: The Bible, Prayer, and Godly Fellowship. The early church committed to these three things and their lives were radically transformed.
You have two choices: Remain the Same or Be Transformed. You can come to church and youth group week after week just to hangout and have fun and remain the same and have a front row seat to see the radical transformation that takes place in the lives of those who COMMIT their activities to the LORD.
WILL YOU COMMIT?
We closed out the night by giving students a list of Scriptures containing the goodness of God, and what he has done for us as well as the promises of God. Students were encouraged to begin their prayers by thanking God and proclaiming his goodness before they present their needs to him. Then, as they present their needs to God, we encouraged them to pray the promises of God as a part of their needs and requests.
For example, Deuteronomy 31:6 (CSB) says, Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the LORD your God is the one who will go with you; he will not leave you or abandoned you.
You could pray something like this: Dear Heavenly Father, I feel defeated and alone right now in my current situation, but I know your Word says that you will not leave me or abandoned me. Today, I stand on your promise that you will not leave me, and I ask you to show me that you are with me every step of the way in anything I encounter. In Jesus Name, AMEN!
Students then took a few minutes to look over the list of Scriptures they were given with these questions: What does this Scripture mean to me? What situation can I apply this to? How can I pray the promise in this Scripture?
We are looking forward to seeing students’ lives be radically transformed in 2019!