Monthly Archives: April 2012

All Roads Do Not Lead to Heaven…

We have a problem here people.  John 14:6 does not say, “There are many ways, many truths, and many lives”…it actually says there is only “ONE way, ONE truth, and ONE life”, and that is Jesus Christ.  So why is it that in a survey done by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life: 57 percent of evangelical church attenders said they believe many religions can lead to eternal life.  Yikes!  To find out more how our the strength of Christianity is declining and tolerance is increasing, go here.

But you know this is an issue…so how do we stop this thinking?  Here are five reasons a student or you can use to combat the notion that all roads lead to heaven.  Feel free to use them to help promote a proper Biblical and Christian worldview in your young people.  It’s becoming a lost art…but it can be found.

5 Reasons Why There is Only One Way to Heaven (besides because the Bible says):

  1. Okay, it’s like if one person says dog + cat = dog.  Another person says dog + hippo = dog.  Sorry, it is dog + dog = dog.  You can’t take 2 different components and hope to get the same answer…and you can’t hope two completely different beliefs/religions can get the same result!
  2. Most religions had their origin later in history…if that is truth than what happened to those in history before their religion?  Christianity begins @ creation, most religions can’t claim that.
  3. Most religions require you to do something to get to heaven…what happens if you don’t do enough?  Christianity is all about what Christ did, more on that later.
  4. Most religions have a leader that is no longer living…Christianity has a Savior that rose from the dead.
  5. If there is more than one way to heaven…then why did Jesus have to die!

Feel free to add, critique, or discuss.  Let’s help our next generation understand there is only one way…it could be a matter of life or death!

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Discipleship – 4 Keys to Student Discipleship

What are we discipling our students into?  My answer is found in Colossians 1:23…that type of faith!  Discipleship is developing a faith that sticks, a faith that is their own, a faith that is their foundation, a faith that is boldly shared with others…a faith that is at the heart of a true follower of Jesus Christ.

Here’s the thing, and I think you probably realized this, was that there is no 10-step process or whatever to producing true disciples.  However, I do think there are 4 key concepts in discipleship of young believers.

Discipleship requires:

  1. Knowledge – Proverbs is clear that we need knowledge before we can capture wisdom.  Therefore, there needs to be Doctrinal/Biblical/Theological training, which can happen in small group, Sunday School, and youth group arenas.
  2. Relationships – There needs to be mentoring outside the context of the family.  This is something that must happen, and is most commonly found in the small group structure.  Chap Clark in his research for the book “Hurt” claims that each student needs 5 positive adult relationships to influence a young person spiritually.  That is where youth leaders/sponsors can take their place…we are not asked to take the place of the parent…but I do believe we have value in being that assistant coach that helps the parent in producing Christ-followers.
  3. Connection – Do not neglect the importance of inter-generational ministry.  While I do believe youth ministry needs to do a better job at allowing the family to be the voice and equipping the parents, but there is no need to abandon youth ministry all together (see movie “Divided” to find out more about this movement).  However, I do think there is great value in integrating the students in the church:  worship, children’s ministry, mission trips, older generation connection, etc.  If there is a connection, a feeling that they can be used, and an understanding of how they can use their gifts in the church – then I feel they are more likely to stay.  Say it with me…Connection!
  4. TIME  – This is maybe something that we all miss.  We’ve all heard the expression of how you spell LOVE is T-I-M-E.  And although it is very corny, it is true.  Very rarely do our students remember our lessons, but they do remember the time we spend with them both in church and outside church…that informal and formal time that I was talking about.

 

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Generation Update – Hunger Games, College Graduate Job Problem, and the Digital Generation

  1. According to Pew Research Center – 40% of millennials sport a tattoo.
  2. 75% college student graduate without a job lined up.
  3. Average age for marriage is 26 for women, 28 for guys.
  4. Nearly 20 million of the 225 million Twitter users follow 60 or more Twitter accounts and nearly 2 million follow more than 500 accounts.
  5. There are more than 800 million people now signed up for the social network Facebook; they spend 700 billion minutes using Facebook each month, and they install more than 20 million apps every day. Facebook users had uploaded more than 100 billion photos by mid-2011.
  6. 75 percent of Facebook users unhappy with body – 51 percent of respondents reported Facebook makes them more conscious about their body and weight.
  7. 76% of people ages 14-24 say that digital abuse is a serious problem.
  8. The Hunger Games opened to an astounding $155 million at the domestic box office, the third-best debut of all time and the best for any film opening outside of summer.
  9. A survey conducted last year in a Midwest school district found that 53 percent of high school students admitted to cheating on tests, 62 percent turned in work done by others and 72 percent admitted working with classmates on homework when collaboration was not permitted.
  10. 78 percent of U.S. teens had drank alcohol, and 47 percent of the group said they’d consumed 12 or more drinks in the past year. When it came to drug use, 81 percent of teens said they had the opportunity to use illicit substances, with 42.5 percent actually tried them.

Take-away – We are working with, serving, and loving on a generation that is extremely “plugged-in”.  The conversations will probably be more digital and shorter.  This generation seems to have a real disconnect between true and real faith, since they throw it away so easily.  Adolescence is lasting longer and longer, so the “rebellion phase” seems to be  lasting longer too.

What’s my point?  These updates are to give you a better picture of where this generation is.  Take the time to help students to engage culture, to use technology without letting technology use them, use their social media to share the gospel, and to build a real faith that lasts.  Easier said than done?  Absolutely.  But that doesn’t mean you don’t try.

What is your take-away from this information?

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Spiritual Bracketology

Can’t help myself, I love this time of year…March Madness.  Maybe you can’t stand basketball and are so happy the madness is over and you get your CSI back on Saturday nights.  Well, wherever you are on the spectrum, I want to ask you, how is your spiritual bracket doing?  Corny?  You Betcha.  Important to think about?  Yes!

Let me explain.  You may hear about brackets that are made for snack food, best restaurants, favorite movies…and the list goes on.  Well, what about your spiritual life?  When you take the top things in your life, whether it be family, sports, God, church, job/career…what ends up winning in the end?  Does God get upset?  Does your job become the Cinderella story and defeat everything else on your priority list?

Try this on for size.  List out your “Elite Eight” priorities in your life.  Draw a bracket.  Now be honest with yourself, and see what usually wins in your life most often…what truly is your priority.  Does God win the championship, or does the enemy team win some upsets?  Is God even the overall #1 seed in your bracket?

Maybe it is time to rearrange your spiritual bracket…especially now that March Madness is over!

 

 

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