Monthly Archives: June 2014

3 Ways to be a Bold Father

Being a father is not easy.  It is a tough task that takes time, patience, energy, love, and a tremendous amount of help from the ultimate example of Fatherhood, our Heavenly Father.  When thinking of a picture of a good father, another word that comes to mind is boldness.  Men, it’s time we be bold fathers.

Here are 3 ways to be a Bold Father (applications from the story of Elijah vs. the Baal Prophets in I Kings 18)

1.  Bold in the Fight Against Evil – “Don’t Compromise”boldness

Don’t compromise to appease the moment. That’s not bold, that taking the easy way out. Stand for righteousness. Even though you know you will get groans when you turn the TV off when the show turns from funny to raunchy. Even though you will get backlash from saying no to purchasing the new video game, because you know what mature rating could mean. Even though you might hear stomping up the stairs when you tell your daughter to go change again because it doesn’t meet the standards of modesty.

Take a stand for godliness, for holiness, for righteousness. Take a stand against evil.

2.  Bold in Witness – “Don’t Baal Them Out”

You can’t “Baal them out”. Listen, there will be times when you know the right answer, you told them how it will end if they continue like this, but they simply disobeyed, ignored, and did it anyways.Don’t “Baal them out”. Suffering the consequences is something that will be their only teacher at times.

We live in a culture that everyone gets a trophy and you can’t grade in red pen anymore because it may damage a 1st graders psyche… our kids, in their disobedience and rebellion need to face consequences…don’t Baal them out.

3.  Bold in Humility – “How can I Serve You?”parenting

Dads, do you serve your family? Before you answer a quick yes – by saying you “work hard everyday to pay the bills and put a roof over your head and this is the thanks I get…” Oops, sorry, that was a speech I was saving for when my kids are teenagers.

Serving your family is more than just going to work everyday, although that is a very good start for a father.I’m talking about, do you serve your family?

Do you sacrifice purchases for yourself to give to your family? Do you give time, even when you have very little to give? Do you find joy in your kid’s joy or do I hear a “you know when I was your age speech a-coming…

Do you give to your kids special times like vacations or daddy dates? Or do you find yourself complaining more about how much this is costing you?

Do you lead in humility? Or as the leader, you just are leading yourself to your happiness?

Do you sacrifice, serve, and lead your family in humility?

 

You see men, being bold is more than being willing to fight a lion. It is being willing to sit down by the little lambs and talk about what is in their heart. Being bold is more than just climbing a mountain with little air supply, it is being willing to work through problems step by step until you reached the peak. Being bold is more than just standing out in the crowd, it is being willing to stand by your wife in good times & bad, stand by your kids when the love you give does not equal the love you receive, and stand by your God when your culture is telling Him to take a seat.

 

 

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

This post will be the final installment of the curriculum review series for 2013-2014.  My hope is these reviews will not discourage you from using curriculum, but help you find the right fit for your youth or student ministry.  Feel free to comment and ask questions to help you make that important teaching decision.

Curriculum Review: The Ten – Liquid DVD Seriesindex

The Good:

Creative. This brought a creative approach to the Ten Commandments, which the students appreciated. Often, when a student hears idols or thou shalt not murder, they don’t believe these commandments have anything to do with them. This series presents these in such a creative way, the student eyes are opened that their lives are impacted by each commandment, every day.

Visual. These videos bring the Ten Commandments to life. It is not just on a stone tablet anymore for the students. But these videos give real life examples of the commandments.

Discussion. Something I always appreciate about curriculum is discussion questions. This curriculum does not disappoint with discussion questions that engage, and encourage interaction with the material.

 

The Bad:

Act Right. Honestly, got a little weird in some parts. The acting at times struggled, and as a result it brought about some awkward moments for the audience. There may have been some laughter in the audience when things weren’t funny, and some shaking of heads in the attempt of comedy.

Stretch Exercises. Some of the application or visual representation of the commandments were a bit of a stretch. And some were difficult to teach as a result of that stretching. Also, the first two discussions were quite similar, which made things a little confusing.

Smell. The box smelled. Not kidding. No explanation for the smell. But it smelled.

 

The Grade: B-

Not my all-time favorite DVD series. It had its moments in presenting a creative way to study the Ten Commandments. But there were also times of awkwardness and a need for a teacher willing to work a little harder to make the material work. I wouldn’t go as far as saying this series stinks (although the box really did stink), because it was a fun series for our students. However, it required good discussion afterwards and a willingness to think a little outside the box to make it work.

 

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

Curriculum Review: Sticky Faith by Dr. Kara Powell & Brad Griffin (Zondervan Press)SONY DSC

The Good:

Creativity. The creativity has to be the first thing that stands out to me. You can tell right off the bat that the writers have experience in youth ministry. This is not purely a lecture series, but an interactive teaching approach that is easy for the teacher to use. The illustrations were dynamite, and I was rarely disappointed in the variety.

Purpose. The premise falls in line with my youth ministry philosophy. As it says in Colossians 1:23, the goal in youth ministry should be: lead teenagers to a faith that lasts, that continues, and in this case, that sticks. With so many students leaving church following graduation, there must be something that we could present to our departing seniors that will help change the trend. This curriculum aims to buck the trend, and point the students towards a faith that isn’t tied to youth group.

Easy to Use. No matter the experience level of the teacher, this curriculum was pretty easy to use. Sure, there was study involved, but even if a parent wanted to use this with their upper-classmen, it could happen.

The Bad:

The video clips. I wasn’t too impressed with the content of the clips, and was even concerned at some of the wording for young Christians. Be careful, and do not feel pressured to use the clips. At times they add to the teaching, and other times they are simply not needed.

Activities. Some of the activities or worship practices were out of my comfort zone. It’s good to have creativity, but again, don’t feel pressured in doing something that may cause more confusion than growth. This was rare in the series, but it did appear.

The Grade: B

The variety and ease of use allowed this to be a positive grade. There were some flaws, and the spiritual depth needed an extra boost every now and then, but for the most part, I enjoyed the series. In fact, I was able to use this material for a transition class where I combined junior high, high school, & young adults. Very few curricula could ever be that versatile.

The curriculum did its job in providing valuable lessons for the senior to transition into adult life. It’s an important enough venture to look into this curriculum for a number of reasons: very few curricula out there like this, the epidemic of seniors leaving church after graduation, and the importance of the topics covered. Just those few reasons alone should encourage you to take a look.

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Powerful Message on Cell Phone & Driving

This video would be great to show to teenagers and others who use their cell phone while driving…a powerful message that could save lives.

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

liquidCurriculum Review: James Bible Study – Live at Five – Liquid DVD Series & James by Simply Youth Ministry

FYI: Combining the DVD series and the Bible study provided a good balance of the study of James. Oftentimes, teens can get overloaded with DVD series and become bored or indifferent towards them. I try to provide a good balance of media and formal teaching time.

 

The Good:

Live at Five provides a good change of pace in a Bible study. The liquid series always do a great job at providing a different perspective that sparks conversation and discussion. With a visual generation watching, it is interesting to see the students interact with the video. Who wouldn’t want a real live version of the lessons in the book of James? Seriously, the videos provide a real life portrayal of your Bible study. It will provide a great jump-start to your James study.

James by Simply Youth Ministry was perfect for my small group teaching times. It provided a short lesson and in-depth discussion questions at the end of each lesson. That is exactly the format of our small group times. So for our ministry, it fit perfectly. The lessons were well-written and easy to teach. Very few complaints about this curriculum coming from this guy.

The Bad:

If you are looking for a blockbuster movie with superb cinematography, dynamite acting, and two thumbs up from movie critics, you won’t find it in the Live at Five series. If you are comparing this series to Avengers or Godzilla, the special effects are going to fall short. But if you enter with a mindset of content over quality, then you will get your due. The acting is corny at times, and the video is low-budget, but as long as you keep your perspective, it will serve your purpose.

The James Bible study really had few downsides. One could be, if you rely heavily on curriculum for a lengthy teaching time, you will need to supplement. If you are not comfortable doing that, you may need to look elsewhere. Also, a 5 week series may be too short for a series (Thus, the reason for combining with Live at Five)

The Grade:

Live at Five – B

It was great to have a real life portrayal of the book of James. Students need to understand how the Bible is relevant to today. The corny-ness and shallow acting at times brought the grade down a little. You could turn off some of your avid movie goers pretty quickly.

James (by Simply Youth Ministry) – Ajames

This curriculum, as I mentioned before, fit my needs perfectly. Oftentimes, curriculum doesn’t take the time to spell out discussion questions. It simply leaves that task up to the teacher. This James Bible study provided everything a teacher needs. Sure it was only 5 weeks and was a little on the short side, but if you need something for a small group context, it fits perfectly.

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Youth Curriculum Review Series (Cont.) – 2013-14 Edition

Curriculum Review:  Generation Change by Dave Ramsey, featuring Rachel Cruzegenchange_home_product

The Good:

The practicality is through the roof with this series. What teenager can’t use a lesson on finances, especially with a Biblical foundation? Seriously, some of these students had no clue how to manage money. If they practice the principles in this series, we are talking about saving them some major heartache.

The Biblical foundation was the best “good” of this curriculum. Without it, you could find these principles on a book in Barnes & Noble. But with the Biblical lessons and Scriptural backing for each point, it gave the material authority and reason for life changes, specifically in the area of money.

Dave Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze was the main speaker on the DVD’s. Her youth served her well in the sense of relevance. She was able to speak the language of the teens well, and tune into what they were thinking throughout the series. Rachel easily held the attention of the room, and did a great job presenting the material.

A word that comes to mind for this series is “sharp”. I would call this sharp material. What I mean is the leader guide was well-designed; the DVD’s were dynamic and engaging, including an artistic presentation in each DVD that was incredible. The overall package was impressive

The Bad:

The price may seem like it should go in the bad category, but when you see the price of the adult material, you will be thankful. However, one bad in purchasing all 3 sets in the series, was there was some material that was repeated. Since these DVD sets could stand alone in a study, I’m guessing that is why the material found itself repeating on occasion.

Another bad, more a slightly bad, would be the Biblical study required a little more prep on the leader’s part. There was definitely material as a foundation, but there were time when it lacked depth. Maybe my standards are high, but I was thirsty for more.

Lastly, there was some advice that was a little “shoot for the moon”. No debt from college? Pay for your 1st house with cash? Now I’m all for not getting into debt and living within your means, but there were statements like these that raised my eyebrows. With the income levels of my students, some debt management statements in my opinion were a little unrealistic.

The Grade: A-

If the students review was any indication of its worth, then it immediately should be considered in the “A” category. When I asked the students what they thought of the series, several of them said it was their favorite one they have studied. That’s a big statement. So, do these students just like talking about money or did this series truly have a spiritual impact? I’m going to go with yes.

Extras:  YouTube Videos: http://youtu.be/1DUYlHZsZfc & http://youtu.be/eGVpKaxnuBU

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