What If You Don’t Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

We are not quite two weeks into the new year and statistics tell us (whoever those people are that know such things) that only 8% of people who make resolutions keep them.

Our student ministry is starting small groups back up this Sunday after breaking for the holidays.  We think it’s a good idea to take a break, but also look forward to getting back into meeting regularly.  Since it is a new month and a new year, it seems appropriate to use resolutions as a spring-board for our discussions in January.

The challenge of resolutions is not in the making of them; it’s in the keeping of said resolutions.  As I was looking at some passages in Scripture that talk about pursuing God (which is a good resolution to make), my reference Bible took me to 2 Chronicles.

Asa was king of Judah and he was challenged to bring the people back to a right relationship with God.  2 Chronicles 15 tells us he removed idols, repaired the altar of the Lord and assembled all the people together.

Now, if you need some motivation to keep a resolution, perhaps this passage will provide some.  2 Chronicles 15:10-15:

“They assembled at Jerusalem in the third month of the fifteenth year of Asa’s reign. At that time they sacrificed to the Lord seven hundred head of cattle and seven thousand sheep and goats from the plunder they had brought back. They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their ancestors, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman.  They took an oath to the Lord with loud acclamation, with shouting and with trumpets and horns. All Judah rejoiced about the oath because they had sworn it wholeheartedly. They sought God eagerly, and he was found by them. So the Lord gave them rest on every side.”

So, if you are serious about keeping a new year’s resolution, perhaps you add in the threat of death…just a thought…

While I don’t think that scripture is prescriptive for how we should approach all of our commitments, it does show us that Asa and the people of Judah were pretty serious.

So, good luck with your resolutions!

Kick-Off 2017 – Bazooka Ball

For the past few years we have started off the new year for our students with a fun activity.  We take a break from our regular programming over the holidays and so try to jump-start January with something that creates a little bit of a buzz.  Last year we had a Black Light Bash and played 9 Square using black lights.  Pretty fun.

This year we played Bazooka Ball.  Our students were introduced to the game at our church camp (Butler Springs) and they love it.  Any time we go to camp, either during the summer or for a retreat, the students want to know when we get to play Bazooka Ball.  So, to get back into the swing of things in 2017, we brought Bazooka Ball to WCC!

And a good time was had by all.

This recap video shows a little bit of the action.  As we were cleaning up, one of our junior high students came up to me and asked, “Will we play this again next year?”

A good sign that the game was a success.

Whether You Feel It or Not

Today was the day we decided to tear the stage at church and get rid of all the Christmas decorations.  It’s one of those things that you know needs to be done, but you would rather do just about anything else.  There’s a whole lot more excitement to decorating for Christmas than putting it all away.  Thankfully, it’s all done!

After taking the Christmas decorations away, I was setting up the stage for rehearsal tonight and services on Sunday.  I was flipping through my Amazon library and ran across Matt Maher’s All The People Said Amen album.  I hit play and started moving things on the stage.

During the song Your Grace is Enough, Matt Maher shared briefly about why he wrote the song.  I had listened to it before, but thought it was so powerful as I heard it again:

“I wrote that ’cause I was going through a difficult time and I needed to be reminded that despite what was going on in my heart, those words in Scripture are true, whether you feel them or not, that God’s grace is sufficient.”

What a great thought and reminder: God’s grace is sufficient, whether I feel it or not. Sometimes we let how we feel determine what we believe to be true.  Instead, we should allow the truth of God’s Word and who He is (and who He says we are) to guide our feelings.

Appreciated that reminder today and hope you do, too.  Thanks Matt!

A New Year, A New Look

Near the end of 2016, I kind of got away from posting as often as I had in the past. I consider myself an “occasional blogger,” but over the last few months I kind of became a “rare blogger” (if that’s even a thing).

So, with the start of the new year, I thought I would make an effort to blog a little more and with that, I thought I’d give the blog a new look. With the free WordPress themes, it was pretty easy to do.

I’m not one for making a bunch of resolutions (or any most years), but I ran across a verse last week while preparing for our New Years Day church service.

Early in the book of Acts, Peter and John performed a miracle that gathered a lot of attention. With a captive, intrigued audience, Peter and John began to preach about Jesus and His resurrection.

Their message brought opposition from some of the religious leaders and Peter and John were questioned about how they were able to heal this man.

After responding to their accusers that it was through the power of Jesus that the man was healed, the religious leaders made this observation about Peter and John:

“The members of the council were amazed when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, for they could see that they were ordinary men with no special training in the Scriptures. They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.
(Acts 4:13)

As we begin  a new year, whether we make a list of resolutions or not, that would be a great way to be described – that people would recognize as someone who had been with Jesus.

Happy New Year!

 

#stumin Resource Deal Ends Soon

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LAST CHANCE: Over $500 in Downloadable Resources for Youth Ministry, ONLY $49! It’s over in about 90 hours. Click here to grab it before it’s gone.

Resource Bundle includes::
A Social Media eBook for Churches (never been released!) written by Terrace Crawford
A Teaching Series Planning Guide
A Personal Growth Assessment
A Ready-to-Go Giving Letter for Donors\Sponsors
An Events Guide Brochure Template
A How-To Brochure Template
A Business Cards Template

RESOURCE BUNDLE MAIN FEATURES:
4 Week Teaching Series: There’s a Better Way to Live
4 Week Bible Study: Kingdom Leader
A One-off Message & Student Challenge Project: 21 Days
4 Week Teaching Series: I Am
A One-off Message: Last Words (of Jesus)
King or Kayne Crowd PPT Game
First Jobs Crowd PPT Game
Game of Phones Crowd PPT Game
Name This Crowd PPT Game
Admin Forms Package
Event Registration Agreement
Medical Release Template
Scholarship Application
Volunteer Sign-in Sheet
Student Leadership Application
One off Permission Form
Baptism (Event) Media Package
Ministry Strategic Planning Worksheet
Budget Planning Guide
Social Media Weekly Planning Guide
Facebook Promo Graphics Package
A Social Media Inspirational Graphics Package
Youth Ministry Marketing Template
Personal Leader Assessment
Ministry Assessment

It disappears in just a few days. Go grab a Resource Bundle.

Youth Ministry Black Friday Deal

ministry-downloadsIt’s no surprise that Black Friday is almost here. There’s always a sense of anticipation as people look for the great deal. This Black Friday, youth pastors can score a great deal of youth ministry resources.

On Black Friday an End of the Year Resource Bundle will be available at Ministry Downloads for youth pastors.  There will be over $500 worth of ministry resources for only $49!  Plus, there bonuses & prizes for the FIRST 10 to purchase!  You can head to the site, sign up to be notified when it goes live and get your hands on some resources for your ministry including teaching series, Bible studies, games and more.

Check out Ministry Downloads for a Black Friday youth ministry deal…and you don’t have to fight the crowds!

 

Is Facebook Dead? (Hint: it’s not…)

facebook-jaggedSocial media has changed the way we interact with each other and the world.  I saw a story on the news today that people are angry at Facebook for allowing false news story to be posted on the site.  The problem?  Those false news stories, some are saying, had a negative impact on our recent presidential election.  How true that might be is unclear, but it does speak to the fact that social media has a huge influence in our world.

I received an email this week from Jon Acuff with the title Is Facebook Dead?  I thought what he shared was pretty interesting in regards to how Facebook stacks up in numbers with other social media sites.

Near the beginning of this year I posted some information I read about the State of Social Media.  I have also shared an article about the growth of Instagram and other social media related topics.  I think it’s interesting to see what’s happening with real numbers compared to what other people are saying about the power and reach of various social media platforms.

Basically, that’s what Acuff shared.  In his article he gives information about the same article he posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.  While all of those social media sites showed good engagement from those who saw it, Facebook had the largest numbers far and away.

Here are the numbers:  On Facebook, it was shared 7,384 times. It was liked 18,000 times. And most importantly, it had a reach of 2,899,540 people. Let me repeat that. On Facebook, the post reached 2.8 million people.

Then Acuff made these two observations:

  1. If you’re an entrepreneur, ignore Facebook at your peril.
  2. Facebook might not be the coolest platform, but it is the most effective

You can see the entire article on Jon Acuff’s website.  If you are one who uses social media to engage others, this is pretty interesting information to think about.