Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Dip (book)

A while back I read a book by author Seth Godin titled, "The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (And When To Stick)". It was quite interesting and honestly a bit unsettling. According to Godin, the "dip" is the barrier between those who try and those who succeed. The book helps you to think about the long-term consequences of quitting. Certainly there are some things we should never quit and learn the biblical character qualities of patience and perseverance. Things like following and obeying Jesus, family life (marriage & parenting). However, there are some things where we have to consider and ask, "Is _______ worth my time and effort? Should I persevere or quit?" It may be a project, a relationship, a business, a ministry or whatever, we all travel through dips. The point is, for the sake of our life's God-given calling, gifts, talents, resources and purpose we need to carefully decide our priorities and investments.

Here are a few quotes I jotted down from the book. Enjoy,

"Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time." p.3

The "biggest obstacle to success [and effectiveness] in life... is our inability to quit soon enough." p. 22

"The people who set out to make it through the Dip - the people who invest the time and the energy and the effort to power through the Dip - those are the ones who become the best in the world." p. 23

"A woodpecker can tap 20 times on 1000 trees and get no where, but stay busy. Or he can tap 20,000 times on one tree and get dinner." p. 29

Here are 7 reasons you might fail to become the best:

1) You run out of time and quit.

2) You run out of money and quit.

3) You get scared and quit.

4) You're not serious about it and quit.

5) You lose interest or enthusiasm or settle for being mediocre and quit.

6) You focus on the short term instead of the long and quit when the short term gets too hard.

7) You pick the wrong thing at which to be the best in the world.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gospel Comes To Life, pt 3

Mark Driscoll, in summary, gave three helpful applications for the gospel and culture.

1) Some things we must reject outright from culture. These are things that are completely incompatible with God and the Bible. There can be no compromise on these things. Examples may include homosexuality, abortion, porn... these are moral sins that are found in the commands of Scripture.

2) Some things we can receive from culture. These are things that God has given humanity the intelligence and innovation to create and bring about for the common good. God sends rain on the just and unjust (Matthew 5:45). An example is the use of medicine, doctors, etc.

3) Some things we must redeem from culture. There are some things that were morally good or neutral but culture has corrupted. They must be reclaimed for God's purposes. Examples may include certain technology or inventions, sex, gender and relationship views and others.

These 3 categories are helpful in trying to discern how a Christian is to relate to culture without watering down or abandoning the heart of the gospel.

Gospel Comes To Life pt 2

The gospel of Jesus is powerful. It stands against any other worldview and gives the most comprehensive answer to life’s questions. It gives the answer for why evil exists, how to handle suffering, where to turn for freedom and hope and ultimately gives life a purpose. Yet, Christians often think or act like the gospel is weak and impotent. We live in depression and defeat over the sin in our lives, we fail to share and give a reason for the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15), and we barely understand the difference between Christianity and other competing worldviews. Ultimately, followers of Jesus are called to become infused with the gospel that they are able to engage the surrounding culture with God’s grace, the power to transform lives.

Before Jesus left the earth he prayed, “I have given them your word and the world has hated them for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world” (John 17:14-18).

At this conference, Pastor Mark Driscoll made a few observations about the way Christian interact with the surrounding culture. Here are some of the ways he listed:

Christians are like the Pharisees or Essenes:
They avoid the culture by creating sub cultures. It’s the mindset that church culture is a bomb shelter; huddle up and hide. Christians become innocent but extremely naïve. The problem with this view is that evil not only exists outside of ourselves but inside our hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” An example he gave was the home school movement. This is not to say that all who home school are wrong. But the motivation for doing so should be evaluated. If all Christians left public school system or sports leagues, stores, or any other public arena, then how will they be a witness for Christ to the world? Jesus said his prayer was not to take us out of the world but have protection from the evil one.

Christians are like the Sadducees:
They accommodate the culture. The church simply mirrors or reflects worldly styles and trends. In this case it becomes difficult to discern the difference between Christians and unbelievers. By default, the love of the world becomes god. The obvious problem with this view is producing god-substitutes rather than a clear difference and reason to become transformed by God’s grace and have devotion to Him alone.

Christians are like the Zealots:
They violently attack the culture for everything wrong that exists. They may be right in doing so but their methods are by far from honoring God or loving toward people. The church becomes known for what it is against and never what it is for or in support. The problem with this view is that it is arrogant and prideful. It forgets the reality that we are all saved by the mercy and grace of God. And it fails to offer the intended purpose of the gospel to transform others.

Christians are like the Disciples:
They seek to influence the culture with the gospel. They understand they are not perfect models but they point to the One that is, Jesus Christ. They have accepted the call to be on mission with God to redeem a lost and dark world without hope if they do not receive the gospel. The church becomes very public and culture shapers while remaining counter cultural. Christians are sent as missionaries just as Jesus was sent into the world (John 17:18).

So which are you and your family? Which category does your church fall into? If you find yourself in one of the first three categories then be honest in your evaluation. Repent of your sin of indifference, compromise or arrogance. Begin to make steps of faith to become more Christ-like. Follow the path and courage of the early disciples that others may take note that we have been captured by the extravagant beauty of God’s grace desiring to reflect that with others (Acts 4:13).

Gospel Comes To Life

A few weeks ago I attended a conference at Southeastern Seminary (my alma mater). It was called The Gospel Comes To Life. It was a great conference theme showing how the gospel is relevant for any culture and is useful not just for Christians to get saved but a way of thinking and acting in all of life.

I attended a couple break out sessions. Here were some notes from one.

Breakout: Psychology's Gospel and The Gospel's Psychology by Dr. Sam Williams

Biblical counselors must reclaim the cure (salvation) and care (sanctification) for souls. The fundamental problem with humanity is that we are sinners. Every soul is broken and disordered and it traces all the way back to the original fall of mankind (Genesis 3). We cannot manage or cope with this problem with our own solutions. The only cure and freedom is found in the offer of forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Jesus frees souls from a history of messes, mistakes and failures. Even more, the continuing care for our souls is found in repentance, faith and obedience to God and His Word. At the heart of the issue is everyone is a worshiper, therefore every problem we face is a worship problem. The question is who or what are we worshiping and what is it that we are using to find "freedom"? This is the goal of biblical counseling and there is a difference from biblical counseling and "Christian counseling". Christian counseling is often secular counseling cloaked in christianese language. To be clear, if prayer and seeking God's wisdom through the Scriptures is not central to your counseling experience then it's highly unlikely there will be any effective or long-term benefit to your sessions.

Dr. Williams offers this quote from David Fitch (The Great Giveaway):

"...psychology is an intepretive enterprise that shapes the very way we make sense out of our lives and see the world... It is a structure for the interpretation and understanding of self-identity... schools of psychology have as much interpretation in them as any religious history or other sytem of knowledge... As [others have noted], the therapist sits in a position of power over me imposing this pre-structured story line upon how I am recounting my life. The patient is virtually submitting his or her life to be analyzed and re-narrated according to a particular brand of psychology... Christianity and psychology do not necessarily lead to the same truth and experience. Instead, they are two different ways of interpreting our reality, producing two different ways of experiencing and living in the world... Now the all important question for the Christian entering therapy becomes, out of what story will I allow my life to be formed, Jung (or some other theorist) or [Jesus] Christ?"

God's Word on the subject:
Colossians 2:2-8 My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Another resource that has been helpful to me and that I am considering further education opportunities with is This is probably the leading organization when it comes to restoring Christ and the Scirptures to counseling.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Monday Leftovers...


Josh McDowell in his book, The Last Christian Generation (p.60) says, “Parents carry more weight – for good or bad – than they give themselves credit for. How a child thinks and acts is still molded by his or her home life, which means the crumbling foundations of the faith among this generation is as much a parental problem as a church problem, if not more so. If we’re going to reclaim the next generation, then the home and the church must join forces together like never before.”

Teach your child to obey/worship (Eph 6:1-3).
Paul directly addresses children in the Ephesians letter. The presence of children in the congregations where the letter is to be read can be taken for granted.
[1] The command is for children to obey parents. This command is repeated either directly or indirectly at least 11X (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16, 22:7; Matthew 15:4, 19:19; Mark 7:10, 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:1-2; Colossians 3:20; 1 Timothy 5:3-8). This is an insurmountable principle hammered throughout the Scriptures and cannot be overlooked. Children honor their parents by obeying them.

The language of obedience is active and ongoing, υπακουετε meaning to listen under, to submit and heed authority. In other words, the command is to keep on obeying your parents. Obedience and honoring one’s parents does not stop at a certain age. However, this does not negate individuals becoming mature, fully independent and responsible adults.

In the Bible, obedience is closely related to the idea of worship; they are almost synonymous. Obedience is to be from the heart, with a desire to please the person. How does all of this relate to parent partnerships to grow godly generations? How can we teach children to obey and worship?

1. By nature, children are worshipers; we all are. They either worship Jesus or they worship an idol or false god; neutrality is not an option. Worshiping anything other than God is a sin and violation of the first and second commandments. For parents, one of the first assignments is to bring out this reality of right and wrong. We cannot obey God in ourselves. That is why we need a Savior. Parents can shepherd their child's heart by pointing them to this reality. And part of this process is discipline and correction.

Proverbs 22:15 “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.”

Much can be said about disciplining a child. I recommend the excellent book by Tedd Tripp, “Shepherding A Child’s Heart”. Its counsel and advice is biblical and God-centered rather than the plethora of worldly goals and techniques offered on parenting today. Any Christian parent should make it their #1 book to read apart from the Bible on parenting.

The point I wish to make is discipline must first start at home. You will notice through the book of Ephesians, 2 main institutions: the home and the church. It is the parents who are commanded with the responsibility to teach children obedience and proper worship. It is not the role of any corporate/social organization (church, school, day care, etc.) to discipline your child. In fact, it is that much more difficult if for such organization to accomplish its mission if home discipline has been negligent.

Correction teaches the reality of consequences. It communicates that obedience is an essential character trait to learn and apply throughout all of life. Even adults must obey authorities, laws and yes even honor parents! Ultimately, correction prepares children for that day when eternal destinies will be fixed. Will your child be ready for this day by the way you have disciplined and corrected your child. To remember, and perhaps most importantly, discipline is a heart issue not behavior modification. You must lovingly point your child to the reality they are a sinner in desperate need of God’s forgiveness and grace in Jesus Christ.[2]

2. Parents can teach children to obey by loving what is good. Worshiping Jesus is the greatest and highest action any person can do. Parents model this through faithful, consistent participation in the corporate worship of God in a local church.

Psalm 84:1-2, 10 “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God… Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Priorities and repeated behaviors communicate to children what parents value. If you did something 884 times the cumulative message is that “this matters”! Well, that is how many opportunities you have to take your child to Sunday worship until they are age 17. Parents may raise objections to say it is not reasonable because of hectic schedules families face. While there may be some truth, I want to offer some helpful tips for making Sunday worship a priority.

- Discipline your Saturday nights. Get a good night sleep, have clothes picked out, and other items ready to help the morning time contain less stress and conflict. Help your child anticipate and see the worship service as a special.

- Prepare your Sunday mornings. Eat a good breakfast, turn off the t.v. and prepare your heart to corporately worship God. Pray with your family, read Scripture together, listen to praise music.

- Unite your family. This involves sitting together with your children. Try sitting up close where children can see what is taking place in the service. Don’t be afraid to explain what is going on. Help them participate in the worship service by discussing what will take place as you look in the bulletin. Bring a special notebook/crayons/pens, etc. for children to “take notes.” Tell them to write/draw things they enjoy in the service or write questions. Make a list of items for them to draw or words for them to listen for in the music and sermon. Model the process of taking notes and have them watch what you are writing and doing during the service. Remember, you are the living example!

- Summarize your Sunday. Praise and encourage your children when they have worshiped well on Sunday morning. Ask your children what they learned. Move beyond “yes” and “no” questions to seize the opportunity in teaching and nurturing your child. Be creative and do a project that was based on the sermon. Make use of the new Sunday School curriculum pages that are being sent home to enhance discussion during the week.

- Pray for/with your family. It is no coincidence that Paul discusses spiritual warfare following his instructions concerning family relationships in Ephesians 5-6. A battle is being waged against your family and the greatest weapon your family has is prayer. Pray for/with your family- even beyond the family meal.

- Remember your calling. Training a child to love God and enjoy corporate worship is not easy; it’s counter culture. It will take significant time and effort to shepherd your child’s heart over the course of his or her life. The key is to remember your calling before God and trust God for the results. The benefits you will receive far outweigh the challenges you will face in knowing you are investing in the next generation to know and serve the Lord.

- Cultivate your friendships. Make opportunities for your child to talk with the worship leaders and pastors. Invite them to your home or out to eat so that they will feel that the worship leaders and pastors are approachable and friendly.

- Recommended Resource: Parenting in the Pew: Guiding Your Children into the Joy of Worship by Robbie Castleman. See Pastor Dave for study guide to coincide with book.

Teach your child to feed/grow (discipleship) (Eph 6:4)
Paul also commands parents, specifically fathers, to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Again, the language of the command is continuous (εκτρεφετε) to imply keep on feeding and training your child. It is the same word used in verse 29 of caring for your own body. The goal is for fathers to take an active role in maturing your children to spiritual growth.

I want to make a couple observations on this point and then share some other unique perspectives with you.

- Discipleship starts early.
I cannot emphasize enough the need to expose your child to spiritual truth during their earliest years. George Barna says that a child’s moral, spiritual, physical, intellectual, emotional and relational foundations of people’s lives are determined primarily before age 13.

- Discipleship takes intentionality.
Your child will not know or understand spiritual truth by default. In fact the opposite will happen, and perhaps disastrous consequences may occur. As parents, you must set some goals for your child’s spiritual growth. You must also understand how to accomplish such goals. I believe in this area our expectations are too low. We need to be challenged to raise the expectations for our children and as we do I believe our children will rise to the occasion.

- Discipleship happens relationally.
When Jesus wanted to make disciples he called people to “be with” him (Mark 3:14). This is where the partnership with other parents and the church fits in as well. By the family and the church relationally walking alongside each other we can set our sights on raising spiritual champions for Christ and growing godly generations.

Andy Stanley says that we are making our children experience rich but relationally poor.[4] We give our children experiences in school, sports, competition, trips and travel but we cannot forget that our children long to just be with us.

There is one perfect person that we can partner together in our parenting and raising up the next generation. That is the Heavenly Father. God does not want you to do this alone. He wants you to be in relationship with him. Are you in relationship with God? Have you committed your family to journey on the foundation of God and his Word?

- What makes it difficult to reach today's generation, the Millenials?
- Why does obedience have a negative connotation?
What can you do to show that joy is a byproduct of obedience?
- Of the 8 helpful tips to prepare your family for Sunday worship, which are the most challenging? Easy?
- Of the 3 observations concerning child discipleship, what stands out to you and why?
- What parenting goals will you begin to establish for your children? How will you implement them?

- What are some ways your family can partner with others through the church to raise godly generations? (The Mattox's spoke of a few... get the recording!)

[1] The Expositors Bible Commentary, Ephesians 6:1.
[2] Again, I refer to Tedd Tripp in Shepherding a Child’s Heart, especially pp. 103-117. Also, Russell Moore’s article, The Eschatology of Parenting found at
[3] Transforming Children into Spiritual Champion, 2003.
[4] Parental Guidance Required, DVD.

Monday, February 16, 2009

HGG, part 2

This is the last message in our TEXT LOVE series; just as teen relationships fade quickly so too our series comes to an end! This will be part 2 of HGG. As you may remember, a HGG is a Hot Godly Guy or Hot Godly Girl. Becoming a woman of godly character indeed both a rarity and a noble task (Proverbs 31:10). Yet, the society we live in does not promise to be of much assistance.
- 1 million teen girls become pregnant each year in the U.S.
- 1 in 3 girls have had sex by age 16; 2 of 3 by age 18.
- Eating disorders are 3rd most chronic illness among teen girls.
- Almost 35% of high school girls feel sad or hopeless almost every day for at least 2 weeks.
- There are increases in binge drinking among teen girls, who are more likely to consume hard liquor than their beer-inclined male counterparts.
- A young girl named Lyn Fromme sought to wreck her life with alcohol, drugs, rebellious living and attempted murder all for the sake of a guy who “loved” her. When asked why she said, “I decided when I was 17 years old that whoever loved me first could have my life.” If only she had known Jesus loved her first and more!

The place to look for becoming a HGG is none other than the Bible, specifically Proverbs 31. A HGG knows value is in her character.

HGG character means selfless serving.
The Proverbs 31 woman is not idle or lazy in her work ethic. Scripture notes her industrious lifestyle of working “with eager hands” (31:13) to help support and provide for her family and servants (31:15). This type of woman understands that her work is to be done as working for the Lord and to be done with all her might and effort (Col.3:23). An extension of this truth is that the virtuous woman is giving and gracious to others. “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy” (31:20). Such a woman is not selfish but seeks to benefit and aid others through her hard work and lifestyle. She brings good and not harm to others (31:12).

Teen girls often suffer from low confidence and assurance. They wonder if they can be of use to anyone and if there is an ultimate purpose to their life. The result of these things is depressed, angry, lonely and profoundly vulnerable girls. Jimmie Davis notes that “Girls try to fill the need emotionally… focus[ing] on how they look and feel (consider their obsession with makeup, hair, dress, and nails)… Many girls are willing to do anything to be accepted”
[2] and find their sense of worth.

This shows the necessity of showing girls God has a plan and purpose for their life. He uniquely created them (Psalm 139) with gifts, personalities and abilities to be of use to the greatest kingdom of all – that of serving Jesus. Teaching girls to recognize their worth through serving others is immeasurable. Jesus calls us to look beyond ourselves that we may be of benefit to God and others (John 10:24-26). In a me-first culture teens must grasp the awesome calling that God has placed on us all to live for him.

HGG character means wise ways.
The Proverbs 31 woman not to be underestimated in her intellect or capabilities. Her work is not confined to meaningless activity. She is quite industrious and wise in her business dealings. She plans her daily schedule getting up early in order to provide for her family and her servant girls (31:15). Her wisdom is displayed in the arena of real estate, as she considers and purchases land which in turn will be useful for business (31:16). All her trade and work is profitable (31:18). And faithful instruction is on her tongue to speak wise advice to others (31:26).

Most teen girls are smart (Or smarter than boys their age J. This is true even though girls can/will play less smart in fear of intimidating boys or in attempt to earn their acceptance. This in itself shows the intellect of the teen female intellect). They have the intellect to handle life’s situations, but they are lacking the emotional and spiritual maturity to do so. They need the godly example of female role models. The Apostle Paul instructed the church for mature women to train the younger women (Titus 2:3-5). Young girls are in need of receiving wisdom in what it means to be a HGG and how to become all that God intends them to become. Davis says, girls need help in sorting through the unite problems of womanhood. Girls are “searching for answers and, unfortunately, are finding answers based on worldly standards. Girls need someone who understands, and no one understands like another female!”

HGG character means confident charm.
The Proverbs 31 woman has confident charm because she understands real beauty is not found in her external appearance but in her internal character. She is not concerned about unattainable air-brushed, short-lived images the world presents for a female but she seeks to cultivate the character of her heart (1 Peter 3:3-4). A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (31:30). Her goal is to leave an eternal legacy among her family, that her children and husband will speak well of her (31:28), as well as those who know her in the community (31:31). A spiritual legacy always surpasses an earthly legacy.

· Why is becoming a HGG important?
· How do you know that society does not offer much help in creating a HGG?
· Is character more important than good looks? Explain.
· Share some specific examples about the difference between someone who is selfish and someone who is not.
· How can the parents and youth leaders help teen girls overcome low confidence and assurance?
· Why is it important for Men to mentor boys and Women to mentor girls?
· What is charm? What is confident charm, according to this message?

[1] The following stats and story are from Girls’ Ministry Handbook: Starting and Growing a Girls’ Ministry in Your Church. Jimmie Davis. p. 8-9.
[2] Ibid. 22.
[3] Ibid. 27.

Some have asked about the role for Christians and dating. Here are 2 questions to ask before you date. My suggestion is if you say no to either of these questions then you probably should not date but be friends with the person.
1) Are you ready to be married?
2) Could you see yourself married to this person?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

HGG and Beyond...

Well, this Sunday the final message in our TEXT LOVE series… well, sort of. Let me explain.

First, I’m in the process of writing an article on the topic perhaps called “Digital Discipleship”. My goal is to offer a resource for parents and youth leaders alike who really want to understand how to connect and train this new generation of children. We have got to figure out how to communicate the gospel with children and teens in a culture that wants to take them the opposite direction. We cannot let happen what happened in Judges 2:10-11 “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers [the one’s of Joshua’s day who knew God and saw the miracles of following his ways], another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. Then they did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served [other gods].” Let’s keep praying and focusing on our mission of partnering together to grow godly generations.

Second, I have heard it described before about ministry that leaders must find the waves and keep surfing. When the waves die find new ones. Or perhaps a more familiar way of explaining it that profoundly impacted me and my walk with God was an Experiencing God Bible study that said, “Find where God is working and join him”. So with that being said, I think I’ve found a surfing zone. Or at least an area where God wants to continue probing in my life and in the hearts of our youth ministry. You see, the TEXT LOVE series has simply been about God making you look more like Jesus through the context of relationships. Sanctification (God making you look more like Jesus) and holiness does not happen in isolation of other people. Your holiness is a community project .

For the next few week’s we’ll be surfing on a few more waves but they won’t look the same. But rest assured, they are waves from the same source. Our next series will explore common habits… sins that infect our lives and the way we treat others. It will be called Se7en for the 7 Deadly Sins. YES, I know the Bible does not teach different levels of sin, yet there are one’s that stand out that we can learn how to avoid their influence. In all, this theme was actually a request from a couple of our youth. To somewhat oblige and also to continue riding the wave we will see where God will take us from there.

Until then, surf’s up!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TOP 10 reasons to come feb 14

Just wanted to remind you the TOP 10 reasons to come this Saturday, February 14 5PM Sweetheart's Night

1. You get to have real conversations (not texting) and hang out with friends along with meeting new ones.

2. You get to see an extreme valentine makeover for our church fellowship hall.

3. You get to enjoy a fantastic dinner... mmm, I can almost taste it now. Dinner starts at 5PM. Youth should be there 4pm to organize dinner & childcare service.

4. The desserts will be off the hook (that means really tasty), as they always are thanks to many of you great bakers out there!

5. You get to invite unbelieving friends to a non-threatening opportunity of hearing the gospel through a solid, family-friendly dramatic comedy movie, Fireproof. If you're not signed up for the dinner or can't make it for some reason the movie starts at 7PM.

6. You get to enrich your marriage by spending TIME with your spouse! Men, we all need a few extra deposits in this bank account :) Even if you're not married you will enrich your future marriage or just get a kick out of watching 45 year old men try to fight back tears while watching a movie.

7. You get to enjoy a meal without children having a food fight at the dinner table.

8. You get see if our church's water pump will continue to work for 2 weeks in a row (jk, it's definitely fixed now... we hope, gulp!)

9. You get to give generously to our youth ministry who work hard at providing quality events for parents, church members and guests.

10. You get to memorialize this historic moment in time with a valentine picture for just $5.

11. I know it's a top 10 but we gotta give you one extra...You get to enter to win 1 of 3 of the super cool door prizes.

Monday, February 2, 2009


We’ve been talking about “TEXT LOVE”. Text Love is the current style of teen relationships. It’s superficial and short-lived. It’s quick (started in seconds), easy (the touch of your fingertips), and casual (no long conversations or challenging content). It’s kind of like fast-food, well intentioned but without any substance. These relational qualities sound attractive at first but after deeper understanding one can clearly see its short-comings. Rather than developing authentic personal relationships with the sense of friendship and community we all crave, we have short-changed ourselves redefining love and the purpose of relationships.

To counter these trends teens will have to make some changes, starting with themselves. To find your future mate and true love you must first become someone who is worthy of true love (one person says "dateable"). To put it another way, you must focus on being the right person before finding the right person to date. It starts with you; you becoming a HGG.

HGG is a 2 part ending to our series. We will talk about what it means to become a Hot Godly Guy or Hot Godly Girl.

1 Kings 2-3

A HGG is serious about his walk (2:1-3)
In this passage King David is passing his legacy on to his son, Solomon. David was acclaimed for his military strength and leadership but also for his passionate heart to worship God. The last charge before his death given to his son encouraged Solomon to walk with God. David understood there is no substitute for godliness and integrity. To be a man, Solomon was to remain faithful to God and obey his commands.

Consistent godly character and integrity are lacking among today’s teens. It’s not that there is not evidence of these things. It’s just that teen godliness and discipleship are rare rather than the norm. This is an unfortunate trend and requires immediate attention. I believe it starts with parents and funnels down to the teens. Parents must take back the spiritual responsibility of raising their children they have neatly handed off to the programmatic church. God has given this stewardship to parents and the church is to support and encourage the home. Parents can start by making Jesus and His Word a priority in the home. Reading, discussing and applying Scripture must become part of family routines. However, be careful that this is not a superficial or short-lived act. Teens can easily spot spiritual frauds. Likewise, teens can begin to realize the difficulty of choosing and maintaining priorities. You cannot be, have or do all the things you would like in life. Activities, trips, experiences must be carefully and perhaps strategically selected for intentional purposes. Ask, why am I doing this? How will this benefit my personal/spiritual growth? Some difficult choices may need to be made but with faithful commitments a foundation can be laid for a life time of walking with God.

A HGG is serious about his family (2:4).
Solomon was challenged to remain faithful to God and walk in his ways, keeping the commandments. In doing so, Solomon would continue the legacy of his father. God promised Solomon’s father, David that the royal throne of Israel would not be taken from his descendants. In fact, the promised Messiah would come from David’s line. However, this was dependent on faithfulness to walking with God.

This is overlooked in a society where children often rebel against authority, parents and ultimately God. Parent’s should be mindful to make early and frequent investments in their children so they are able to value carrying the legacy of walking with God. Children should understand that their decisions and actions impact more than their own life. The way a child lives his/her life affects parents, family members and even more, future generations. God told Moses & the Israelites that he would punish “the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation… but show love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:5-6). The point of application is your life and walk is more than being about only yourself; it affects countless others.

A HGG is serious about his influence (3:1-14)
Later, Solomon would take over as Israel’s king. God granted Solomon the opportunity to have his desires fulfilled. Solomon could have requested worldly pleasure but instead chose eternal influence. He asked God for wisdom to govern and discern right and wrong. As king over an entire nation, he needed spiritual wisdom to lead others to following the ways of God. Solomon’s influence was known throughout the whole world (see ch. 10) and has lasted even to modern times.

A HGG is someone who looks at the world around them and sees opportunity to make a difference for Jesus. God has gifted and shaped every person with skills and abilities to help others and glorify God. HGG’s are not content to be spectators but active participants in what God is doing in and through them.

In conclusion, those ladies who are looking for a man should look for one with these characteristics. Seeking one who has prioritized his life around things that matter, eternal essentials (Walk – God); seeking one who is selfless, respectful and honoring to others (Family); and seeking one who is not a crowd follower but a leader and difference maker (Influence). Are you a HGG? Are you looking for a HGG?


· Describe “TEXT LOVE” in your own words. How does your definition compare to Dave’s? What do you think are possible consequences of this trend in teen relationships?
· Why is becoming a HGG important?
· What does it mean to be serious about your walk with Jesus? What beliefs and behaviors does such a person have?
· Do you think teen discipleship is a rarity rather than a norm? Explain.
· Discuss how your actions can impact other people in your family and perhaps even friends.
· What can our family do to show we are serious about each other and about God?