New Friend Request

30 10 2011

Series Overview

We all want friends—even if we don’t want to admit it. We all want someone to hang out with, someone to talk to, someone who knows us. But friendship requires something from us. It’s not just what we get or what makes us feel comfortable or happy. There’s a smart way to do friendship, a way with intention, a way that will draw us closer to God’s heart—if we surround ourselves with the right people. That doesn’t mean our friends have to be clones of us—but it does mean that they at least help us move in the right direction.

Session One: Accept? (October 30, 2011) 

Having friends is great. Whether you want one, or you already have one, there’s just something about having other people in your life who you can count on. For many, friendships just happen. A new friend is in the right place at the right time. And while friendships may start out randomly, there is an intentionality about who we allow close to us—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because the people who are closest to you have influence on your life. They help shape who you are. So who are the friends closest to you . . . and how are they influencing you?

Session One Parent Cue: Who are some of your closest friends? Why are these people so important to you?

Session Two: Respond? (November 6, 2011)

Someone to listen to my problems. Someone to do stuff with. Someone to talk to constantly. Someone to hang out with. When you make a list of what qualities you want in a friend, how many of the things on your list involve what that person can do for you? Most of us would have to admit that it’s a lot. But the best friendships are ones that are not just about what the other person can do for you—the best friendships also involve how you can be there for someone else. How you can listen, instead of always talking. How you can give someone space when he or she needs it, or just hang out when your friend needs that too. In other words, the best friendships are not centered solely on you—and that’s a good thing.

Session Two Parent Cue: What are some ways you’ve been able to help out your friends?

Session Three: Ignore? (November 13, 2011)

Relationships=conflict. It’s natural. It’s part of two people relating to one another because at some point, you’re not going to agree. One person will do something the other person doesn’t like. One person will let the other person down. One person will say or do something stupid. It happens. And at some point, it happens to us—either we’re the person making the mess, or the one who is feeling the effects of the mess. So how do you navigate your way through the drama? Do you just ignore it and hope it goes away? Do you just drop that friend? Or do you find a way to work it out? The choice is yours.

Session Three Parent Cue: What is the biggest fight you’ve ever had with a friend? What was the outcome? 



12 10 2011

Series Overview

If you haven’t noticed by now, we’re going to clue you in on something big about God—He doesn’t exactly operate like most of us. What we mean is, He chooses the most unlikely people to work through. He shows up in the most unlikely places. And then He asks us to respond in ways that are unlikely and go against our normal response. And what it all boils down to is this—you and I are unlikely people God uses in unlikely places to respond in unlikely ways.

Session One: An Unlikely Person (October 9, 2011)

Sometimes we think that everyone else is more qualified or likely than we are to be a part of God’s story. But even though we may feel insignificant, unimportant or unworthy, God says we are not only valuable—we are wanted! Even though we, or even others, would declare us unlikely, God says we’re not. He declares the unlikely, “likely.” Because what God wants is people who are available—He always picks availability over ability.

Session One Parent Cue: Describe a time when you felt unlikely. 

Session Two: An Unlikely Place (October 16, 2011)

At youth group. At a retreat. With Christian friends. Those are the likely places we expect to find God. But the funny thing about Him is that He doesn’t like to be boxed in. God shows up in the most unlikely places. Just look at how Jesus came into the world—in relative obscurity. And if we look at some areas of our lives, we would probably say that God would show up anywhere but here—whether “here” is homeroom, the hallways at school, your job bagging groceries or even your home. But remember that God shows up in the most unlikely places.

Session Two Parent Cue: Have you ever sent glimpses of God at work in unlikely places or circumstances? 

Session Three: An Unlikely Response (October 23, 2011)

If someone hits you, you hit him back. Or if someone says something mean about you, you say something mean back. Be cool with people who are cool to you and dislike people who are not. Now, some of us wouldn’t come right out and say we agree with those statements. But behind closed doors or in our heads, most of us would agree with it. This week, we’re going to take a look at some Jesus’ words, words that called for some very unlikely responses to those around us.

Session Three Parent Cue: Jesus calls us to respond in unlikely ways. What are some ways that you can respond in unlikely ways to the people you encounter each day? (bless those who curse you, forgive, etc.) 

The Unlikely Parent

12 10 2011

Parents sometimes feel like the most unlikely people in the world.  But God thinks otherwise.  Here’s some encouragement from our student ministry.  We believe in you!


By Tim Walker

The concept of “unlikely” is nothing new to parents, is it? Just think about it. As parents, we are constantly realizing we are unlikely people God uses in unlikely places to respond in unlikely ways. Let’s break that down (insert crazy beat, okay, maybe not):

We are unlikely. No matter how much we thought we knew about being a parent before we actually were one, there is nothing that makes a mom or dad feel unlikely than coming home with a newborn baby. Being a parent changes everything. We never hear a screaming baby in the store or a restaurant the same way again. We never look at a tired parent chasing a toddler the same way again. We never look at the parent of a teen standing there dazed and confused the same way again. Becoming a parent brings the reality that no matter how much we thought we knew, we realize it’s not as simple as we once thought.

There are times when we feel like the most ineffective parent, and then there are times when we get a sense of hope that maybe the future therapy bill of our children may not be as high as we feared it would be.

As much as parenting may seem like a roller coaster of a ride, God placed us in this role on purpose. He gave us the role to be our child’s mother, or our child’s father. Even though we may have considered ourselves an unlikely person to be a parent, or wondering since becoming one if we are as qualified for the job as we think we should be, God thinks we are. That’s why He entrusted our child to our care. The Bible is filled with examples of God using unlikely people—people who had counted themselves out, and people others counted out as well. But the more these unlikely people leaned into Him and made themselves available, the more God worked through them.

God uses us in unlikely places. It seems like there’s no more unlikely place to find God than cleaning up after a sick child in the middle of the night. Or waiting in a long line at an amusement park. Or driving the kids to practice or class. But God can use even the most mundane, ordinary, unlikely places in our lives to impact others. Sometimes it’s in the places we would least expect to find God that we run straight into Him.

But it isn’t just the physical places that seem unlikely for big things to happen. Sometimes life throws us curve balls and with little to no warning and we find ourselves in the midst of a job loss, an illness, or a divorce. It’s in these places that we wonder, “Can anything good come from here? Can this be used for anything bigger than just hurt and pain?” Fortunately, God has a reputation for showing up in the places we least expect Him to, to do the things we would least anticipate. After all, He chose a stable to make His appearance on Earth and a cross as a way to conquer death. Not exactly what we may have had in mind. But God isn’t limited by an unlikely situation or an unlikely place.

No matter how broken your home, no matter how financially messy your life, no matter how stressful your job, don’t count God out. He just may show up when you least expect Him. Look for Him.

God calls us to respond in unlikely ways. One of the more tricky things about parenting is, just when it seems like we have it figured out, our kids change, grow up and throw a wrench in our whole philosophy. We can never stay comfortable where we are for very long.

There will be times when we will best love our kids by providing boundaries and discipline, and there are times when we will best love our kids by extending grace in the midst of some big mistakes. Unfortunately, there is no formula or equation to figure out when to do what. Parenting keeps us on our toes—requiring us to grow and change in our parenting skills just as our kids grown and mature.

The one constant is our need to remember to love. At all times. At all costs. Sometimes that seems like too big a request. An unlikely response when our teenager has pushed every last button and challenged every last rule. But those are the times we can best demonstrate the heart God has for them—and for us too. Responding in love is a lesson worth learning. It may not feel natural. And it may not come easily. But it can be the beginning of you and your child better understanding the love God has lavished on us.

So just remember, even though you may feel like an unlikely candidate in an unlikely place to be the parent your teenager needs, God can use you just as you are, just where you are, to respond in unlikely ways.

© 2010 The reThink Group, Inc. Used with permission.

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