The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: If I Were You

6 05 2012

Session 4 (May 6, 2012)

Are you who the person you are looking for is looking for?  This is an important question that has formed the foundation of our discussion over the past four weeks.  In the final week of The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating, we want to give our students some tangible actions.  We want to give them some things that they can be working on right now.  We want our students to start making wise choices in the area of the relationships now, so that they will have great relationships and marriages later.  Making wise choices now is important because the path taken is more important than any promise or commitment that is made.  Our students must understand that past actions are a better indicator of future behavior than a promise. Promises can be, and often are, broken.  Our students have the opportunity to start making decisions now that will not only benefit them now, but throughout their entire life. You don’t become the right person overnight. It takes work, and it takes a commitment to setting boundaries now.

Talk to your student how past actions are a better indicator of the future than a promise. Ask your student why it is important to set boundaries ahead of time. Ask your student how they can start becoming the right person now.

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The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: Designer Sex

29 04 2012

Session 3 (April 29, 2012)

God likes sex. I bet that isn’t a phrase that you hear very often.  Sex and the church don’t often mix. In fact, most people would say that the only thing the church has to say about sex is a resounding NO.  This just isn’t the case. Sex was created by God for us. However, sex has been corrupted into a merely physical act. Our students are bombarded every day with the myth that sex is only physical. Sex is not a big deal. We want our students to realize that sex is a big deal, and that sexual sin can have lifelong effects.  Sex is much more than a physical act. Sex has been designed and created by God to be so much more. We want our students to experience the true intimacy that sex was designed for. Our students need to realize that making a sacrifice now for something better later is an investment. Honoring your body as a teenager and protecting yourself from sexual sin now, will lead to greater intimacy later.  We want our students to grab hold of the principal that purity now will leader to greater intimacy later. This isn’t about saying sex is bad. This is about communicating to our students that sex can be great as long as you make the right choices along the way and choose to honor God with your body.

Talk to your student about how culture portrays the need for physical things between guys and girls. Ask your student if they believe sex is more than just a physical act. Talk to your student about honoring your body now can lead to greater intimacy later.





The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: Gentlemen’s Club

22 04 2012

Session 2 (April 22, 2012)

Act like a man. This is a familiar phrase in our society. Maybe you have even said it to your own son. Our culture wants men who are strong, and men who show little emotion. Men who are tough and dominant. But is this what being a man is all about?  This week we want to our students, particularly the guys, to begin to understand what acting like a man really looks like.  Real men value women, and treat them with dignity, honor, and respect. Real men are servants. These ideas are not common, especially in a culture where women are treated as a commodity, as something that can be used and discarded. We want to challenge all of our male students to take the lessons of 1 Peter 3:7 to heart and “man up” by treating all women with respect.

Just as we want to challenge our guys to start acting like men, we want to encourage all of our girls that they are special and that they have real value. We want our girls to understand that they should have expectations of any guy that they have a relationship with. They need to hold guys to a high standard because they are worth it.  We want all of our girls to understand the immense value that they have in the eyes of their Creator. They are precious to God. We want this realization to permeate through all of their relationships. We want our girls to not only see the value that they have, but see the value that all women have in the eyes of God.

Talk to your student about what they think culture says about the role of women in society. Ask your son how he would want his future wife to be treated by other men right now. Ask your daughter how she would want her future husband to be treating other women right now. 





The New Rules for Love, Sex, & Dating: The Right Person Myth

15 04 2012

Session 1 (April 15, 2012)

Dates. Dances. Boyfriends. Girlfriends.  As a parent you are probably familiar with these ideas from your own past, but now you get to experience them from a whole new perspective with your student.  Students are beginning to enter into these worlds for the first time as they move through middle school and high school. For many students, their relationship is their identity.  They begin to believe the myth, that might continue for their entire life, that if they just start dating the right person then everything will be great.  Our lives can become defined by our relationship. The funny thing about this is that we spend so much time focusing on the other person that we forget about the other half of the relationship, ourselves. We will talk about what to look for in another person next week, but this week we want our students to realize that they can take control of their future now.  We want our students to stop looking for Mr. or Ms. Right and start becoming the right person themselves.

We want our students to embrace the qualities found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in all of their relationships. Whether it is with the friends, siblings, or you, we want our students to start putting these principles into practice, and their is no better example than you. We want to challenge our parents to embrace the qualities of 1 Corinthians 13 in your own life. We want to set our students up for a life of great relationships and ultimate great marriage, and it starts now.

Talk to your student about the quality in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 that is the most difficult for you.  Ask your student if they would want their future (or current) significant other to embrace these qualities, and if that means they should start embracing them too.





Illuminate

18 03 2012

Series Overview

We read the story of the crucifixion of Jesus every year.  Many of us can probably tell the story without even having to look it up.  This is a great thing. However, we often forget that the story of Easter is part of a much larger story.  Over the next three weeks, we are going to look at a some key themes found in the Easter story, and throughout the Scriptures. We want to show how the themes of bread, water, and blood are woven throughout all of Scripture so that their use in the Easter story brings the story a greater significance.  The Easter story should not just be limited to a few weeks in early Spring, but a continual reminder of our need for God’s provision, presence, and redemption.

Session 1 (March 18, 2012)

Bread is a popular topic in church. Whether it is during communion or even the Lord’s Prayer, bread is mentioned. The question we often fail to ask is why. What is the deal with bread?  Why does it keep showing up in the Bible?  To ancient Israel, bread was a sign of the provision of God as God literally provided their food in the desert.  As Jesus preached he used bread to remind his audience of God’s provision, and their need to be dependent on God both physically and spiritually. But now, bread is a representation of Jesus himself.  Jesus is our provider, and all we need to sustain life. Talk to your student about a time in your life where you needed the provision of God. Ask your student how they can be more dependent on God.

Session 2 (March 25, 2012)

Life can be overwhelming at times. There are some times when it is everything that we can do to just keep our head above water.  This is not a unique situation to us. Many people found in the Scriptures faced similar problems, even Jesus as he endured the cross.  While these situations are difficult, God does not want us to endure them alone. He is present with us. The Easter story illustrates this very principle as Jesus triumphs over death so that we can find hope in the presence of God.  Life can get difficult, but we are never alone. Talk to your student about when you have felt the presence of God in a difficult circumstance, and ask them if they have ever experience God’s presence in their life.

Session 3 (April 1, 2012)

If you are like me then the sight of blood can make you a little queasy.  While blood may be prevalent on television, in movies, or even video games, it is one of the most important themes in the Bible, particular in the Easter story. As Christians we often talk about “the blood,” but why is it so important and what does it represent? As we conclude our study of the story of Easter we want our students to know why the symbol of blood is so important for the Church, and to understand that blood is our symbol of a limitless love coming from a limitless God. Talk to your student about the death of Christ, and why Christ’s blood allows us to have access to God. Ask your student why the death of Christ is important to them.





Everyone Needs Grace

29 01 2012

Series Overview

In middle school and high school many students begin to become keenly aware of their desires, thoughts, and temptations, and for the first time start to understand that they’re sinful. They also begin to realize that it’s not just them. The entire human race has a problem with straying from God’s intended plan. Thankfully, that’s where grace comes in. Despite our rebellion from God, we can receive his mercy and unconditional love. We’re all undeserving sinners, but our Heavenly Father has extended to all of us his love and compassion because He knows that we all need His grace.

Session 1 (January 29, 2012)

As you may know, students never make mistakes.  Each of them caries a long list of excuses of why nothing is their fault: my computer crashed, the bus was late, I had to go to my brother’s game…..the list goes on and on. This excuse game, though, is not a new problem. Men and women have been trying to shift the blame to others since Adam and Eve fell in the garden.  Just as no one has to be taught how to sin, no one has to be taught to sidestep responsibility for those decisions. We often justify our actions with excuses like, “I couldn’t help it”, “nobody’s perfect”, “I didn’t know it was wrong”, or “I was pressured into it.” Today, we want each student to understand that God does not tempt us. We’ve been given free will and if we fall, it’s because of our own evil desires. God has given us the freedom to choose sin, but he does not tempt us. We’re taking the road that leads to death when we take our freedom and use it to make choices that are outside of God’s will. Talk to your student about the importance of taking responsibility for our own actions, and ask your student why we try to shift the blame for our sins.

Session 2 (February 5, 2012)

Sometimes it’s easy to feel that our relationship with God is based on a system of do’s and don’ts. In fact, if we were to be honest, many of us feel like the depth of our relationship has to do with how well we abide by God’s rules. We think the better we behave, the more God will love us, and the more we break the rules, the more God will hold against us. The reality is that our fear of God is driven out of our lack of knowledge of Him. The more we get to know our Heavenly Father, the better we can begin to understand that His love for us is so much more than a record of all the bad we do in life. 1 John 4:18 teaches us that God loves us unconditionally despite our fear. If we can begin to understand the way God loves us, our fear of Him will no longer be an issue, because where there is love there cannot be fear. Talk to your student about how you have felt the love of God in your own life, and ask them why understanding the love of God is important.

Session 3 (February 12, 2012)

In week one we started discussing the issue of sin in our lives. One of the greatest forces that Christians have to deal with is guilt. When we sin, it not only causes us to question our actions, but also to question who we are. Many Christians fall into temptation and begin to question whether their salvation “took.” We begin wondering, “What if it didn’t count?” “What if I prayed the prayer wrong?” “What if I didn’t believe hard enough?” or “If it was real, why do I keep making bad decisions?” We all know that dreadful feeling of self loathing that causes us to question whether or not we have really been redeemed by His grace.  In John chapter 10, Jesus makes it clear that His sheep cannot be taken away from him. If no amount of sin before you accepted Him can keep you away, why would any amount of sin after accepting keep you from him? The truth is that you will not always “feel” saved, but you are. We can approach the throne with confidence because once we are in his hands, we cannot be removed.  Ask your student why we can be confident that we are God’s.