Monthly Archives: April 2010

Seven Habits of Highly Evangelistic Christians – Joshua Harris

Click the link and read the article. Let’s encourage one another in these areas.

Seven Habits of Highly Evangelistic Christians – Joshua Harris

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What Goes On Now??

If you have ever asked yourself what goes on in the youth group on Wednesday nights, just take a look at a few of our pictures from last night. The two fellas who are covered in shaving cream and cheese puffs are Allen Seitz and Jeff Wagner. We appreciate their willingness to be used, I mean serve, the youth during last nights game.

We also want to congratulate April’s Texting Champion, Sarah Kendall!!

Allen Seitz

Jeff Wagner

Sarah Kendall

Relevant

I know this has taken me a long time, but I do intend to finish the Revival Recap and here we go with three down and two to go. Let me remind us of Dr. Greenway’s definition of revival, which is seeking the heart of God. Using the word heart as an acronym, Dr. Greenway taught us five areas to focus our attention if God were to truly bring revival our way. The first three were Holiness, Excellence, and Anticipation.

Now with the R. The R in heart stands for relevance. Are we real to people who don’t know Christ? Are our methods and strategies being used by God to reach people for Christ in all generations? Are we recognizing where people are spiritually or do we assume they are where we were before Christ? For many of us we were raised in the church. We were filled from the womb with bible stories, and that is an awesome thing “Praise God!” However, do we realize our current culture is not the same one we grew up in?

I recently saw a staggering statistic that youth use texting for almost 70% of their communication. Wow! Now I recognize I have at least two responses.

1. I can complain and refuse to compromise by biblical convictions concerning texting (you might be wondering what I mean “biblical convictions” and I really don’t know, I just know I don’t LIKE texting and that must mean it’s not biblical somehow).

2. I can recognize that texting might have it’s concerns (What doesn’t?) but if we are going to communicate with the younger generation, we must be willing to put aside our PREFERENCES for the sake of the GOSPEL! So what does that mean? I Text! I text to the glory of God.

Now Dr. Greenway taught us three practical steps we must ALL do together if we, Vann Avenue, are going to be relevant in this community.

#1 Acknowledge there is a Personal Cost (1 Cor. 9:19)…If we don’t set aside our preferences for the sake of others, then he taught us they become Authority.

#2 Accept the Biblical Condition (1 Cor. 9:21)…We must not compromise the Scriptures for the sake of drawing a crowd. We must stand upon the Word, however, the Word defines us not the other way around.

#3 Anticipate the Spiritual Conclusion (1 Cor. 9:22)…Not everyone will be won to the Lord. We were encouraged to remember from John 6:59-68 that not all even believed Jesus. So we won’t win people to Christ just because we changed some music or design in the foyer, but we must also be careful that we don’t limit those with whom we can influence to Christ because of our preferences.

In conclusion, what might this look like in a church who is more driven by preference than the bible? One might begin to see that the folks all look the same, dress the same, talk the same, have the same preferences, attract the same, and very slowly they get smaller and smaller. May it never be said of us!

When Jesus said, “Not my will, but thy will,” He modeled for us the attitude that guards against irrelevance and ultimately unfaithfulness.

“…and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father , at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).”

Spiritual Parenting: Protecting Our Boys and Girls From Satanic Masculinity and Femininity | hopeingod.org

This message from Dr. Russel Moore was given at a weekend Parenting Conference at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN.

I would encourage all parents to sit down together and listen (the message is 40 minutes).

We are so thankful for all our families at Vann Avenue, and we pray that together, through the power of the Gospel, we will raise a generation of growing, passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

Spiritual Parenting: Protecting Our Boys and Girls From Satanic Masculinity and Femininity | hopeingod.org.

All I have is Christ

I love this song and wanted you to hear it as well. I appreciate the music that comes out of Sovereign Grace Music because it is intentionally saturated with the gospel.

I put this up because I want us to continue talking about relationships, specifically dating relationships. If you are currently in or considering a relationship with someone of the opposite gender, can you mean these words and truly say ‘Jesus You are My Life’. How about the one you are dating or considering dating? Will this relationship in any way hinder my walk with Christ in my church, in my home, or in my personal life?

No one will tell you the desire for a relationship is wrong because God created us for relationships. However, as Joshua Harris points out in his book, I kissed Dating Goodbye, “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.”

Check out this song.

Relationship Revolution Recap

What is a revolution? What I find consistent concerning the definition of a revolution is a change. Not just an ordinary change but a significant change from something to another.

Our Youth had an opportunity to participate in an associational youth event last night called Relationship Revolution. It was an evening of singing praise, hearing from God’s word, and small group time. All in all it was a pretty good evening and I am thankful for the opportunity to attend the event with students and adults from Vann Avenue.

It was also the first time for me to hear Braxton Hunter. I was thankful for his perspective and challenge to the students that their first and primary relationship is with Jesus Christ. If the students relationship with Christ is not one in which they are growing more passionate about Him, their other relationships are destined for failure.

All in all, I didn’t hear anything too revolutionary. In fact, I am a bit disappointed with the lack of challenge for middle and high school students to really live radically different than the world and its perspective on relationships.

One of the last books I have read on relationships is, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by Joshua Harris. Although the book can be somewhat misleading, it is not all about having students end dating relationships but really having them look to the Scriptures concerning God’s view versus the world’s view of dating. I uploaded this video to give you a taste. It is my goal by the end of next school year to not only lead Vann’s students through it but also parents.

Anticipation

I apologize for the long gap in between Revival posts but here we go. If we are going to be a people seeking after the heart of God, then we are going to need to be a people anticipating God’s activity in our lives. Dr. Greenway gave us three concerns to be watchful for in our own hearts.

#1 Avoid Pitfall of Apathy–> This is the attitude of just not caring. Have you ever said concerning the things of God in your life, “I just don’t care.”? What a dangerous place to be. Dr. Greenway compared this type of attitude to a cancer that just spreads. Will we be the type of person to help and encourage our friends if they are like this or will be sucked into that pit and look and sound like them?

#2 Abandon Negative Thinking–> This would be the attitude that expressed itself as “It really doesn’t matter.” This person is usually, if not always, critical. They see everyone’s faults and spend little time in the mirror reflecting on their own heart issues.

#3 Agree to Prepare ourselves with a spirit of Expectancy–> The first two are what we shouldn’t do, but this is the one we should be doing. This person not only cares but they believe it does matter!

Application: What do you anticipate? Are you waking up and praying for the opportunity and availability to be used by God? Yes, even if you have a dreaded test in your future that day, are you anticipating God to use you throughout that day. What about Wednesdays and Sundays? Do you anticipate and expect to hear from God through His Word?

We are one of these three, and if we were honest, we would admit that we cycle through them at different times in our lives. We either don’t care, don’t think it matters, or we are living for Christ and expecting the opportunity to be used by Him. Remember, He said we ARE the salt. He said we ARE the light. He didn’t suggest or encourage, He stated a fact for all those who are true Followers of Christ by faith. So, according the Master, your life does Matter!

We will have down times and struggles, and that’s why we have been given the Holy Spirit and one another with the encouragement from the Word that says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2).”

Is Your Light Visible?

As I was reading this morning from the gospel of Matthew, I was reminded of what a beautiful day like this is for.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven (Matthew 5:14-16).”

Now Jesus said some difficult things at times to understand, but this isn’t one of them. If you were like me last night, you used the lights in the house to get around and keep from hurting yourself. For those who love Jesus and follow Him, he says that is the same function as you. You do good and you love people, so that you reflect Jesus. People say you are a good guy or gal and you say, I’m only good because of Jesus and what He did and does for me.” The lights in my house aren’t for them but for me. Likewise, the light Christ has given you isn’t for you but for Him.

We were created to love God and enjoy Him forever. God is most glorified when you are most satisfied in Him. Is your light shining today? If someone notices, who gets the credit?

Make the most of this beautiful day for Jesus!

Relationship Revolution

Taking a break from the Revival posts to remind you of a mini-conference you can be a part of next Friday, April 23rd.

You will need to arrive at Vann Avenue around 4:45pm for dinner (probably pizza). We will all get into the van and go over to Trinity Seminary for the evening conference. The conference consists of multiple speakers and small group break-out discussions. At the conclusion 9PM we will return to Vann Avenue, where your folks will pick you up.

If you are interested, you need to get an activity participation form from me. This form needs to be signed by your guardian and returned to me if you intend to ride in the van.

These are the two books Dr. Adam Greenway suggested youth read. I would also recommend that the parents do as well. I have also provided links to Amazon if you desire to purchase.

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR MIND

I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST

E is for Excellence

As we continue in our revival meetings, Dr. Greenway has helped us understand that revival is seeking the heart of God. Using the acrostic “HEART” he began teaching us  to understand from Scripture that true and lasting revival begins with holiness.

Next, we were taken to Philippians 1:9-11 and encouraged to see that true revival will only occur if we pursue Christ with Excellence. Do we give God our best or do we give God our leftovers? Are we as passionate about the things of God as we are our iPods, iPhones, and now iPads?

3 areas we must raise the bar of excellence are…

#1 Relationships–How do we view our relationships in the Body of Christ? Do we have cliques in church? Do we welcome guests in the youth group with the same enthusiasm that Christ would? Are some of our strongest relationships with friends who are followers of Christ or followers of this world? Though God does want us to have relationships with those outside the church, they are not to have influence on us but us on them.

#2 Appearance before the world–For our youth culture in the church the question seems to be about dress. Is modesty modeled and appreciated or is it considered an archaic word that is irrelevant? Outside of clothes, does our walk match our profession? Whose we are (child of God) should have an impact on what we do. We do not act a certain way to please God but because of the great lengths Jesus went for us, we now desire to please Him in all we do.

#3 How we serve God–Even now, in middle and high school, God has a great purpose and plan for your life in Christ. He has saved you to use you in accomplishing His mission, seeing lost people saved. Are you and I on mission?