Archive for category: Youth Specialties (Page 2)

Games: Video Edition by Youth Specialties

09 Nov
November 9, 2011

I recently purchased the ‘Games: Video Edition‘ DVD from Youth Specialties. I have to admit, I was kind of skeptical about it, but a friend recommended it so I figured I would give it a shot.

I love it.

There are 25 different game ideas on the DVD, all of which are great. What’s different is that instead of writing a description, they demonstrate each game. They actually pull it off in 30-45 second descriptions, making it quick and easy to review ahead of time … or it’s even an option to show the game to the group so they both hear the rules and see how it works.

Here’s where I thought it was great – see the games in action really sold me on some that we ended up using at our recent all nighter, and honestly, if I had just read them I would have been unimpressed and never considered them. In particular, the Mellow Yellow (mustard dipped marshmallow toss) and Bologna Face (bologna on the face), which have never interested me if I hadn’t actually seen them in action on the DVD. Awesome!

All that to say, great concept and I hope they have more on the way. Definitely worth the cost, well put together, great games, and a solid must-have youth ministry resource! You can find it here.

Philippians: Ultimate Joy and Peace (Sunday, 10/2/11)

04 Oct
October 4, 2011

This Sunday we were in week four of our four week series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; Paul R taught the high school while Matt O taught the middle school kids.

In particular, we focused on Philippians 4:4-7, with a goal that students would learn that even when things don’t seem to be going well in our lives, God wants us to rejoice, pray, and trust him.

There were four main take away thoughts from the lesson:

  1. It’s about our attitude. Paul probably had no reason to rejoice while being incarcerated. But he chose to control his attitude and rejoice in the situation he found himself in.
  2. How do we control our attitudes? We have to understand we aren’t alone—that Jesus is with us through everything.
  3. Don’t be anxious. When we start to worry, we need to stop and pray and trust God.
  4. Ultimate peace. Ultimate joy and peace come from Christ being in us and knowing he’s always with us.

A follow up idea for families of students who were here for the lesson would be to reread the passage together and discuss the following questions (maybe in the car or around the dinner table?):

  • Share your most joyous moment or occasion. What made you so happy?
  • When have you been happy but not joyful? When have you been joyful but not happy?
  • When has joy been difficult to find?
  • What does Paul present in this passage as the secrets to having joy?

Philippians: Reaching for the goal (Sunday, 9/25/11)

26 Sep
September 26, 2011

This Sunday we were in week three of our four week series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; Chris Z taught the high school while Elise M taught the middle school kids.

In particular, we focused on Philippians 3:12-14, with a goal that students would  understand what it means to have Christ as the prize of their lives and what it takes to attain that prize.

There were three main take away thoughts from the lesson:

  1. A life full of ups and downs. Our lives are filled with unusual, sometimes tragic, events. At times our spiritual journey feels like a roller coaster ride—ups and downs, fun times and scary times.
  2. Paul’s plan of action. Paul details two things he does; forgets what is behind and focuses on the prize.
  3. The finish line. Paul said no matter what was going on in his life, Jesus is the prize—so he’d focus completely on reaching his goal.

A follow up idea for families of students who were here for the lesson would be to reread the passage together and discuss the following questions (maybe in the car or around the dinner table?):

  • In this passage what prize is Paul talking about?
  • What does Paul mean when he says, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”?
  • If Jesus is your prize, what hinders you from reaching him?
  • What are some changes you could make in your life this week that would show other people how important Jesus is to you?

 

Philippians: Shining as Stars (Sunday, 9/18/11)

20 Sep
September 20, 2011

This Sunday we were in week two of our four week series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; I taught the high school while Jennifer B taught the middle school kids.

In particular, we focused on Philippians 2:12-18, with a goal that students would understand that God wants them to be like Christ and stand out among their peers as an example of God’s love and life-changing power. That they would know how complaining and arguing can be the start of a spiritual decline, and that they would be motivated to live for Christ even when their parents and adult leaders are not present.

There were three main take away thoughts from the lesson:

  1. You know the truth—don’t slip.  Often times we know what to do; part of following God involves asking His help in following through on that.
  2. It starts with complaining.  It might not be our first thought when we find ourselves stumbling away from God and stuck in some sort of destructive behavior, but those are usually the symptoms of a deeper issue: being discontent and selfish, which shows itself in our complaining.
  3. Shine like stars.  Our challenge is to be lights for God in this world!  Everything we do shapes the opinions of those around us about God and the Christian church. Our reputation should shine like a star, light, hope, something that brings joy to God.

A follow up activity for around the table or in the car would be to read the passage in Philippians together and then discuss the following questions:

  • Why would the Philippian believers find it fairly easy to obey God when Paul was with them? Why would that be more difficult in his absence?
  • What do your friends complain about most? What do you complain about most?
  • What does Paul tell them that will make them shine like stars?
  • What makes living like a child of God in this world so difficult?

Philippians: United and working together (Sunday, 9/11/11)

13 Sep
September 13, 2011

This Sunday we launched a new four week series on Paul’s letter to the Philippians. We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; I taught the high school while Matt O taught the middle school kids.

In particular, we focused on Philippians 1:27-30, with a goal that students would understand that working together as a group and supporting one another is a dynamic response to persecution and opposition. There were four main talking points:

  1. Life is filled with challenges. Regardless of how you feel right now or how things are working out for you, the fact is that life is filled with challenges, conflicts, and pain.
  2. We need community. God created us to live in community, not isolated from others.
  3. The enemy is looking for an opportunity to attack. When we’re isolated, on our own, we’re much more vulnerable to Satan’s attacks.
  4. Believers must work together. Together we can support, encourage, and affirm each other—while holding each other accountable.

A great follow up activity for home would be to reread Philippians 1:27-30 together as a family and discuss the following questions:

  • How did Paul instruct people to respond to persecution and opposition?
  • What message will be sent to the world when Christians stand together?
  • How can being part of a group help you face problems better than you would handle them as an individual?
  • How can we as a family act to show people our love is real?

 

 

 

The PK Song

04 May
May 4, 2011

I saw this over on the Youth Specialties blog and got a kick out of it.  It’s a song written and performed by some PK’s on a retreat together.  I grew up a Pastor’s Kid (and a Missionary Kid, and Teacher Kid) and it’s true!

Romans 13 (Sunday update, 2/27/11)

28 Feb
February 28, 2011

Wow, I am way behind in Sunday updates!  February is always one of the craziest youth ministry months of the year for me, with two different retreats on two different weekends (in addition to the weekend mission trip and conference in January), and my blogging has fallen behind!  Basically, we continued our series on Romans, with this Sunday finding us on chapter 13 of Romans.  We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; I taught the middle school while Jeff M taught the senior high.

In particular, we focused on Romans 13:1-7, with a goal that students would know how a Christian is to support the government under which they live.  It’s an interesting challenge because often times this passage is dismissed by well intentioned believers who claim we are to support good governments, or governments that agree with God, forgetting that this was written to Roman Christians at a time when following Christ was illegal.  In fact, Paul spent much of his ministry in and out of jail for following Christ!  And yet, Paul wrote this letter instructing people to participate in the government and support the leaders even if they’re not Christians.  It’s quite a challenge, to honor the laws and leaders we don’t like or agree with – the only exception we find in scripture is when it comes to following God!  We got specific in the junior high group, talking about legal issues like how we use the internet, downloading music and movies, cell phone use, etc.  A great follow-up activity would be to read the passage as a family and use the following discussion questions:

  • What do you think about our government and how it serves the people?
  • How is the legitimacy of any government connected to God?
  • What should be a Christian’s response to the laws and leadership of government?
  • For what reason might a Christian disobey the laws of a government?
  • What can Christians do to support the ruling government?

I want a hot seat

03 Feb
February 3, 2011

Youth Specialties just posted this video the other day from an event they did for youth workers.  Man, it brought back some memories!  If you don’t know what a hot seat is, you weren’t in youth group in the 70’s.  Basically, it was a stool set up with a push button controller that you could use to zap people in the rear with.  Awesome!  Granted, as a 35 year old youth pastor, I’m too young to have ever been able to get away with using one of these things in a youth group … but I remember when I was a kid in Dexter, Maine, and my dad used one with the youth group there!  Those were the days, when it was expected that every good youth pastor came up with a variety of games that could be played with one of these seats that resulted in blindfolded teens being frequently electrocuted!

Man, I’d love to know if I could get away with using one of these things today …

Romans 10 (Sunday update, 1/30/11)

02 Feb
February 2, 2011

This Sunday we were on chapter ten of Romans.  We’re using The Complete New Testament Resource, Volume 1 from Youth Specialties as a launching pad for the series; I taught the middle school while George F taught the senior high.  You can also follow along by listening to our podcast feed (we record the senior high teaching).

In particular, we focused on Romans 10:9-13, with a goal that students would recognize where they have been disappointed with God and why they should trust him anyway.  God made a number of promises to the Israelites in the Old Testament. The Israelites, however, failed to live up to their end of the covenant. Certainly the Jews must have wondered if God would negate his promises because of their sin. In this chapter, Paul addressed this issue, highlighting God’s sovereignty and consistency and linking the past to the present and into the future. Just as God has been faithful in the past, he’s faithful in the present and will be faithful in the future.  A great follow-up activity as a family would be to read the above passage and then use the following discussion questions:

  • Why is it important to believe Jesus was raised from the dead?  What difference does it make if he had been raised or not raised?
  • Why would this record of God keeping his promises to the Jews be good news to Gentile believers?
  • When have you been disappointed with God?
  • How would this Scripture help someone when experiencing trials?

The Slow Club

28 Jan
January 28, 2011

I love this clip from Mark Yaconelli’s talk at the 2008 NYWC.  I actually bought the DVD of the whole talk back when I attended.  Powerful stuff!