Healthy Dating // HABITS (Sunday update, 3/27/11)

This was the second week in two new series with the students on Sunday; ‘Healthy Dating’ for the senior high, and ‘Growing Spiritually’ (a HABITS series) for the middle school students.  Both are studies from the Live Curriculum, a great youth ministry resource.  Here’s the recaps for both lessons and some follow up ideas for families at home:

JR High: Growing Spiritually (HABITS)

Matt O taught the second in a six-lesson study on how our students can deepen their personal walk with God. Each lesson will focus on a basic spiritual discipline/practice that can foster spiritual growth. The theme of the lesson series is HABITS, which stands for:

  • Hang out with God (prayer)
  • Accountable friendships
  • Bible memorization and study
  • Involvement within the church body
  • Tithing
  • Sacraments (baptism, communion)

This week the group continued the study on the HABITS that foster spiritual growth with a lesson on accountable friendships—the “A” in the acronym. The idea of “accountability” may seem unappealing or legalistic to some Christians, but it’s an important tool for spiritual growth. We looked at 2 Samuel 12:1-13 and saw how Nathan confronted David over his sin with Bathsheba. We also saw how David responded— with confession and genuine repentance.

It can be hard for teenagers to open up to someone, especially a peer, because they fear looking bad and having someone else know about their personal struggles. However, God created us to need others in our lives and knew that having deep friendships would help us on our spiritual journey.

I’d encourage you to find some time this week to talk with your teenager about our lesson. Here are some questions that you could incorporate into your conversation:

  • When have you had a friend betray you by telling other people a private piece of information you had shared in confidence? How did that experience affect your willingness to trust other people with private details about your life?
  • Why do you think Nathan used a story to point out David’s sin?
  • What would be tough about having an accountability friend? What are some of the benefits of having one?

Pray that your teenager will seriously think about connecting with another student, and that they would encourage each other and hold each other accountable so that they both can grow closer to God.

SR High: Healthy Dating

I taught the second of three lessons looking at what Scripture says about the topic of healthy dating. We’re using various passages from the Bible to discuss God’s design for romantic relationships. The goal is to help our teenagers get a clearer idea of God’s intentions in our relationships and what a Christ-like dating relationship or marriage looks like.

This week, we used Proverbs 18:22 and talked about how God wants to see us experience healthy relationships—including our dating relationships. Unfortunately, our culture sends mixed messages about the purpose of dating, which can confuse young people and make it easier to pursue unhealthy dating relationships. Our culture encourages lust, not love. We discussed the value of learning to be patient when it comes to dating, learning to listen to wisdom from God and others, and learning to be satisfied with God’s plan for their lives.

I’d encourage you to take a few minutes this week to talk with your teenager about ways to keep pursuing healthy dating relationships. Here are some questions you could include during your conversation:

  • How does patience create long-term satisfaction in a relationship?
  • How do you decide how to set boundaries in your dating relationships? Besides reading the Bible, how and where might you find this wisdom?
  • How does your relationship with God affect and form your approach to all your other relationships? If your relationship with God is weak, how might that impact all your other relationships?

Take a few moments and pray with your teenager, asking God to help protect your child’s mind and heart from things that might steer your student from God’s incredible plans. Have a blessed week!

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