SEXuality // HABITS (Sunday update, 4/17/11)

This was the second week in two series with the students on Sunday during our Student Quest hour; ‘SEXuality: What was God thinking?’ for the junior high, and ‘Growing Spiritually’ (a HABITS series) for the high 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: SEXuality – What was God thinking?

I taught the second in a two-week series on sex—one of the most awkward yet important topics for teenagers to discuss with trusted adults. This week’s lesson was built on 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. Many Christians in the Greek city of Corinth struggled because they seemed to be continuing their old, pagan practices while attempting to follow Jesus. Paul’s letter is filled with clear, pointed instructions in several areas—including sexual sin.

We particularly focused on verse 18: “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” We shouldn’t just walk away from sexual temptations, or do our best to avoid those situations. We should RUN from them! That word clearly implies a definite decision and course of action. If we play with fire, we’re going to get burned. As verses 19 and 20 remind us, our bodies don’t belong to us—if we’re followers of Jesus, we belong to him.

Lies about sexuality can be hard to identify for our students—and sometimes even for us adults. It is important to help teenagers draw some lines between what is God’s plan and what isn’t, with the goal of helping our students choose God’s plan! All of this is based on making wise choices. We gain wisdom by praying, reading the Bible, talking with trusted friends and leaders, and observing the possible consequences of our decisions.

As you find time to talk with your teenager about this week’s lesson, here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • How can our thoughts about sex lead to unwise decisions and actions? How can we appropriately handle our thoughts about sex?
  • What role does wisdom play in making choices about sex?
  • Why do you think the Apostle Paul said to “run from sexual sin”? Why “run” from it?
  • What are some wise choices you might make if you choose to follow God’s plan for sex, and what could I do to encourage or help you to make wise choices?

SR High: Growing Spiritually (HABITS)

Chris Z 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.

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