Beyond the Selfie: 5 Things to Learn from Teens

Hello Ripple Effect Youth Group – Pastor Mark here…  I just read this article and wanted to know if you agree with this and consider these five points to be true to you.  Please leave a comment or let me know.

Recently, I sat in a comfortable, overstufteensfed chair with my favorite Starbucks in hand with a brainstorm group. We worked on an exercise to come up with some adjectives that best describe teens in 2015. As a group, words like “shallow,” “self-absorbed,” and “disengaged” popped up.

I get it. Many said the same thing about my generation and me. Let’s be honest.  All one has to do is scroll through an Instagram feed and see that this generation has not only invented the “Selfie” but has also perfected the art of it.  The term “Selfie” alone could support the general perceptions and lead one to surmise what this generation is all about.

Eschenbach said, “In youth we learn; in age we understand.” I’ve worked with teens for over a decade. Society often times write off teens as the “Selfie” generation. However, I’ve learned that there’s more under the surface than meets the eye. There are some key things to learn from teens that could inspire the world to #LiveSecond.

5 Things To Learn From Teens

1. It’s O.K. To Not Be O.K.

This generation, more than previous ones in recent history, celebrates and encourages peers to admit, “I’m not O.K.” Many feel this pressure to present ourselves in a way that says, “I am O.K.” Truth is everyone has “issues.” Teens embrace this reality.

2. Justice Matters

Kurt Cobain once said, “The duty of youth is to challenge corruption.” Teens have a high sensitivity to injustice.  Whether it be bullying, racism, sexism, poverty or sex trafficking, this generation doesn’t shake its head at these challenges. Instead they leverage their voice, creativity, and efforts to address injustices in their world.

3. Value Community

Teens value knowing others and being known. Relationships matter. Teens see community as a necessity and cultivate it with intentionality, both in person and online.

4. Celebrate Uniqueness

Our society creates labels and categories for almost anything.  This generation has a strong distaste for labels and celebrates the uniqueness of an individual.  Their approach teaches others that our job isn’t to dismiss or judge those around us, but to love others for who they are.

5. Globally Minded

The definition of a movement is “a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social or artistic ideas.”  Movements are catalysts for change. While teens celebrate individuality, they have the desire to be a part of something bigger.

A look beyond the “selfies,” reveals characteristics and values in teens that inspire others to #Live Second.

By David Martin

David Martin serves as the Director of I am Second Students. To learn more about this national student movement, click here.

Freedom in Obedience

 

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. James 1:22-25

I’m full of the best intentions. I have so many things I want to be good at, get better at or completely change in myself and in my life, whether it is simply a new hobby (Seriously, I should be able to sew a button on a shirt) or my need and desire to spend more time in God’s Word and in prayer, or even a deep character flaw that keeps revealing itself. We all encounter things that tug on us, whisper at us, try to draw us in the direction of God’s will for our lives.

The problem is, I love the idea of change, but I don’t love the work of change. I want to be full of wisdom and God’s Word, but I don’t want to turn off my favorite TV show and study His word or spend some time in prayer. I love the thought of finding time to do Bible studies with my kids over breakfast, so I am demonstrating good habits and priorities, but my pillow seems to call louder than my wrangling my kids in the morning while I impatiently wait for that coffee to brew. I like the idea of praying with my kids when their behavior is making me want to send them to bed at 5:00 pm just so I can have a bit of peace, but submitting to God when I’m so frustrated seems like a lot more effort than showing my frustration to my kids.

If you can relate, you might feel a bit overwhelmed right now. I can make a list of things I should be doing, doing better or completely changing…a very long list. In fact, this list seems so overwhelming, sometimes, I set it aside. Why? Because that is a lot of work and not that freeing. I have my hands full. I already feel overwhelmed most days. The idea of this “list” makes me push it to back of my mind of the things I will do eventually when life is less crazy. I know what things I “should” do and I know what His Word says, but actually putting them into action is daunting.

Deep breath. Adjust your focus, or more specifically, what you are focusing on. “25 But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.” God’s goal in this is your freedom. He isn’t looking to overwhelm you or for you to carry guilt for all the things you aren’t doing. He wants to free you and bless you. That suddenly doesn’t sound so bad. Obedience brings freedom and refreshing because His ways are the best ways to do life.

One of my biggest desires and something that has been whispered into my heart repeatedly is setting aside more time for study and prayer. Most of you know, I’ve had a chronically sick baby. When she was born, it was reflux and colic. Once that ended she got her first ear infection, and then another and another and so on until about 8 ear infections later we were ready to swear off sanity and sleep for good. Doctors and nurses know us by name at the pediatrician’s office. I can tell you most of the official names of inner parts of the ear and most of the medications used to treat infections. Each ear infection has meant a baby I cannot set down, sleep that was interrupted frequently or disappeared altogether while I rocked a feverish, hurting baby for most, if not all, of the night. Evenings with homework and cooking while Myra walked around crying and pleading took all I had to get through and by the time my poor husband walked in the door after a long day at work, I practically threw the baby into his arms and went to find something to help me decompress while trying to hold onto what patience I had for my other two kids. I wanted something easy that required nothing of me. I wanted to stare at a wall, forget how tired I was, have a moment of “me” time. There were a few times during the worst infections, I considered hopping in the car and driving for a very long time and just sitting there in silence for a few hours before heading home. The last thing I felt like doing was grabbing my Bible and disappearing into my bedroom for some reading and praying.

The problem with my approach is, in the end, I never get full, I never find rest, I never get relief. I just survive and start over again the next day. I would pray as I rocked her and as I cooked and as I drove and in between whatever I had going on, but it was always these desperate pleas or requests mixed with moments of thankfulness, which is not bad, but I wasn’t having a devoted time of connecting with God long enough to find his strength or guidance. I wasn’t having regular chunks of time to soak up help, reassurance and promises from His Word. These are the things that refresh, but before the refreshing comes it feels like another thing to add on to my “to do” list.

Life will keep happening. The lists of things to do will not shrink. No additional hours are going to be added to our days. I don’t feel “free” to make a change, but God’s Word says he provides freedom when we put things in order and do what His Word says. I would feel a lot less overwhelmed if I took the time to allow Him to refresh me. I probably wouldn’t feel like I had nothing left to give at the end of the day if I started the day seeking the only one who can truly bring rest, strength and guidance.

What things is He whispering for you to do? You don’t need to tackle all of it at once. Take one item from your list and ask Him what steps you should take to get there. As you do, you will sense the freedom and refreshing waiting for you. Put His Word into action one step at a time until you look back and realize you are now reaping the benefits of obedience.

Tiffany 🙂

An Open Letter To Women Who Want More Courage

An Open Letter To Women Who Want More Courage

Ladies,

There is an awesome blog on the MOPS page about living with more courage!  Check it out!

http://www.mops.org/blog/an-open-letter-to-women-who-want-more-courage

November MOPS

Hello MOPS Moms!

Our monthly meeting is just around the corner. And it is going to be a powerful time. Barb from Cans for Hope will be speaking on a woman’s true beauty. Please join us for brunch, worship, and our “I Love You Because..” craft!

Please start saving ALL of your aluminum cans and bring them to this meeting. Barb’s motto, “Recycling lives one can at a time,” is an easy way for us to donate aluminum cans and see a real difference in the community. Barb recycles the cans for money to fight sex trafficking and abuse.

More info can be found at cansforhope.org

 

Friday, November 7, 2014

9:15am – 11:30am

Rejoice Lutheran Church

3413 Lowell Lane

Erie, CO  80516

 

I Love You Because

MOPS This Friday

Hey there moms!  It’s time for our monthly MOPS meeting and we have some amazing things planned!  We have found an amazing meeting place for MOPS at Rejoice Lutheran Church in Erie at 3413 Lowell Lane.  We meet this Friday, October 3rd at 9:30am.  You can come and drop off your little ones starting at 9:15am.  Missy Crowder from High Way Community Church in Boulder will be sharing a powerful and inspiring word and we will have a delicious breakfast and fun Fall craft to do.  Hope to see you there!

Be You, Bravely

It seems we spend all of our time doing two things- living and waiting to live. What have in common is that we need a nudge. A nudge to get us out of our routines so that we can risk bravely.  So, moms: watch this MOPS video!

This year at MOPS may you find the courage to BE YOU BRAVELY!

 

Sing a New Song

Life is beautiful but life is also challenging. It is easy to forget how good God is especially when challenges and obstacles are thrown our way.  In my walk with the Lord I have found that there has always been something specific for me to focus on in every season that would help me grow and thrive in my current circumstance.  I often have to be intentional about focusing on what God has asked of me and not on issues and challenges surrounding me.

This season has been…..challenging.  Naturally I am a strong and positive person and it is easy for me to rely on my own strength and form my own opinions about my current situation.  The other day I was driving in my car dwelling on my current situation; my first mistake.  I had been driving for quite a while when out of nowhere I heard God say “why don’t you sing a new song.”  That got my attention pretty quickly, which God is great at doing!  As I pondered in my heart I began to understand and take hold of what God was saying to me and it made perfect sense.  I had been dwelling on my problem and repeating my frustrations in my head like a broken record. It was getting old and frankly it was not getting me anywhere.  I will be honest and say that my natural tendency to be strong and positive had wilted away and I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to obey God.  So I asked Him and His response was simple and sweet.   He simply said, “worship me.”  It seemed as though I had received my instruction for this season.  In my mind it made sense to focus on the problem at hand with the idea that if I thought about it long enough I would come up with a solution. This is not the case.  He has the solution to every problem we may face and worshiping Him brings peace, rest and instruction to our heart and mind.  Worshiping Him makes us rise above our current circumstance and enables us to see from His perspective. His instruction to me has not been the easiest thing to achieve. I have found that my worship and meditation on Him has to be intentional. When I feel like my problems are overwhelming me and I feel like I can’t breathe, I remember what He said and begin to recall verses that lift up my spirit. Like these….

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, Psalm 103:1-2

Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! Psalm 98:1

The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10

These are just a few verses that open the doorways to worshiping Him and remembering His goodness.  So I encourage you to open up your heart to the one who is good and loves you with an everlasting love. Worship Him, partner with Him and see from His perspective.  Get your focus off of your problem and sing to Him a new song.

 

Christine Canas

Place Your Life Before God

Romans 12:1-2 MSG

1-2So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
3I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him.

School Supply Drive-Huge Success!

Thank you Impact Rock Church family!!  This year we collected tons of backpacks and school supplies for local Erie families who needed help getting ready for school to start.  Thank you for your generous hearts and your love for our community.  We had so many supplies and offerings given, we were also able to purchase supplies for some teachers too!  You’re the best!  God’s love is evident through you.

school supplies