I’ve never done a book list before but I have many books sitting around that seem lonely. There are probably 20 or so that could be on the list but it all depends because first, I need to finish the bible. It’s another one of my soapboxes. How quickly we can turn to some American leader to tell us what the bible says when we’ve never actually read the whole thing ourselves. So, I should be finished sometime near the end of February and then I’ll start in on these. Are there any you’d recommend? These aren’t in any order.
- Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream – David Platt
- Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
- The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell
- The Gospel According to Paul – Robin Griffith-Jones
- Missional Renaissance – Reggie McNeal
- AND: The Gathered and Scattered Church – Hugh Halter
- Incomparable: Explorations in the Character of God – Andrew Wilson
- The Pursuit of God – A.W. Tozer
- Interrupted: An Adventure in Relearning the Essentials of Faith – Jen Hatmaker
- Reimagining Church – Frank Viola
- Simple Church – Thom S. Rainer
- The Jesus Creed – Scot McKnight
- Blue Parakeet – Scot McKnight
We also wanted to take a look at what it means to have a passion for Christ and that to have a passion for Christ and living a Christ-like way means that we can’t live our lives learning more stuff while stuck with in the four walls of a building.
Here’s the first one of 4 presentations given. I believe many teens have no idea what it means to identify themselves in Christ as opposed to success, popularity, guys, girls, money, family… so we took a day to take a fairly basic look at what it means to identify ourselves in Christ.
One of the ideas that always intrigues me is the idea of planting seeds. How we can come into someone’s life, plant a little seed that he or she may or may not even realize and move back out of his or her life. It happens all the time for many of us. There’s one reason I think it’s important to think about it. At times, we get so frustrated that we can’t change that one person we seem to be pouring into. Let’s take a second and back up and look at our own lives. How many people have helped shape you into who you are today? Usually, there are at least 10-15 different people that we can honestly say have impacted our lives in meaningful ways. With many of these people, there’s an event that caused them to step in and be there for us. It may be a positive event like heading off to college or taking a big step in your faith. It may be something tragic, like a death or even heartbreak, loneliness or stress.
So who are they for you? Here’s my list of seed planters, which, when I give my faith/life journey, are incorporated in one way or another. I’m not sure I’ve even told them all that they’ve made the list. I know that the first two on the list know and although the third one didn’t know, I had an opportunity to express it at his funeral a few months ago. I suppose, it’s time to tell the others.
- Steve Fish – camp counselor in 1986 when I gave my life to Christ. (2nd grade)
- Mrs. Tippin – teacher who encouraged and supported me when no one else did (5th grade)
- Mr. Stinehelfer – teacher who modeled what it meant to be a manly man and truly care for people simultaneously. (6th grade)
- Kurt Steinke – counselor who modeled how youth ministry should be done. (early middle school)
- Lynn Thompson – my first youth pastor who was involved relationally with the youth. (high school)
- Matt Hallman – showed me what it means to be the real me regardless or anything else (2001)
- Dave Ramseyer – modeled how to love on teens and show them Christ in their world. (2000-2006)
- Tim Hallman – taught me that ministry takes passion and extreme faith and the results aren’t always as quick as we want but we have to fight through them for the sake of Christ. (from way back in 1996ish to the present.)
- Tim Smith – gave me a swift and continual verbal lashing to step up in my marriage (2009 to present)
- Nathan Hyde – work your butt off for your family while choosing sacrifice to keep faith and family first regardless of the material cost. (last part of 2010)
I think anyone could take a look at those 10 people and figure out what events go along with that while coming to a decent understanding of who I am and what I’m passionate about and called to. I’d challenge you to take some time to put one of these together. It doesn’t seem as awkward and personal to approach it this way but I think it gives a more complete picture of who I am in a few short sentences.
Let me intro this by saying that I never made the list when I was in high school or college. I wish I would have but I never though of it. The point of it is to help teens think through what they’re looking for in someone. Way too often, after a couple breaks up, one or both parties say “I don’t know what I was thinking”. Well, hopefully this will alleviate some of those thoughts. Wouldn’t it be helpful to know what you’re looking for BEFORE you start dating someone?
I think students do have an idea of what they want in another person so let’s get it on paper! When it’s written down, it’s much harder to justify things because it’s right in front of them. They should make a list of things that this other person must have for them to even think about dating them. First though, the student has to be single and not chasing after someone. If they are, then their list reflects that person way too much (which isn’t always bad). With a clear mind, they can be more honest with themselves about what they want. Some lists are really long so I have the students go back after they make their “must-haves” or absolutes and condense it to 5-10 things that the guy/girl must have to even be an option. Now, the must-haves aren’t things like “tall” or “tanned” but things like “solid faith”, “respectful of my parents”, “extremely patient”, “caring” or “can lead me spiritually”. That’s the first half.
The second part is to make a list of deal breakers. Are there things that are unacceptable to you? Disrespect, addictions, deceptive… This list doesn’t have to be a certain length.
Believe it or not, one student did the list and realized that the guy she kind of liked didn’t make the cut but the guy that I was pretending to set her up with did make it! If students have a decent relationship with their parents, it can be good for the parent to make a list of the things that they would want their child to look for in a boy/girl. Students are often surprised that the lists are actually very similar. It opens up conversation to what is important in relationships. Even if they are too young to be dating in your opinion, this exercise can be very helpful in getting the conversation started.
I have seen that students settle for what’s good enough. I have used this concept to teach students that they are good enough to get what they are looking for. If some boy/girl doesn’t make their list then they know that they would be making a poor choice and they are better than that. This list is fluid. Things can be added or removed as they get older and value things differently but it’s important to change the list when emotions can stay out of it.
This is also a great time to get into what the Bible says are important virtues and values that should be looked for in another person. The intent of this exercise isn’t to show why a girl is better than a guy or vice versa, the goal is to establish a base for what God expects from His children in the relationship realm. If a guy is making progress in an area and is trying to improve, it shouldn’t exclude them from making a girl’s list. The same goes for a guy and his list. We have to be willing to extend grace but not if there is no growth or change in someone.
Lastly, sometimes students say that they don’t know if someone will “make the cut” because they don’t know them well enough. Then why would you date them? So, get to know them and what they’re all about before you just start dating them.
I don’t like people “Jesusizing” secular brands. I was working on something else and started to get slightly annoyed (again) when i ran across a whole bunch of these shirts. Let me start by saying that when I was in high school, I had a Jesus shirt. It wasn’t a Jesusized brand but it still had a huge picture of white Jesus on it in a dress knocking on a door. That being said, here are a few of my daily annoyances.
This might actually be the most accurate Jesus shirt out there. All you have to do is push the button, or raise your hand, or turn in the card and you get to go to heaven! Don’t worry about the life change or the Fruit of the Spirit or actually putting Christ first, just push the button and you’re all good!
James 2:22 “You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. 23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God. 24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.”I suppose we shouldn’t get carried away with what the Bible says though, that wouldn’t work as well on a tee shirt.
I’m thirsty for some delicioso orange Crush. I wonder where I could get some… Wait, what do I see? Jesus is a tasty, bubbly orange soda? Why, I’ll take two! Who couldn’t get friends to want Jesus if it was that easy.
Transformed… Why would you need the shirt then? Wouldn’t those around you already know that? It’s kinda like wearing a shirt that says I’m a Christian. You shouldn’t need a shirt to tell people it’s true. It should be clearly seen by your choices to do things through the lens of Christ.
“So I was walking by and saw your shirt and at first, I thought maybe it was those Reese’s Cups. Now I see that’s it says ‘Jesus, King of Kings’ I think I want that too.” Maybe it’s just me but I fail to see any true value in wearing these kinds of shirts other than it is a good way to pay for an over priced shirt. Here’s the last one, I don’t think it needs any comment…
Often, I find myself answering questions from young ladies about what they should do about the situation they are in with their boy. I’m still not sure why they do because I often frustrate them by asking and creating more questions for them then they had when they started! Here’s usually how it works. A high school girl will ask me what I think about so and so and if I think they should date. Instead of giving an answer, I ask these four questions.
Does he lead you towards Christ?
Can you see Christ being lived out through him?
Can others see Christ being lived out through him?
Does he challenge you in your faith?
If they don’t know the answer or answer no to these questions, or at least answer no to two of them, I’ll ask them why they would want to date the guy. If these young ladies are living a life following Christ, why would they not want to date a guy that does the same? Eventually, they’ll say, “So you’re saying I shouldn’t date him.” to which I’ll respond with “You came to that conclusion on your own, I merely asked a few questions.”
Ladies, don’t settle for “good enough” especially if you’re in high school and college. You need to know what you’re looking for and not compromise your standards. When I say you should know what you’re looking for, I mean to look at what God calls young men to be and to focus your eyes on those characteristics. The guys don’t have to have all of these characteristics mastered but they should be working towards them and at least know what they are.
If your faith is the core of who you are, you should look for a guy who has Christ at the core of who he is. You may say that there aren’t any guys in high school that are like that. If that’s true, I would ask you what value there is in dating if there aren’t any guys who are trying to live up to the standard God has laid out for you in a woman?
I have several more pieces to follow in the next few days. I just wanted to get the ball rolling! Leave a comment with your thoughts.