Youth Pastor: Pick Reverence Over Cool

“Cool is not your compass.”

“What do we do when trendy conflicts with the truth?”

Such important truth by Trip Lee. In the United States, we are famously anti-monarchy yet we substitute celebrity for royalty. With the advent of social media, we are no longer six degrees from Kevin Bacon we can now watch Kevin buy bacon at his local grocery store on Facebook Live. We know more than we used to know we know what our celebrities are watching, wearing and, shopping. We can even become famous so much easier than ever before. This leads us to know more about celebrity culture and creates an appetite for things that are not good and can even be sinful. Is wanting a nice pair of shoes wrong? No, but paying 1,200.00 for them is sinful. God gives us good gifts to enjoy but the inordinate desire for things other than Christ is what the Old Testament address over and over. We see it in the NT as well. Tim Keller defines idolatry as when we make good things ultimate things. The temptation in leading teenagers is to cash in on their passion for celebrity at the expense of truth and call it relevance. What we don’t see in our pursuit of relevance is cool always has a price. This short video from Trip Lee who is hands down more cool than any of us ever will be he is pushing us to pick reverence over cool.

“I like cool but I would rather build my life on conviction.”

Youth pastor don’t feed the culture of cool in your youth ministry teach your kids the scriptures. Teach your kids to build their lives on conviction not cool.

 

Explaining the Trinity to Kids

Why it matters more than you think.

The biggest problem with explaining the Trinity to kids is the fact that it is a mystery. We can never fully understand it but we can and should grow in our understanding of it. It’s something that is core to our faith and therefore should not be brushed aside.

The problem with explaining something so complex to kids is we look for a solid object to explain such abstract truths. The go-to objects for explaining the Trinity to kids are water, apples, and eggs. How do I know this? Because I have been guilty of using them. When I address these misconceptions, it’s from a place of mutual understanding because I have used each of these in explaining this central doctrine to the Christian faith. I’ll try a blog post to be helpful to parents and kids workers alike. This post will by no means be comprehensive, but I hope that it is useful and accurate.

Should I listen to Jordan Peterson?

I’m at the tail end of Peterson’s newest book 12 Rules for life. He is all the rage on the internet, on TV, and in every bookstore. It is unbelievable how quickly someone in our world today can go from obscurity to household name. Dr. Peterson is a professor who gained fame by his refusal to refer to a person’s professed gender and instead said that he would refer to them by their biological gender. His brand of logic and no-nonsense is rare in today’s world and surprising because he is Canadian. (Just saying Canadians are really nice how do I know? I’m Canadian and so is my wife. :)) Here is a now-famous lively exchange he had with a Canadian New Anchor. I found it refreshing.

Here is how Jordan Peterson can help you:

  1. He is logical and because he is so ruthlessly logical he exposes the illogical ideologies on both the left and the right. We live in a world that forces you to pick a side. Logic doesn’t pick sides but relentlessly seeks what is right what is true and what makes sense.
  2. He pushes people to stand up and be virtuous. He talks about the value of effort and truth-telling. Things that are sadly missing in so many of our institutions in our country.
  3. He understands the power and importance of suffering. That suffering is not to be sought but also not to be ignored. We live in a world that medicates their pain like no other generation before us. His message that pain is telling us something that pain can teach us something is powerful.

Here is where Jordan Peterson is off:

How Do I Send My Kids to School on Monday?

I’ll be honest I was difficult sending my kids to school today. The events in South Florida are heartbreaking. There are no words to convey the pain so many parents feel today losing what is most precious in such horrific fashion. There are not words that make sense of what took place. There are no words that can be said that would help bring comfort. Our nation is overcome with a collective sense of grief. Any time a child dies it is hard to understand, digest or explain. When multiple children die it’s horrific.

The question I hear most parents saying and I find myself thinking. “How do I send my kids to school tomorrow?” My wife asked me this very question here is how I responded perhaps it will help another parent out there.

Here is why I am sent my kids to school today.

1. We as parents must create an environment where our kids can thrive and can become all that God has designed them to be. We can not, however, protect and shield our kids from everything. We have to demonstrate to our kids in any way that we can that ultimately we trust God more than anything. Christ is our cornerstone he is the reference point of our life. When life is good He is that reference point when life is painful He is our source He is our life. Our hope as a parent can never lie wholly in our ability to keep our kids from harm, our hope has to be ultimately in Jesus alone.

2. See Christ as more valuable than anything else. – Paul says in Philippians “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” He understood something we so often forget. If Jesus is truly most valuable to us if we lose everything in life we are ok because we have Jesus. If we die we win in death because we get Jesus.

Why Gospel Centered Curriculum Matters

Filtering everything we tell our kids though God's story.

The Bible is not a story about heroes we should emulate, but about a Savior we are to adore. JD Greer

Is the Gospel clearly articulated? – The big mistake we make here in our teaching, and our curriculum is we limit the gospel to an event. We very easily limit the gospel both actively and passively shrink the gospel to something that is a box to be checked rather than as sustaining truth that continues to shape, empower and sustain or lives.

Love how John Piper puts it.
Parents teach your kids the gospel is not just something that begins the Christian life but empowers it, shapes it and sustains it. Pray, love, correct and demonstrate the love of God to your kids until he draws them they respond and He becomes their treasure and their great reward. John Piper

For a curriculum to be life transforming it has be centered around the gospel. I remember In 1989 Rick Moranis entered into the vernacular of our culture the words “honey I shrunk the kids” Moranis portrays a wacky inventor who accidentally shrinks his kids and the neighbor kids with his shrink ray he invented. Moranis’ character is unaware that his kids were shrunk by the very invention he destroys because he thinks it doesn’t work. There were multiple spin-offs of the movie and “honey I shrunk the (fill in the blank with something witty)” became a staple of sitcoms and watercolors alike for most of the 90’s.

Growing up in the 80’s has created a passion in me for all things 80’s. I love 80’s music, and 80’s movies and like it or not 80’s fashion is coming back full force. Being a fan of the 80’s it’s only natural that the analogy I will use for how we at times treat the gospel was born out of a movie from the 1980’s.

One of the problems that are very real and very dangerous in the church today is the fact that we have simplified, truncated and have made the gospel powerless in our churches and in our homes. Honey we have shrunk the gospel.

What is the gospel? Terms matter and many people refer to the gospel, but I’m not sure that we are always talking about the same thing. The gospel is the good news. It’s the good news that we have been longing to hear since God created a perfect world that we messed up when we introduced sin to this perfect world. Because we have sinned and have broken God’s perfect world, He had to send His sinless son to live the life we could not live die a death we should have died. Jesus came back to life, ascended into heaven, and will come back to us to make right all the things that are wrong about our world. That is the good news in a nutshell. We don’t have to be good enough because Jesus is, was and continues to be our spotless sacrifice.

So how have we shrunk the gospel?