Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Typical Day

Ok, so it didn't work out to put up my lecture notes from "A Me Second Lifestyle" today. As usual I was busy and didn't find the time. I suppose a more realistic goal would be sometime this weekend so that is what I will shoot for.

Currently we are getting ready for our youth group Christmas party on Sunday. It should be a fun, exciting time. We are catering in some italian food and encouraging the kids to dress up nicely. It will be interesting to see how the junior high guys do with this! We're doing a gift exchange and playing some fun games. Hopefully we will have some visitors and maybe some of the kids who we haven't seen lately.

Also, we are looking at splitting up junior high and senior high large group discussion time. Currently we group them together since it makes more sense with a smaller group. We have had solid growth in numbers this last year and it seems to make more sense now to be able to have a discussion more age-suitable for these two groups. Also, we are working on a two-year junior high topic plan that will be a good cycle to get into, and of course a four-year senior high plan. If I find time this weekend I will try and post some good ideas on how to make those work, but it is so important to start planning for the future. Fortunately, we have been very diligent so far. Anyway, that's all the time I have for tonight, but I will write more tomorrow!

God Bless!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A Me Second Lifestyle

Ok, so sorry I have not been more proactive in producing a timely blog, but it is time to get caught up with that. It has been so busy here in Omaha that blogging hasn't been on the radar, but time is opening back up and I really think this will be a good tool to use.

So about the title....well I recently had the opportunity to teach on "A Me Second Lifestyle". Our youth group has an amazing theme for the year and it is "Livin' the Comittment". Each month we have looked at different aspects of this from things such as a "Life of Habits", to "Sharing Your Story" (using the 3-story evangelism model). In December we really wanted to focus on putting others first. This was one of the first times I've been able to give an entire message to the whole group, and amazingly enough I was nervous! But needless to say, God does amazing things and all went well. Hopefully I will find time to upload what my flowsheet and message said so that others may take a look at it. A book that I really need to give credit to is "Speaking to Teenagers" by Duffy Robbins and Doug Fields. It was an amazing book that helped a ton and I recommend it to any person who speaks to teenagers whether it's a small group of junior high boys or an entire youth group.

One last note before I close for today. As many know, there was a horrible shooting last Wednesday at Westroads Mall here in Omaha. The entire event has really affected our community, but I believe that good will come out of it. It's amazing to see how our entire city has really rallied around this terrible happening. I ask you all to keep praying for the families of the victims and for the healing of this community. When I look at what happened I am also saddened to see how one youth could possess so much hurt and anger that he could do so much damage. That alone is the reason I want to be a Youth Pastor. I encourage all of you to keep strong and diligent and never forget why God has called us to this profession. Even though at times it seems like we aren't getting the reactions that we would like from our youth, it does not mean that they aren't listening. They are! And they are hoping to find someone, anyone in their lives to listen to them. I encourage all of us to take some time and refocus our hearts on why we do what we do.

God Bless!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fall Retreat

Ok, so don't have a lot of time to write this post, I'm at my other job and about to leave work, but here it goes:

So starting tomorrow (a Thursday) we head to our fall retreat at five. This should be interesting because the retreat is thursday, friday and come back saturday. We had to this schedule because the retreat center was only available during those days. So, most kids will have to miss school friday to come on the retreat. We actually have about ten school districts represented and all have different schedules, but a couple have friday off so we tried to work around that.

Our youth group averages about forty on an average night. The amazing party and obviously it's a blessing, is that we have 28 kids signed up for the retreat as of tonight. Of course there are sometimes a couple who don't show, but there are always those who do not sign up but show up anyways. But just the fact that with this scheduling conflict, we still have more than half our group coming is proof of God's ability to work with and through anything. I can already feel the excitement for this retreat and can tell God is going to do something amazing in the lives of our kids.

I was given the opportunity to teach one of the four lessons, but have only had a few days to prepare after getting back from NYWC. This is my first time teaching this youth group and I naturally am a little nervous. I have been working pretty hard on this and am praying that God uses me to get His message across. The topic for our retreat is A Life of Prayer. This entire month we have been talking about developing the habits that will help us grow spiritually. We have talked so far about reading the Bible on a regular basis and have even given the kids the One Minute Bible by Doug Fields. It has been a great resource and the kids have been very diligent so far in using it.

So now we have turned our focus onto prayer. My teaching is on Prayer in Action. I have attached my outline in case anyone wants to take a look. Any comments or insight is always welcome. God Bless!

Prayer in Action

This morning before we head back to the business of life, most of you start back with school on Monday for the first time in a week. Let’s get into a new habit. We have challenged you to start reading your Bible regularly now I want to challenge you to pray regularly.

Let’s review some things we have learned from this retreat so we don’t forget…
◊ On Thursday night we talked about what prayer looked like…
◊ Friday, we learned the Power God brings when we pray…
◊ Friday night we learn about the faith that God requires when we pray

This morning I want to show you some types of prayer and ideas to help make prayer a regular part of your life.

First off, here are some things to try to help you get into a habit of praying

Habits of Prayer

1. review the 5 G’s of praying (have them get it out and read each G)
2. Find patterns in the day in which it would be easy to set a side time to pray
a. Before you get out of bed, before the first class starts, first thing you do when you get home, the last thing you do before you go to bed
b. Don’t “make time”, take time. Developing a life of prayer involves sacrifice. There are only 24 hours in a day and all of us usually keep busy. That is why you cannot make more time, but you can take time. Maybe its five minutes. Five minutes of less video games, or instant messaging…. …… The key is to be consistent and sacrifice time to pray.
3. Pick a thing that you are going to highlight each day in your prayer
a. Pick something that you will pray for each day (mon: unsaved friends, tues: my parents, Wed: my best friend Thurs: for my small group Fri: for my church etc.
4. Pick someone to ask you each week how your prayer time is going (Accountability)
5. Have a format for prayer. Through my prayer times I have developed a certain format of prayer that has helped me organize the things I pray for. It is not the only format to pray and it may not even be the best format to pray, but it helps me to pray regularly.
a. Pray for forgiveness
b. Praise
c. Pray for others
d. Personal prayer requests
6. Be in constant prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18 it says: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Just because you have a set time for prayer that you have developed, it doesn’t mean you can only pray then. The scripture says it is God’s will that we are constantly praying and praising. A life of continuing dialogue with God will help you to remember the specific time during the day you have set apart for prayer and it will make that time more rewarding.

7. Make a prayer journal. As you write in a prayer journal everyday, it becomes pretty evident when you have missed a day. Even more, after taking some time and really investing in your prayer life, you can look back and see how God has answered your prayers. Even your small group leaders use prayer journals to remember the prayer requests each of you make. I know it helps Reuben and I to look back and see how God has answered those prayers.

Now that you have some ideas behind what habits are good to have to develop a regular prayer time, it is important to realize that there are so many types of prayers. Our goal is for you to understand the importance of being specific in your prayers. There is so much more that God wants us to get out of a life of prayer than just asking him to heal a sick pet (even though that can be very important). It would be like if I was failing my Physics class and went to talk to my professor and said, “Dr. Freeman, I really need help in Physics”. He might say, “Well, yeah, duh! I’ve seen your test and you need a lot of help. So what areas are you struggling?” And I give him a blank stare and say “Uh…Physics?!?” Obviously he would not be able to help me when I cannot give him the specific problem.

While God knows the specifics of what’s wrong in our lives, he wants us to go further and be specific. By us telling God what exactly what we are praying for, we acknowledge that we recognize the areas in life that we need him most.

But sometimes it can be hard to think of specific things to pray for. That is why we are going to do some product testing before you go home and try the real thing.

On these cards are specific people or issues that you may want to pray for. Under those are possible situations and topics that you can pray about. There are many more things that need prayer and I encourage you to expand on this list, but for the purpose of this activity, we will use these categories. So go ahead and find a partner. For the next 20 minutes I want you and your partner to find somewhere quiet and really pray over these. As you pray let God lead you in the certain specifics behind each person or topic. After you have finished, come back and we will see how it went.

Types of Prayer:

1. Parents
2. Siblings
3. Your relationship with family

Friends who are believers
1. Growth in their walk
2. Strength in temptation

Unsaved friends
1. Divine Opportunities
2. For God to open their hearts

1. Relieve stress
2. Understanding

Growth in your relationship with Jesus
1. Wisdom
2. Faith in tough times
3. Daily reminders of His work

1. Wrongful actions
2. Wrongful inaction

1. Answered prayers
2. Beauty of creation
3. Gifts in your life

1. Possibility of college or work
2. Future spouse
3. Your ministry

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Ok, so I am pretty to new to this, but I think after a few times I will get the hang of it. Honestly, I went to the National Youth Worker's Convention in San Diego and noticed all the awesome blogs so I decided to try one for myself.

The purpose behind the blog is really to provide a resource and encouragement to youth pastors and workers. My goal is to keep everyone apprised of what our youth group at Grace Fellowship in Omaha, Nebraska is up to. And possibly give youth workers some great new ideas. Another goal is for youth ministry interns to have a place to go and learn and ask questions.

I am currently an intern for the Crave (the student ministry at Grace Fellowship). I have been a part of the ministry for the past year and am excited about the opportunities God has given me for this next year. I work primarily with Junior Highers and absolutely LOVE IT!

Anyway, in the coming days I hope you can utilize this resource as I try to keep up with it. If you have questions or comments let me know or email me: