youth

How to talk to your kids about their camp experience

How to talk to your kids about their camp experience

Camp season is here and we are kicking things off this Thursday with Kid’s Camp! Whether your student is in 3rd, 8th or 12th grade, great conversations after camp can solidify the meaningful truths they experienced at our retreats. We want to help you have those conversations with your student when they return home from camp. 
 

Beautiful Design #3

You feel it every morning you wake up and every night when you go down to sleep. You watch it on the news and see it in movies and television. In every conversation, relationship, thought and desire. 

It’s sin. Such a typical Sunday school answer, but consider the real results of sin in everyday life: all types of pain, stress, anxiety, aggression, strife, selfishness, dishonesty, passivity, anger, stealing, just to name a few. We feel the alienation from God, nature and each other in all sorts of ways we can hardly wrap our minds around. James 4:1-4 says, 

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

Our beautiful design as men and women made in the image of God has also been tarnished. If you pay attention to current issues at all, you have probably noticed the changing nature of conversations on manhood, womanhood, marriage and the like. For some of you, it’s scary. For others, it is a daily battle of identity and self-worth. 

Clearly, sin affects all aspects of manhood and womanhood, but also in specific ways. Women are more inclined towards endless comparison (shape, size, tan, clothes, success, etc.) and perfectionism (the perfect selfie, job, relationship, measuring up to an impossible expectation set up by who knows!). Men, on the other hand, are prone to selfish passivity and selfish aggression. Just read statistics about pornography, fatherlessness, and incarcerations. It is truly a wilderness we live in. 

Is there any way to be free from these temptations, struggles, pitfalls and failures as man and woman? Or are we doomed to be tossed about by the winds and waves of whatever our culture defines as good, or pleasurable or desirable in a man or woman?

Perhaps a better question to ask is one that takes us back to the Garden of Eden where humanity fell out of love with its Creator God. And that is, do you trust God? Can you trust His design, purpose and love for you?

If we were honest, I think we would say “no.” Our actions, thoughts, values and beliefs make the case. We need overwhelming proof of this love, this beautiful design and destiny with God, right? Then be glad, Friend, for Romans 5 says, 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

What kind of reaction does that stir up in you? Knowing you can’t save yourself is depressing, but the reality of God’s love is one of self-sacrifice and victory for you and me. There is power and freedom in the name of Jesus for men and women alike. 

Reflect:

  • What are some common struggles both men and women of all ages experience? What are some different types of struggles they each face?
  • How does the truth of God’s love and salvation in Romans 5-6 change your perspective on your own worth and value as a man or woman? 
  • What might be your next step in engaging a healthy, biblical perspective on manhood and womenhood? How can we honor the unique image God has placed on each?
  • Parents: What might be some next steps in encouraging your student’s value and worth as a young man or woman? How can you encourage their passions, gifts and beauty beyond what culture tries to value and encourage them in?

Keep an eye out for many more posts, interesting articles and helpful tips as we journey together through Beautiful Design. 

 

Nick Binsacca - Director of Youth Ministry

Beautiful Design #2

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” — Genesis 1:1

Before there was time, matter, space or reality as we experience it, there was God. And from this singular verse we come to know this God as infinitely powerful and wealthy, Who is the Creator and Sustainer of life as we know it.

Whatever you believe to be true about creation, Genesis chapters one and two lay the foundation for the greatest drama ever to unfold. At the center of it is this God. In the supporting cast we find…us. We are the created, the canvas on which the Artist places His infinite worth, value and image. Everything was perfect. 

Today, however, we see a very different landscape. One where the duality of evil and good wage a seemingly infinite, unresolvable war; where hate and love constantly wrestle for our individual hearts; where no one escapes suffering and no one can reach absolute bliss. Why?

There came a day early on in our existence when mankind decided they wanted to be their own god. Genesis three shows us the instantaneous devastation of disobedience, rushing in to wreck the beautiful order and design; destiny of humanity is shame, fear and resentment. These are feelings we know all too well. 

Yes, God cursed mankind and the creation. Every stubbed toe, every failed relationship, every unsatisfied heart can be traced back to this moment. But it wasn’t the end. Before forcing mankind to leave the Garden of Eden, God delivers a promise. There will come an offspring of Adam and Eve who will put the end to death and sin forever, and His name is Jesus (Genesis 3:15). At least that’s what a number of people smarter than I tend to think. 

What does this have to do with our beautiful design? It means that no matter how corrupt or messed up the order and design of our humanity is, how we treat each other, how incompletely we love each other, how we have both taken and been taken from, our destiny with God is not lost but found in Jesus and the cross. Our infinite worth and value is restored in Him. 

My question is, do we live in the reality of that good news? Do we place our worth and value in the hands of Jesus? Is what He says true about us? Or are we trying to find meaning and satisfaction from lesser things (a job, a relationship, a hobby, a good deed)? There is only one way, one truth that leads to life. 

“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” — Romans 7:24-25

Reflect:

  • What is your favorite thing in all creation? What does that thing communicate about God?
  • If you could rid the world of one evil tonight, which would it be? Where does that evil have its origin? 
  • In what ways have you tried to be your own god in your life? How has Jesus changed your perspective on life, significance, purpose and salvation?
  • Parents: What might be some next steps in encouraging your student’s value and worth as defined by God and not the world? What do their media choices communicate about what they think about beliefs and values when it comes to life and relationships? 

Keep an eye out for many more posts, interesting articles and helpful tips as we journey together through Beautiful Design. 

 

Nick Binsacca - Director of Youth Ministry

Beautiful Design

Beautiful Design

Over the past several months I’ve grown increasingly aware of the sexualization of our culture. I guess I’ve always known about it, but now as a youth worker, I feel as though it deserves my attention for the sake of the next generation of fathers and mothers.

The question is, “why even talk out loud about this kind of stuff? Isn’t the truth about sex and sexuality already out there?” The real answer would be a resounding, “no.”