Archive for the ‘High School’ Category


The students of CORE Youth Ministry have been studying Nehemiah alongside the members of¬†Manchester United Methodist Church body. ¬†Instead of being a traditional youth group that develops¬†lessons¬†independently from the church body, we have decided to become radical. ¬†Our students (6th-12th grade) meet after church on Sunday mornings to discuss how Pastor Mike’s sermon on Nehemiah applies to our life today. ¬†The¬†students are studying the passage during the week, discussing take-home questions with their parents, taking notes during the sermon, and discussing areas of their life where they can apply biblical principles from Nehemiah, as well as other areas of scripture. ¬†We believe this radical step in youth ministry will foster discipleship at home, with families, and develop strong disciples for Jesus.

Follow our journey through Nehemiah¬†with our take-home questions, adapted from The Village Church’s Nehemiah series study guide.




Basecamp: The place where you prepare for a journey.

By now I am certain you have caught on: we are preparing for EXCITING changes at CORE Youth Ministry.

I am proud to announce that the huge journey we are preparing for is a new addition to our Wednesday night programming!

Smallest LogoBeginning Wednesday, June 5 we will expand to include 7th and 8th grade students.  We.Are.Psyched!

Much of our “Basecamp” preparation revolves around dreaming and planning for a summer of super-sweet activities. ¬†In honor of the epic launch of “Merge” we are kickin’ our summer off in style: A trip to Valley Fair!

Valley Fair Trip-001Let the anticipation for an AWESOME summer (full of games, growth, and adventure!) begin!

Lent: 4/7

Posted: March 7, 2013 in Christ, CORE, High School, Lent, Love, Luke, Service, Transformation

2011-06-28 COLORADO

“Father Abraham had many sons / and many sons had Father Abraham / I am one of them, and so are you / so let’s just praise the Lord!”

Many of us are familiar with this silly Sunday School song. ¬†Many of us are familiar with the story of Abram, a super-old, faithful man who was given a promise by God: “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them…so shall your offspring be,” (Gen 15:5, NIV). ¬†That’s a crazy promise, right? ¬†Abram and his wife, Sari were suuuuuuuuper old. ¬†Like our grandparents having their first baby. ¬†Sick. ¬†Nasty.

When God spoke to him, Abram had a choice in how he was going to respond.

Put a pin in that thought and turn to the New Testament, to Simeon. ¬†[Sorry, I have no catchy Sunday School song for him.] ¬†Simeon was also old, and was also given a promise from God that “…he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ,” (Luke 2:26). ¬†Like Abram, Simeon had a choice in how he was going to respond.

Both men could have taken the thing that was given to them from God (Abram: A promise for many children // Simeon: A promise that he would see the Messiah) and laughed in God’s face. ¬†“Yeah right! ¬†What are the chances that’ll happen?!” ¬†Or they could have responded in faith and action.

Which they both did. ¬†[For the rest of Abram’s story, read Genesis 15-22; For the rest of Simeon’s story, read Luke 2:25-35]

So what’s the importance of these two examples in our life today?

Our dear friend Bill preached this message at Manchester United Methodist Church last night. ¬†He challenged our actions and asked us, “What are you doing with the things God has given you?” ¬†God might not have told you that you will be given more children than there are stars in the sky like Abram, but He has given you gifts, talents, and passions.

You honor God by the way you live your life.  What are you doing with it?

Inspired by MUMC’s Lenten Service [Lay Leader: Bill Scanlan]

Speak life

What an unexpected night at CORE Youth Ministry.  We set out to discuss one topic, and ended up discussing something completely different.  There were TONS of rabbit-trails and (more than once) we halted the discussion to debate whether our donated cupcakes were topped with spoiled frosting.  Not exactly the spiritual depth I pray for weekly.

And yet, as I reflect on last night, I can’t stop smiling. ¬†Instead of being frustrated (or discouraged), I found it charming. ¬†Endearing. ¬†Sometimes we need a night where the discussion is unexpected. ¬†While “random” it was, “pointless” it was not.

In this season of Lent we are sharing a meal (hob-knobbing with our church family), attending a Lenten service, and discussing the sermon.  Last night Pastor Mike (Senior Pastor at Manchester United Methodist Church) preached on Luke 7:11-17,

Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. ¬†As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out–the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. ¬†And a large crowd from the town was with her. ¬†When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” ¬†Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. ¬†He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” ¬†The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. ¬†They were all filled with awe and praised God. ¬†“A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. ¬†“God has come to help his people.” ¬†This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country. (NIV)

The main point that Pastor Mike was trying to make was a question: “Are you dead (like this boy), or are you alive in Christ?”

After the sermon we got comfortable on the couches in the youth room and and began to discuss the topic at hand. ¬†It seemed, however, that there was very little to discuss. ¬†Everyone in the room was confident that they are not “going through the motions” of being a Christ-follower; everyone feels alive in Christ.

This is where the conversation might have stalled out.  And in a sense, it did.  But CORE students are amazing.  They blow me away.  In the moments where it felt like there was nothing left to discuss, they noticed a little nugget of Truth from Luke 7:11-17.

Jesus spoke life into the dead boy.

This has practical application in our own lives. ¬†We can all point to moments where scripture, a mentor, or a song on the radio has “spoken life” into our dry, weary, or dead souls.

As we tossed around this concept, ideas became to take shape for CORE’s Celebration Sunrise Service on Sunday, March 31. ¬†Students will share verses from scripture that “speak life” to them personally. ¬†My heart was so touched as they began to toss around passage after passage of “life-giving” Truth from the bible. ¬†I can’t wait for them to share on Easter morning.

Sometimes the most random nights give birth to something beautiful.

DTR‚ÄĒDefine the relationship.

In the past three weeks we have taken a look at the difference between a ‚Äúfan‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúFollower‚ÄĚ of Jesus. ¬†We established that fans often look like Followers, but fans do not have a true level of commitment. ¬†They become “enthusiastic admirers” of Jesus ¬†for the things they can get from Him: good grades, popularity, and a puppy for Christmas. ¬†(You might be scoffing at those spiritually weak ‚Äúfans.‚ÄĚ)

Let’s turn the tables on you:

Ask yourself, ‚ÄúAm I a fan, or a Follower?‚ÄĚ ¬†Chances are you assume you are a follower because your family goes to church, you volunteer in the community, and you have not been arrested in the last month. ¬†…But is that what it takes to be a “Follower”?

Think about it this way:
There’s a guy or girl you’re crushin’ on. ¬†You start hanging out, and it is fun and exciting. ¬†She‚Äôs pretty; he‚Äôs cool; you‚Äôre friends think you‚Äôre cute together. ¬†But the time comes when you wonder, ‚ÄúWhere is this going?‚ÄĚ ¬†You have to decide if things are casual, or committed. ¬†You have to have ‚ÄúDTR.‚ÄĚ ¬†Define.The.Relationship.

The same way you have to have a DTR to figure out if things are casual or¬†committed¬†with your crush, you need to do that with Jesus. ¬†For instance, would your relationship with Jesus be “Facebook official”? ¬†You know, would your Facebook status say, ‚ÄĚIn a Relationship with‚ÄĚ Jesus? or would it say, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Complicated‚ÄĚ with Jesus? ¬†Would it say “Single and Ready to Mingle!”? ¬†Here are some questions worthy of some head-scratching, soul-searching time of reflection.


DTR 2-002


What did your reflection reveal about your relationship status with Jesus?

If you see yourself closer to a “fan” than you want to be, then let’s begin the ¬†journey from fan to follower.

Not a Fan 2 002

Here’s what Jesus says about moving beyond a casual relationship, into a committed follower: Luke 9:23

“And [Jesus] said to all,¬†‚ÄúIf anyone would come after me, let him¬†deny himself and¬†take up his cross¬†daily and follow me.” (ESV)

Anyone”‚ÄĒan open invitation.

No matter what you have done, Jesus is calling you to be in a committed relationship with Him. ¬†Does accepting this come easily to you, or do you struggle with being accepted and loved? ¬†Do you try to earn His love/acceptance by the ‚Äúgood things‚ÄĚ you do?

When Jesus says ‚Äúanyone,‚ÄĚ He means ‚Äúeveryone.‚ÄĚ ¬†What does that reveal about His character?

Come after Me‚ÄĒa passionate pursuit.
How do you ‚Äúcome after‚ÄĚ someone with whom you want to become better friends? ¬†How do you pursue your crush? ¬†I remember one time when I was being pursued by a guy. ¬†He was so intent on “passionately pursuing me” that he spent hundreds of dollars on a private airplane ride…and it was only our first date! ¬†We didn’t need a DTR to see that he was pretty committed. ¬†(And no, this was not on an episode of The Bachelor.)

It makes me think of¬†Matthew 13: Treasure in a Field parable. ¬†I have always struggled to understand why a guy who stumbled upon a big pile of treasure sold everything that he had and bought the land where the treasure was¬†buried. ¬†I mean, that’s crazy, right? ¬†But look at if from his perspective:¬†He sells all he has (#sacrifice) because the treasure he has found is far ‚Äúbigger and better‚ÄĚ than what he is trading. ¬†He is passionately pursuing the treasure.

¬†‚ÄúWhen we discover the life we can have in Jesus we are to come after Him like this man pursued this [treasure]. ¬†Fans will be careful not to get carried away. ¬†Followers understand that following Jesus is a pursuit that may cost them everything, but it is the best investment they could ever make.‚Ä̬†Kyle Idleman, Not a Fan: Teen Edition

If you realize you look a lot more like a fan than Follower, take some time to consider what it could look like to “passionately pursue” a relationship with Jesus. ¬†Talk to people who are doing that very thing. ¬†Consider the comparison to a dating relationship: spend time with Him, getting to know Him. ¬†Maybe even book a private plane ride with Him. :)

Inspired by Kyle Idleman’s Not A Fan: Teen Edition.

Last week’s discussion ended on the idea of sacrifice. ¬†We asked, “When was the last time Jesus cost you something?”

This idea of sacrifice got me thinking about the game “Bigger, Better.” ¬†Ever played? ¬†It’s easy. ¬†You start with something you find from your pocket: a penny, a piece of gum, a tube of chapstick. ¬†Then you knock on a neighbor’s door, asking if they have any item they might trade you that is bigger or better than your item.

For example, last night we had two teams playing “Bigger, Better.” ¬†Team Two started with a penny, traded it for fifty cents, and traded the fifty cents for a can of Pepsi. ¬†The can of Pepsi was traded for a great piece of yard art. ¬†Bigger, and definitely better.

Not a Fan 2 002

Each house that CORE students visited required a judgement call.  We had to judge whether the new item was bigger or better than the item we were sacrificing.  If it was worth it, a trade was made.  Do you see the spiritual significance?

Being a Christ-follower (rather than just a fan–an enthusiastic admirer of Jesus) requires sacrifice. ¬†We give up something in order to follow Him. ¬†In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “…¬†‚ÄúIf any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.” (NLT)

What might it mean to “turn from your selfish ways”? ¬†I don’t mean to ask this question in a general sense; I am asking us to answer this question in the quietness if our own heart. ¬†What might be our “selfish ways” that keep us from a closer, purer relationship with Jesus? ¬†Maybe it is drinking with our friends; maybe it is a bad attitude towards our family; maybe it is crossing physical boundaries in our dating relationship. ¬†Each one of us will identify or “selfish ways” differently, but how we respond to them will be the same for all Followers who judge Jesus to be bigger and better.


“…If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

[Inspired by Not a Fan by Kyle Idleman.]

not a fan


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