Archive for the ‘Transformation’ 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.



CORE students get some help priming the Youth Room for the big update! #leadership

CORE students get some help priming the Youth Room for the big update! #leadership

Basecamp” is about preparing for a journey. ¬†We have been preparing for CORE Youth Ministry’s big journey this summer merging with 7th and 8th grade students; until now our preparation has come in the form of brainstorming ideas (remember the white tiger idea?), cleaning the youth room and planning the new room design, and discussing lesson plans.

This past Wednesday, the students of CORE turned the preparation inward.

One important factor when beginning a journey is leadership.  We have all been a part of a group with natural-born leaders; other times we are a part of a group with weak or reluctant leaders.  One thing we can learn by reading both the Old and New Testament is that we serve a God who loves to show His leadership through the most unlikely people and situations.  Perhaps one of the most profound examples of this can be seen through the journey of the Israelites from slavery into the Promised Land.

Moses and Israelites-003

Even though the lines of this picture have become a bit faded (click the pic for a closer look), you can see that the Israelite’s journey is full of ups and downs. ¬†When you read Exodus (for the sake of the narrative, you can skip the laws of Leviticus and the census info from Numbers 1-10), Numbers 11-25, Deuteronomy, and Joshua you see an action and adventure-filled drama that is almost as unbelievable as the storyline of Twilight. ¬†Almost. ¬†(I haaaave to believe that God parting the Red Sea is more¬†believable¬†than a world where a vampire and a werewolf are both in love with Kristen Stewart. ¬†Maybe that’s just me…)

This journey shows us good (and bad) leadership on the part of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua. ¬†This journey also shows us the good (AND BAD!) example of God’s beloved people, the Israelites. ¬†Read the story (Exodus – Joshua) and follow along on our slides [Leadership 4:6]. Ask yourself:

What are the lessons learned by the Israelites?

What lessons do we learn from the Israelites?

What great leadership qualities were displayed by Moses?  Aaron?  Joshua?  What poor leadership qualities were displayed?

What does this journey reveal about God?  What does it reveal about the Israelites?  What does it reveal about ourselves?

How can we be strong leaders in our new journey?

My prayer for you is that the God who delights in showing His powerful leadership through the most unlikely of people and situations would reveal Himself to you this week.  As we see through this journey to the Promised Land, our God hears the cry of His people, and He responds in powerful ways.

Basecamp: The place where you prepare for the journey ahead.

The students of¬†CORE Youth Ministry¬†are preparing for an exciting new journey beginning this summer. ¬†You’ll read more about CORE’s adventurous new chapter in upcoming posts. ¬†Intrigued? ¬†I hope you are. (:

Week 2

Meanwhile, back at Basecamp, we focused on preparing our youth room.  We cleaned, we hauled furniture, we trashed things.  We ate pizza and dreamed up a new color scheme and room design.  Here is what we decided last night:

Winner!In the spirit of a new and exciting chapter, we chose the bold concept of bright colors beginning on our main wall and traveling across our ceiling. ¬†We’re pretty pumped about the idea. ¬†Lest you fear we have chosen a design with pink in the pallet, you can see our color scheme is to the right.

Stay tuned for “Before” and “After” pictures in the coming weeks.

Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuge “THANKS!” to the CORE students who prepared our room for the journey ahead!


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]

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.

How would you describe someone who is a “fan” of Jesus? ¬†Someone who puts on a “Team Jesus” jersey, cheering loudly when Christianity is cool? ¬†Someone who goes to church on Sundays, knows all the words to “How Great is Our God,” and has a fish bumper sticker? ¬†I would describe this person as¬†an enthusiastic¬†admirer…¬†much the way we admire Katniss Everdeen or Tim Tebow.


During this series, I’m wondering if being a fan–an enthusiastic admirer–is enough for Jesus. ¬†Not sayin’…just wonderin’.

That’s why your presence at CORE on Wednesday nights is SO. IMPORTANT. during this series. ¬†Without you, I’m just going to keep on wonderin’. ¬†I need to hear your thoughts, beliefs, understanding, and experiences.

Catch Kyle Idleman’s thoughts on candy, snuggies, and sacrifice in the video below, and share your response next Wednesday at 7pm.


Mission Info


My office will be open on Mondays from 3:30-5pm to research and explore ways we can serve. ¬†Feel free to join us then, or research on your own. ¬†Not sure where to begin your research? ¬†Check out the amazing organization @coreyouthmin follows on Twitter, or take a look at some organizations on Kels’ Ministry Resources Board on Pinterest.