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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bible Studies For Your Teen

Church youth groups can be a great teen experience. Like everything, there are good youth groups and not-so-good ones. As a parent, we desire our children to be in a youth group that is God honoring and encourages our children to bring their Bible in hand for a teaching. When we were recently on the hunt for a solid youth group, we made a point to visit the youth group and meet with the youth pastor.

Some youth groups try to be so fun, they lose their purpose. Instead of a place where kids can grow up together in their knowledge of Jesus Christ, they draw kids with Skittles and Guitar Hero and follow up with little or no Bible study at all.

Don't get me wrong. I think Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and ping-pong make a mean combination. But, I have to ask myself what kind of lesson are my kids walking away with? We make sure to place our children in youth group that desires to teach about God in fun ways. Not teach about fun alone.

Scavenger hunts are great, but when my children grow up and need hope or faith in their life, they won't be seeking a paper clip or a 1945 penny.

Now, before you start thinking I'm being way too hard on the church, I believe our Christian walk begins at home. It is ultimately our job as moms and dads to raise up our children in the way they should go. That is not the sole responsibility of a youth group. It is ours.

And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deut. 6:6-9 NLT

You don't have to have a theological degree to read through the Bible together. Start with the book of John, or Esther if you have a daughter. Our youngest daughter Grace (11) LOVES the story of Esther. Our son Samuel (9) reads the story of King David in his daily devotion time, his favorite story in the Bible.

Paul and I made a point to take time each week in a study when our children hit the pre-teen years. Meghan (18), and our son David (15) have experienced a few over the years. We have enjoyed the one-on-one time we've shared with each of our children. It has given us moments that have been a blessing to all of us.

Bible studies are a great bonding time. Paul and David work on theirs on our back deck, or at our local coffee shop. Meghan and I used to enjoy having our time away from the house at our local coffee shop too. Whatever you decide to do, your children will welcome having one of their parents all to themselves.

I've included below the Bible studies we've experienced first hand and highly recommend to you.

Fifty interactive Bible studies for teen girls provide a Christian perspective on relevant topics such as beauty, jealousy, fear, partying, self-acceptance, eating disorders, mood swings, perfectionism. Amazon Review

Andrea Stephens has been where many young girls dream of being--on the front page of a glamour magazine, modeling the latest fashions and turning heads everywhere from her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the big city of New York. But, in her own words, it was a ''God thing'' that taught her the meaning of real beauty. And now in book one of the B. A. B. E. book series, her encouraging, upbeat writing style, speaks directly to teen readers right where they're at. Using real-life examples and simple exercises, Andrea leads these young women into the meaningful ''B. A. B. E. sisterhood,'' where they will learn to see themselves through the eyes of a loving, purposeful Creator.About the series: The B.A.B.E. books teach girls that true significance is not about their hips or their hairdos, but about their hearts-hearts that are beautiful, accepted, blessed, and eternally significant. Amazon Review

This groundbreaking book shows readers the glorious design of women before the fall, describes how the feminine heart can be restored, and casts a vision for the power, freedom, and beauty of a woman released to be all she was meant to be. By revealing the core desires every woman shares-to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a grand adventure, and to unveil beauty-John and Stasi Eldredge invite women to recover their feminine hearts, created in the image of an intimate and passionate God. Further, they encourage men to discover the secret of a woman's soul and to delight in the beauty and strength women were created to offer. Amazon Review

**Meghan did this study while in her high school youth group. She LOVED it.**

In this revised edition of the best-selling book The Measure of a Man, Gene Getz delivers the newly enhanced message of what it takes to be a man of God. Men will gain encouragement for what they can be in Christ-as fathers, husbands, and mentors to other men. Since 1974, The Measure of a Man has taught hundreds of thousands of men around the world how to live according to God's direction-faithfully, lovingly and spiritually. True masculinity is not measured by a man's strength, but by these 20 biblical guidelines. With life applications and words of inspiration, here is Gene's greatest work-fully rewritten and updated to reach the new generation of modern men. Amazon Review

**Even though this book is not faith-based, it's lessons on good character and solid moral conduct gave my husband Paul the ability to bring every chapter back to God's Word and what He says about these  topics.**

Based on his father's bestselling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Sean Covey applies the same principles to teens, using a vivacious, entertaining style. To keep it fun, Covey writes, he "stuffed it full of cartoons, clever ideas, great quotes, and incredible stories about real teens from all over the world... along with a few other surprises." Did he ever! Flip open to any page and become instantly absorbed in real-life stories of teens who have overcome obstacles to succeed, and step-by-step guides to shifting paradigms, building equity in "relationship bank accounts," creating action plans, and much more.Amazon Review

Get away with your preteen or teenager for a one-on-one adventure of a lifetime! Passport2Purity will guide you and your son or daughter through biblical principles for life's most difficult challenges, including dating and those other difficult topics to discuss. Let Dennis and Barbara Rainey lead you through an encouraging do-it-yourself retreat full of discovery, communication and fun. The kit includes a leader's manual, a student manual, CDs featuring Dennis and Barbara Rainey, a passport, and seals. Family Life Review.

It's never too late to begin a study together. Take a moment and mark out this special time on your calendar at home.

Your kids will never forget it.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Faith and Fear are Mutually Exclusive

Our son David is in Australia. We put our fifteen year old son on a seventeen hour international flight, so he could walk through a door the Lord had clearly opened for him. He is experiencing three weeks on our dear friend's sheep ranch. He is in his element and having the time of his life.

For days before he left, I fought my fears.

As a parent, I struggle with mom-fears like everyone else; kidnappers, homicidal maniacs, drunk drivers, the list is long. A checklist of concerns play through my head before one of my children attempts to do anything or go anywhere.

As I allow my fears to play in my mind over and over again, like a broken record, these fears work a deep groove into the recesses of my innermost thoughts. Until, finally, they are what I think of first, before anything else, including God's word.

God's word says, Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) Jesus said to his disciples, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matt. 8:26

Paul saw a chance for a hard-working lesson, "We won't help you fund this trip, son. The Lord has opened a door for you. You and He will have to work this out together."

Fear hoped he couldn't raise enough money. Faith desired my child to run through the Lord's wide open door.

On Wednesday, I will be throwing my arms around my son as he returns home from his trip. I'm grateful the grooves in my mind are slowly cutting a new path. God's word is the best for filling in the cracks in my wrong-thinking.

Faith and fear are mutually exclusive. Fear will forever hold my children back and keep them from all the Lord has for them. Faith must always be my first response.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear. 1John 4:18