Jumat, 27 Maret 2015

This Is Why Sex Outside of Marriage Is So Dangerous

The real—biblical—reason behind sex is more beautiful and rich than you could ever imagine. Help us spread the word—share this.

Why Is Suicide a Sin?

A Cure for Impotence: Stop Using Porn!

A Cure for Impotence: Stop Using Porn!

Ever notice all those “natural male enhancement” or “testosterone supplement” advertisements? They’re nearly everywhere, promising men “a better sex drive,” “improved vitality,” or to “…be the man you used to be.”
Directly and indirectly, they promise better sex.
Well, it got me thinking, why are so many more men suddenly unhappy with their sex lives and looking to products like these for help?
Are the natural effects of aging on sexual functioning and libido suddenly affecting millions more men at much younger ages? It’s hard to imagine human physiology making such a spontaneous and drastic shift.
Porn Addiction - Impotence Can Be Cured
Maybe it’s that men feel less stigmatized about erectile dysfunction or low libido and are asking for help? Drugs like Viagra helped lower the shame of sexual dysfunction. Maybe this could account for some increase in demand.
As an Internet porn and sex addiction counselor, I treat many men who struggle with issues of sexual dysfunction that’s related to their use of Internet porn. Could it be that a major influence on sexual dysfunction in men has been overlooked?

Internet Pornography Could be Causing More Problems than We Know

Frequent viewing of pornography, especially Internet pornography, over-stimulates and desensitizes the users brain to normally sexually arousing experiences. And if your brain isn’t turned on, then neither is your penis.
In other words, if you’re using a lot of Internet porn, then you’re likely to find sex with your real wife or partner to be less satisfying over time, and as you use more porn, you can expect to have serious problems with sexual dysfunction.

“Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction”

I call it “Porn-Induced Sexual Dysfunction,” and it’s a problem. Here’s what frequent Internet pornography users can look forward to:
  • More stimulation and more intensity is necessary to get aroused
  • Can’t keep an erection
  • Experience delayed ejaculation
  • Sexual intercourse becomes difficult
  • Drugs like Viagra lose their effectiveness, and …
  • Eventually, they can’t get an erection even with porn
Someone with these problems would be a great customer for supplements and drugs that offer a return to “…the man you used to be” with “improved energy and vitality” and a “better sex drive.”
They seem to offer a “magic pill” that could bring a return to sexual normalcy, but “magic pills” don’t exist for the brain part of this problem, and it’s the brain that turns you on – or not.

It’s the Brain, Not the Penis

“Natural male enhancements,” testosterone supplements, and Viagra-like drugs help primarily with “equipment” related problems. If your sexual problem has to do with the proper physical functioning of your penis, then these might help.
More often though, the problem is rooted in real structural changes to the Internet porn user’s brain, not his penis. Reversing the dysfunction is possible, but it requires stopping the behavior, and getting stopped and staying stopped isn’t as easy as you might think.
When it all goes well, the brain responds to sexual cues, anticipates a positive experience, and the brain floods with arousal. Signals from the brain direct the body to prepare for sex, and as long as there aren’t problems with the sex organ itself, the body responds. No problem.
Porn-induced sexual dysfunction begins with changes in the reward and pleasure systems of the brain that simply become overwhelmed by the high intensity arousal of Internet pornography. Our brains just weren’t made to handle Internet porn.
When these reward and pleasure systems of the brain aren’t functioning properly, then the body doesn’t receive enough of the right signals for sex and the result is sexual impotence.
To the brain, every pornography image or video is a new sexual opportunity, and since sexual novelty is instinctually preferred, the brain floods with the promised feel-good hit – for every image or video viewed. That’s a lot of sexual arousal!

Awash with Arousal

All those surges of arousal make for a powerful sexual experience, one that most people will repeat, and that many will repeat often. It’s a heavy load for the brain to carry. In fact it’s so heavy that the brain can’t handle it and begins to “cover its ears.”
The porn user’s brain adapts to these frequent floods of arousal by changing how it “hears” arousal. Much like you might cover your ears if someone screamed at you, the pleasure system of the brain covers its ears and desensitizes to the flood.


The porn user’s brain begins to require more arousal, more intensity, and more stimulation just to feel like it used to feel. Desensitization means that those normally sexually arousing experiences no longer show up on the sexual radar.
Worse still, healthy and intimate sex with a real spouse or partner simply can’t compete. With these changes, the brain requires too much of the feel-good stuff to get even a little aroused.
The only options left for the Internet porn user is to either “porno-fy” his reality (that is, add intensity to make real sex like porn sex) or stick with the crazy novelty of Internet porn. Both options lead to real problems in relationships.

The Final Reality

It’s no surprise then that Internet porn users escalate their use and chase the feeling that eludes them with normal sex with a real and monogamous partner.
Pretty soon the symptoms of porn-induced sexual dysfunction are front and center and the sellers of natural male enhancements, testosterone supplements, and Viagra-like drugs have another potential customer.
Why not try stopping the porn first?
. . . .
Jeff Schultz, LPC, CSAT is a sex addiction counselor and founder of Sonoran Counseling Services in Phoenix, Arizona. Read more about Jeff’s work at the Sonoran Healing Center, LLC.

Kamis, 26 Maret 2015

Surfing missionary rides wave of the Spirit in Tonga

Surfing missionary rides wave of the Spirit in Tonga, as revival hits island nation By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
NUKU'ALOFA, TONGA via Skype (ANS -- March 26, 2015) -- After working for a couple years in West Africa, Zack Woolwine and his wife, Anna, began to seek the Lord about their next mission assignent with Youth for Christ. Surfing in TongaThey returned home to Ohio, but after a year they were ready to go back overseas.
Zack grew up in Florida and attended college in Hawaii, where he was able to nurture a passion for surfing. As he and Anna researched countries, the island of Tonga continued to grab his heart.
Was he drawn to minister in a place where could also ride a few waves? he wondered.
“I have a heart for remote places, but I always thought I would work in North Africa or the Middle East,” he recalls. Zack says he was willing to serve in a restricted country where his life might be at risk.
When Tonga continued to grab his heart he wondered if it was just “his flesh talking” or God’s leading. Over the next few weeks it became an internal struggle as he fasted and prayed unto the Lord.
One morning Zack sat in the front row at church and poured his heart out to God. “If you want me to go to Tonga, I’ll go to Tonga,” he told the Lord. “If you want me to go to the Arab world, I will go to the Arab world.”
That morning the church had a guest speaker – someone who had never met Zack. In the middle of the man’s sermon he stopped abruptly, looked at Zack and said: “God has already shown you what you need to do. You need to start preparing for it.”
The following week, a woman approached him at church and said, “I had a dream about you last night. You were on an island and it was really green and you were riding these waves. It was the Holy Spirit and it wasn’t a big effort. You were enjoying yourself and you had a big smile on your face.”
Caption: A surfer riding the waves in Tonga. (Photo: https://www.surfnsoul.com/)
Note: Please feel free to republish this or any ANS story with full attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
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Rabu, 25 Maret 2015

Is Your Youth Ministry Ready for the Unchurched?

Is Your Youth Ministry Ready for the Unchurched?
Many student pastors that I talk to strongly believe that their student ministry is always ready to welcome “outsiders.”
Every student pastor would say “yes” to this question. Ideally, youth pastors want to reach unchurched students. Many student pastors that I talk to strongly believe that their student ministry is always ready to welcome “outsiders.”
But do we really know what it entails when reaching unchurched students?
The problem is—unchurched students will cause a lot of problems in your youth ministry.
For example, here are a few problems I have observed and heard about when student pastors start reaching unchurched students:
1. Committed, engaged Christian parents will not like having unchurched students influencing their students, and strongly vocalize their concerns.
2. Unchurched students are really noncommittal.
3. Unchurched students really don’t care about your theology or church tradition.
4. Unchurched students are going to be disrespectful, distracting and will destroy stuff at the church.
5. Senior leadership may not like having the “rougher” crowd in their church building.
6. Unchurched students don’t know the church rules and they will break them a lot.
7. Unchurched guys will have no problem hitting on the Christian ladies in your student ministry.
8. Churched students will feel hurt and annoyed that their “space” is being invaded by “outsiders.”
9. Unchurched students have no problems sharing their hurts, pain and doubts.
10. Unchurched students are not that willing to pay for church events.
11. Unchurched students will make fun of churched students.
12. Unchurched students have no biblical knowledge, and in fact they don’t care what the Bible says and are careless about your “deep” Bible teaching.
13. Unchurched students will “test” you and your adult leaders with their psychological warfare and tactics.
My point: Ministering to unchurched students is very frustrating.
And there’s an increasing number of more and more unchurched cities across the country.
Recently Barna released a report that ranked the most and least “Bible-minded” cities by looking at how people in those cities view the Bible. Some of the top Bible-minded cities were a lot of Southern cities: Knoxville, Tenn., Shreveport, La., Chattanooga, Tenn., Charlotte, N.C., Birmingham, Ala. and Jackson, Miss. Some of the least Bible-minded cities were: Providence, R.I., Albany, N.Y., Burlington, Vt., Portland, Maine, Hartford, Conn., Boston, Mass., San Francisco, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., Las Vegas, Nev., Buffalo, N.Y. and New York, N.Y.

It’s clear that cities across the country are becoming more and more unchurched, which means that there’s going to be an insane urgency to reach unchurched students and families.
All youth pastors would agree we must reach unchurched students.
But some realize the difficulty when really trying to reach unchurched students. Reaching the unchurched requires a different method and it is really difficult.
And a few may not be willing to change their method in order to reach unchurched students. My worry is that some student ministries will be OK—just  programming student ministries for “Christian students only.” My hope is that some student ministries consider really trying to reach the crowd of students who really need Jesus. I smile when I hear about how student ministries do everything in their effort to go after that one lost sheep (Luke 15.3-7).
My two questions to student pastors:
(1)  Are we ready to reach the growing population of unchurched students?
(2)  What is our approach to reaching unchurched students? How will our approach influence:
a. how we recruit and train leaders?
b. how we teach students?
c. our student ministry philosophy and programs?
d. the way we create and design our student ministry environments?
e. the way we communicate to the already Christian and church families and students? 
Jeremy Zach Jeremy Zach easily gets dissatisfied with status quo. He reeks with passion and boredom is not in his vocabulary. He becomes wide awake when connecting with student pastors, thinking and writing about student ministry, experimenting with online technology, and working out. He is married to Mikaela and has two calico cats, Stella and Laguna. He lives in Alpharetta, Georgia and is a XP3 Orange Specialist for Orange—a division of the REthink Group. Zach holds a Communication degree from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities and Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. More from Jeremy Zach or visit Jeremy at http://ReYouthPastor.com

He frequented gay bars in Hollywood

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He frequented gay bars in Hollywood until God’s grace set him free
By Mark Ellis & Michael Ashcraft, Special to ASSIST News Service
SANTA MONICA, California (ANS -- March 24, 2015) -- Molested a few times when he was a child, Paul Gualtieri dabbled with homosexuality as a largely unsupervised 13-year-old in Palm Springs.
It wasn’t long before he found himself in his bedroom proclaiming his destiny: “I’m gay. I’m a homosexual,” he said out loud with no one around. It was a pivotal moment of his life. “There’s power in confessing both good and bad things. When I declared I was gay, I gave a right to a spiritual force in my life.”
When he was 13, he ran away to Hollywood and threw himself headlong into the partying and gay lifestyle. “I just got sucked right into it,” he recalls. “I thought it was great.”
He was too young to be admitted to the gay bars but prostituted himself to support a lifestyle that included drugs like Quaaludes, coke and meth.
“I just ran rampant,” he says. “I had different boyfriends. We would panhandle every day to buy drugs and pay our hotel.”
He slept at anybody’s house who’d have him, in Plummer Park and in the “Hotel Hell,” once posh lodgings for movie luminaries that became decrepit and abandoned on Hollywood Boulevard.
When he was 16, he checked the change return slot of a pay phone, as was his custom. Instead of coins, he found a Christian tract sitting there. “The tract was called ‘Wounded Children.’ It was about a boy who was rejected and abused,” he says.
Note: Please feel free to re-publish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assisnews.net), where you can also get a free subscription.  Please share this opportunity with your friends and colleagues.
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Senin, 23 Maret 2015

Stop Complaining About What You Don’t Have

Stop Complaining About What You Don’t Have

Does your heart break for what breaks God’s?
Today I stepped into a home I couldn’t believe somebody actually lived in. Not only because of the shape in which the house was in, but because the size of it was nothing close to what this family of nine really needed.
Two tiny rooms, three beds, one crib and a dining room table is all this family had to their name. I couldn’t believe how dirty everything was. I couldn’t believe how much they truly lacked. Today, my heart sank to a place it has never been before. I felt guilty for something I didn’t even have part in.

Our Pets Get Better Care

As I reflect on what I saw, I can’t help but realize how spoiled we are in the states. We have rooms that never get used, closets full of clothes we never wear, and pantrys full of food we never eat. Let’s face it, our pets get better care than most people around the world do. I understand we may live in different cultures, but it still doesn’t make the sting of reality less painful.
People complain about what they don’t have, yet don’t realize they’re more well off than 90 percent of the world. Many of these people live on less than $1.00 a day.
We need to stop complaining about the things we don’t have, and instead thank God for the things that we do. These families in Armenia, like many others in the world, are waiting and hoping for someone to sponsor their children. Sponsorships from World Vision, churches and other organizations are the only way some of these families are able to put food on the table, pay for their rent and keep their family clothed.

The Crux of The Gospel

The crux of The Gospel is full of love, and we must realize the importance of showcasing love to those who need it. Jesus fed the masses, healed the sick and even gave sight to the blind. He helped those in need, and didn’t do it expecting a return. We as Christ followers must do the same. We’re called to put others before ourselves!
“But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” —John 3:17
Our hearts must break for what breaks God’s.  
Jarrid Wilson Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor and author relentlessly sharing the love of Jesus. More from Jarrid Wilson or visit Jarrid at http://Jar

Does Jesus Really Understand Our Trials?

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Does Jesus Really Understand Our Trials?
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writers Opinion)
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – March 22, 2015) “Jesus and his disciples came to a place called Gethsemane. Jesus said to them, ‘Sit here while I pray.’He took Peter, James, and John along with him. He began to feel despair and was anxious.He said to them, ‘I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert’”—Mark 14:32-34 (CEB).
Distressed? Agitated? Afraid? Would you use these words to describe Jesus? Most of us would not. However, in Mark 14:32-34 above, we read that Jesus experienced emotions just like the rest of us.
I’m participating, along with other church members, in a 40-Day Lent study by Adam Hamilton. In Day 10 of Hamilton’s “24 Hours That Changed the World: 40 Days of Reflection,” he reminds us that Jesus was feeling what any human should feel when facing what He was going to face. “In Jesus Christ, God experienced anguish, sorrow, and suffering as human beings do.”
In Hebrews 4:15-16, Paul wrote, “For we do not have a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but, we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Have you ever been distressed, agitated or afraid? I have. I recall a time in February 2007 when I received a phone call from the wife of my oldest son. My son was being transported by Life Flight to a Tulsa hospital for an injury he’d sustained in an accident.
My son, who is what you would describe as a “horse whisperer,” had been picking up a horse from a client when the animal spooked. Whirling around, the horse kicked, striking my son in the side of the face and knocking him unconscious. Thank the Lord, my son was not alone. A friend called 911.
Arriving at the hospital, our family learned a CAT scan revealed a crack in the base of my son’s skull. Spinal fluid was also leaking from his nose. It didn’t look good. As the doctor returned to tend to my son, I paced the halls of the hospital, praying like I’d never prayed before. I said, “God, I know it must have distressed You to see Your Son go to the cross. I can’t imagine what You were feeling but Father God please don’t take my son. I’d rather give up my life instead.”
It was in that moment that I understood, really understood, how much God loves us.
By the way, God heard this mother’s prayers. When the doctor returned, a second CAT scan revealed there was no crack in my son’s skull and no evidence of spinal fluid leaking from his nose. When the doctor said, “I can’t explain it,” I replied, “I can.” With a smile of gratitude, I said, “He was healed by the greatest physician of all.”
When we are agitated, sorrowful, overwhelmed, and afraid, we can know that Jesus understands. Doesn’t that bring you comfort?
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Jumat, 20 Maret 2015

Are you hiding behind a mask?

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Are you hiding behind a mask?
By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service (Writers Opinion) 
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – March 17, 2015) --“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7 NIV). 
During Lent, many Christians choose to give up something. Chocolate, soft drinks, junk food, bread and red meat are just a few of the things given up during this time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. 
Recently, I learned a 13-year-old girl at our church has given up wearing make-up for Lent. Men, you may not be able to relate, but for women, especially a young teenager, this is a sacrifice. 
Addie’s mother shared the following on the second day of Lent: “Feeling very blessed! Last night at our Ash Wednesday service, the girls were talking about what they were giving up for Lent. Addie said she was giving up make-up. ‘Wow,’ I said, ‘that is a big one.’ I then realized today they are taking wrestling pictures. (Note: Addie is a wrestling cheerleader) I told her it would be okay to wear make-up for the pictures. She looked at me and said, ‘Mom, if it is in God’s plan that I not have make-up on, then that is what I will do.’” 
When I read this post on Facebook, I was not surprised. I know this family and their dedication to living a Godly life. However, I was amazed and touched by this 13-year-old girl’s willingness to give up wearing make-up, even for a yearbook photo, to honor her commitment to God. 
The next day, as I was getting ready for an appointment, I was watching a medical show. I was stunned when the doctors shared the story of a woman in her forties who had sought their help for her addiction to make-up. The woman admitted she had lost jobs and friendships because it takes her three to four hours to apply her make-up each morning. 
After what the doctors called an intervention, the woman learned from a make-up specialist to apply her make-up in 20 minutes or less. My initial reaction to this women’s confession was one of disbelief and pride. Then, I realized something. I was judging this woman instead of having compassion. I don’t know her heart but God does. 
People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. God does not look at the outward appearance or even the mask people wear. He looks at what matters. 
Each of us, if we think about it, often hides behind a mask. In a society hung up on appearances, the media portrays an image many think they need to attain to fit a certain mold, including extreme diets to fit into a size two jeans. In the process, however, we lose sight of our true identity. 
Our true identity is found in a relationship with our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t see our mask. He sees our heart. 
For more inspiration, check out the author's blog at www.carolaround.com
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Helping Your Students Wrestle With Mystery

Helping Your Students Wrestle With Mystery

How do we respond when our teens ask, “Why does the Christian faith seem so strange and tough to figure out?”
I agree that Christianity isn’t always easy to understand. There are many topics that are tough to grasp.

The Bible does not shy away from mystery.  

John, one of Jesus’ 12 followers, wrote 1, 2 and 3 John. In 1 John 1:1, we read:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.”
John is talking about God with skin on him.
Notice the words “we have seen with our eyes” and “our hands have touched” are symbols from John saying: “This God who became man, we got to hang out with him and spend time with him and watch him do miracles and see him sleep and fish and cast out evil spirits and heal people and interact with sick people and debate with the rabbis and religious leaders. We were with this Jesus.”
First, the Christian faith is about a real historical person, Jesus Christ.
He was a real, living person. John is taking something that is “out there” and making it practical and real. “The life appeared; we have seen it (v 2).” John saw Jesus; he lived with Jesus for three years. Then following Jesus’ death and resurrection, he appeared “to all the apostles” (1 Cor.15:8).
Second, that God came to the planet as a human being is a mystery.
“He came and lived in the neighborhood” (John 1:14 MSG). John became a pastor and shepherd to God’s people as he aged. In this first chapter of 1 John, we will dive more into the mystery of God becoming man and how that will help our students deal with light, darkness, sin and forgiveness. I don’t know about you, but I love mystery movies, books and anything that has a twist. The Christian faith would be boring without mystery. I cannot fully wrap my mind around the concept of the incarnation.
Third, John the apostle is saying that Jesus is experiential.
One of the reasons some are bored with church and Christianity is that they are dying to experience Christ, but their experience isn’t happening. That leads to frustration and sometimes depression. The good news is that God came to earth in the person of Jesus to live in our neighborhood and transform our lives from ordinary to extraordinary. This God-man can be experienced.
You can learn more about the Christian faith in my book Studies on the Go: James, 1-2 Peter and 1-3 John. I wrote the book because youth workers often lack the time or easily accessible information necessary to lead a quality Bible study, a Bible study that is memorable, and I wanted to challenge teens and young adults to engage with God’s word. Each lesson has a leader’s insight, warm-up questions, what you observed about the text, what it means for our daily lives and how to apply it to their lives. Plus, we provide handy tips and insights on each letter to help the leader understand the richness and background of the texts.
The Bible might be a mystery story, but reading and decoding it shouldn’t be. With a few solid resources, you can help your students understand and engage with the story of Christ in a new way.  
David Olshine David Olshine is Director of Youth Ministries at Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C., and the author of over 15 books, including I Wanto Talk with My Teen About Guy Stuff. He and David Burke are the founders of Youth Ministry Coaches, a coaching and consulting business (www.youthmincoaches.com). More from David Olshine or visit David at http://www.youthmincoaches.com

8 Common Clichés in Youth Ministry

8 Common Clichés in Youth Ministry

We have our own language in youth ministry. Our youth pastor colloquialisms are tribal in nature—I don’t often hear these phrases or terms outside of the youth ministry context. But within that crazy and beautiful world, these are eight common expressions in the youth worker’s vernacular:
1. Be Intentional
Based on how much we talk about it, the primary goal for youth ministry is to be more intentional about … well, just about anything! Relationships. Worship. Discipleship. Evangelism. Bathroom breaks. As long as we’re being intentional about it, it’s awesome. Just listen for this word in youth ministry training seminars or youth pastor gatherings—it’s how we roll.
2. Fringe Kid
Describing the misfits and outcasts, the marginalized and downtrodden, we often talk about the “fringe kid(s)” who populate the social borders of our youth group. We love the fringe kids, but apparently not enough to refer to them as simply human beings. No relation to the bizarre J.J. Abrams TV show.
3. Making Purple
A boy is blue. A girl is pink. When they come together, they really make some sort of strange lilac or periwinkle color. But when it comes to retreat and camp rules, we’re all about discouraging the making of purple. I’m gonna start saying “making periwinkle” to be more chromatically accurate.
4. Bring a Friend
If if the primary goal for youth pastors is to be intentional, the primary goal for students is bringing a friend. Bring ‘em to church. Bring ‘em to camp. Bring ‘em to small groups. Bring ‘em anywhere and everywhere. We’re always encouraging it, especially if that friend is a fringe kid.
5. Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
Especially on missions or service trips, youth workers frequently encourage students to get out of their comfort zone (i.e., that personal space where one feels safe and secure and warm and fuzzy). We don’t want warm and fuzzy. We want terrified and emotional. That’s called faith, right?
6. Love On
Marko wrote a brief post about the creepy factor of this phrase. A youth worker says they just want to “love on a student” or “love on the kids.” But this sounds downright gross if you think about it. No one wants to be loved on; they just need love, period.
7. Big Church
As opposed to the youth group service, “big church” is the main church gathering or worship service. Heard in sentences like, “After youth group, we’re going to skip big church and get donuts. Wanna come?”
8. Walk Along
A variation of “come alongside,” this is how youth pastors often describe their jobs to others: “I just walk along with students and help them know Jesus.” I don’t think we do this literally, unless we’re leading in a hiking ministry. Here’s what we mean: We’re making disciples. Intentionally, of course.
See also: Hip and Relevant Youth Group Names.
Examples: Elevate, eXtreme, Fusion, Journey, Revolution, Chaos and Impact. Or use some sort of variation on the concept of fire—i.e., Blaze or Flame or Fuel or Ignite or Spontaneous Combustion.
This is all tongue-in-cheek, of course, because I love (or love on) the youth ministry tribe. As you smirk and giggle at the above phrases, remember this: Our language matters. We need to have self-awareness about the words we speak and the tone we use when sharing about matters of faith, love and Jesus. We have to be mindful of using insider language that could be easily misunderstood or even harmful to relationships with young people. When we speak youth ministry-ese, let’s be alert to how our words shape our actions and relationships.  
Joel Mayward Joel Mayward is a pastor, writer, husband, and father living in Langley, British Columbia. He’s been leading in youth ministry since he graduated from high school in 2003, and is currently the Pastor of Student Ministries at North Langley Community Church. A writer for numerous youth ministry publications and author of Leading Up: Finding Influence in the Church Beyond Role and Experience, Joel writes about youth ministry, film, theology, and leadership at his blog, joelmayward.blogspot.ca. More from Joel Mayward or visit Joel at http://joelmayward.blogspot.ca

After escaping Altamont and Scientology

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After escaping Altamont and Scientology, he was born again in a trash dump
By Mark Ellis, Special to ASSIST News Service
SANGKHLABURI, Thailand (March 16, 2015) -- Rolling Stone magazine called the free concert at Altamont Speedway on December 6, 1969 rock and roll’s worst day. With the Hell’s Angels guarding the stage in exchange for $500 in beer, the ensuing violence-tainted quagmire resulted in four deaths, four births, scores injured, and a countercultural black eye to those hoping for another Woodstock.
The concert began with Santana, then featured Jefferson Airplane, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Grateful Dead were scheduled to perform next, but refused to play due to the rising tide of discord and violence. The final act featured the Rolling Stones, who should not have gone on stage.
“The Rolling Stones came on, then the sun went down and they started singing ‘Sympathy for the devil’ and Lucifer descended to receive worship,” recalls Tom Ravensberg, who attended the event with his brother, along with 300,000 others.
The Hell’s Angels drank their allotment of beer most of the day in front of the stage and were highly inebriated. The crowd became hostile and unpredictable, attacking each other, the Hell’s Angels, and the performers. The Hell’s Angels armed themselves with sawed-off pool cues and motorcycle chains to drive the crowd further back from the stage.
“The Hell’s Angels pulled a bus in and were throwing full cans of beer, hitting people in the head with full cans of beer,” Ravensberg recounts. “All the bands came on and I wasn’t a Christian but I thought it was so wicked I told my brother, ‘We’re leaving.’ The Hell’s Angels stabbed a guy to death right after we left.”
Looking back, Ravensberg had a rough upbringing in Southern California. “I was clinically depressed from age eight,” he says. “I was so depressed. I was looking for love and couldn’t find it at home so at 17 I started smoking pot and dropping LSD and I was sure I would meet God in outer space.”
His father attempted to impose a measure of discipline and enforce boundaries for the young rebel. “My dad told me if I got a haircut, went to church with them on Sunday, do all the yard work, pay room and board, you can stay here or you can pack your bags.”
Ravensberg decided he couldn’t stomach these constraints, so he crammed his belongings into the back of a Volkswagen bug, where he lived for a year.
Note: Please feel free to re-publish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
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Jesus Loves Haters

Jesus Loves Haters
By Brian Nixon, Special to ASSIST News Service
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS – March 16, 2015) -- Hate is a strong word.
Using the word conveys deep-seated feelings towards a person or thing. Being on one end of hatred—hating a person or thing or being hated, causes animosity, resentment, discouragement, bitterness, and anger.
While many know the word hate, the word hater is not as widely recognized.
According to NPR journalist Linton Weeks, however, “Haters are here. And there. And everywhere. And the word 'hate' is in the air.”[1]
haters 1Litton goes on to describe haters as people ranging “from disrupters at political rallies to sign makers at sports contests, from erudite misanthropes to semiliterate missive senders, from stand-up comedy hecklers to dish-served-cold revenge-seekers.
“They can be passionate or passive-aggressive. They can be smart or stupid. But nowadays they seem to be everywhere. What is their point? 'Haters want to be feared and heard,' says Brian Britt, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Tech University who studies the evolution of hate. 'Their use of outrageous behaviors is designed strategically to get attention. They violate norms of “niceness” and civil behavior in order to make a point.'“[2]
And “make a point” haters do, wreaking havoc in other's lives, situations, and beliefs.
Linton Weeks is right—haters seem to be everywhere. There's even a wikiHow page created for haters.[3]
Among the thousands of topics wikiHow had offered advice on—How To Get Rid of a Cold Sore with Home Remedies, How to Annotate, How to Ice Your Windshield, How To Be Knight, How To Stop Biting Your Nails—there is now a page called How to Stop Being a Hater.
Here's the advice the page offers advice:[4]
1. Take a step back
2. Stop comparing yourself to others
3. Define success your way
4. Think about what you say before you say it
5. Avoid the things you hate
While the advice given doesn’t exactly help define what a hater is, it sure gives a clue as to the root of the problem: anger, hurt, disdain, frustration, and bitterness against someone or something.
Just a cursory Internet search shows that haters are universal—there are websites dedicated to hating people and places from all around the world (from pop stars[5] to popcorn[6]).
There are even websites dedicated to helping you cope with haters.
Maybe you’re a hater. We hope not. But if you are, or if you're dealing with haters—those that are heated, harmful and hurtful—the good news is that Jesus loves haters and wants to restore their hearts (the source of the intentions behind their remarks), their head (thoughts) and hands (actions). Jesus wants to turn the hater into a lover of God and people.
The Internet has moved hating much more into the public conversation, but hating has been around as long as, well, hatred.
According to Dictionary.com, the verb hate means to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; to detest.”[7]
The noun for hater means a person who greatly dislikes a specified person or thing. The Urban Dictionary gives a little more insight: “A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy, they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person. Hating, the result of being a hater, is not exactly jealousy. The hater doesnt (sic) really want to be the person he or she hates[;] rather the hater wants to knock [someone else] down a notch.”[8]
Perhaps the most common usage of the word hater is in the phrase Haters gonna hate, used to call out someone who has expressed unfounded negative emotions toward someone else. In that sense, the phrase is a rebuke. For example, a hater might say, “If Frank is doing so well, why is he driving that '74 Mustang?” A non-hater's response would be along the lines of, “Haters gonna hate. Let the man drive what he wants.”
When discovering what the Bible has to say about hatred, blame-shifting, or insults, there are a host of scripture references to help the hater deal with their attitude and actions. Here is a small sampling:
Leviticus 19:17: “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him.”
Proverbs 8:13: “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.”
Proverbs 19:3: “The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the LORD.”
Matthew 7:1-2: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
Luke 6:27-28: “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”
Romans 12:9: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”
Galatians 5:15: “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”
Ephesians 4:31: “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.”
Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.”
When developing a plan to combat hatred—whether it's yours or someone else's—consider this acronym, which offers a response of FAITH. To paraphrase a popular church saying, Hate the hatred, not the hater.
F—Forgive. Forgive them. Jesus is clear: we are called to forgive people, even those we do not like or get along with.
A—Accept or Acknowledge. Accept the criticism of you, if it is legitimate. But if the person is “hating for hating’s sake,” acknowledge their words, then entrust the person to the Lord through prayer.
I—Initiate. Initiate a conversation about Christ. Take the opportunity to share the Gospel or biblical text concerning love, hope, and kindness. Do so in a spirit of friendliness. Do not repay anger with anger, evil with evil.
T—Trust. Trust God to work in the person’s heart. Know that “haters” have a built-in system of responding to people or circumstances in a negative way. If the person is a Christian, take them to Scripture, showing biblical responses (such as Colossians 3:12-17) to offset negative talk. In short, give them tools for their tool chest, a new way to work through the trials and temptations of “hating.”
H—Healing. As you work through a plan to help the person, give it time. Healing and restoration are part of the process. Allow God to be the healer; you can help the person by pointing them to Christ.
Jesus loves haters—will you?
To learn more about the Jesus Loves People series at Calvary Albuquerque, click here: http://jesuslovespeople.com/
[1] http://www.npr.org/2011/12/30/144384533/haters-are-going-to-hate-this-story
[2] Ibid. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/30/144384533/haters-are-going-to-hate-this-story
[3] A Do-it-yourself Internets site: http://www.wikihow.com/Main-Page
[4] http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Being-a-Hater
[5] http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/08/25/why-we-should-hate-haters-gonna-hate.html
[6] http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q=Shael+Riley+The+Popcorn+Hater
[7] http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hater
[8] http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=hater
Photo caption: Jesus Loves Haters logo
Note: Please feel free to use this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
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Minggu, 08 Maret 2015

How to Make Teenagers Care About Their Faith

How to Make Teenagers Care About Their Faith

Andy Blanks shares three things that are fundamental in helping teens learn to care about their faith.
(This article originally appeared on the site Youth Ministry Roundtable.)
We were wrapping up the Q&A session at the end of a workshop I lead on how some of the main cultural trends impact teenagers’ spiritual growth. There were about a hundred youth workers in the room and the questions throughout the workshop had been excellent. This was a sharp group of folks. As the session began to wrap up, an older gentleman raised his hand.
“In your opinion, how do we make teenagers care about their faith?”
Well, then.
The question struck me as significant. I chuckled a bit when the man asked it. At first-blush, it was agonizingly misguided. How do we make teenagers care? Part of me wanted to say that I’m not sure I want to be in the business of making anyone care about anything. When it comes to caring, I’d prefer that people want to care!
And yet, in other ways, this question may very well be THE question. I imagine his question was born out of a history of investing himself in the spiritual growth of students. There was a good chance that he had watched over the years as some students did indeed come to care about their faith, thriving as a result. I can also imagine he has watched with frustration, and maybe sadness, as other teenagers failed to embrace the importance of their faith.
And so, I interpreted his question like this: “What can we do, as youth workers, to lead teenagers to understand that their faith, their identity as Christ-followers, is of primary importance?”
Truth be told, it started a lively discussion in the room, one that had to be cut short because we simply ran out of time. But I thought about his question, and the response it created in the room, for a few days afterward. While I don’t know that I’m smart enough to come up with a comprehensive, bullet-proof answer, I did think of a few essential principles that need to be in place for teenagers to see their faith as important.
Their parents must view faith as important.
One of the major takeaways from the National Study on Youth and Religion was that parents are the key influencers of their children’s faith. In her book Almost Christian, Dr. Kenda Dean showed that teenagers more or less imitate their parents’ faith. If their parents have a weak faith, this is the brand of faith most likely to be modeled by teenagers. If parents view faith as important, it is likely that their teenagers will as well. Of course, we know that teenagers who don’t have parents who are Christ-followers can still live active faith lives. But having faith viewed as important in the home is vital for the transference of a faith that is valued.
They must know God and be invested in knowing Him more.
I tell our students this all the time: We can’t follow someone we don’t know. For faith to be important, teenagers have to understand their identity as Christ-followers as something beyond mere morality, or what some folks call “cultural Christianity.” They can’t see “Christian” as just another label applied in describing them. Faith that matters is faith that flows out of a close proximity to Christ. Reading the Bible. Actively praying. Speaking and doing the Gospel. These are actions that both precipitate and perpetuate a faith that is valued.
They must grasp the enormity of our rebellion and the truth about lostness.
In our culture, this is growing more tricky. In a world that doesn’t see God’s character or His Word as standards, our sinfulness (defined as any deviation from these standards) is becoming a concept that is more difficult to grasp. And yet, for their faith to matter, I think teenagers have to come to grips with what sin is and what it does to the relationship between God and people. And they have to care about a world separated from God as a result of its sin. If we can help in leading students to see beyond a myopic, narrowly focused view of their worlds, we can begin to show them how important faith truly is.
Certainly there are more aspects of helping our students live a faith that matters. But these were three essentials I think are in place in the lives of those teenagers whom I know care about their faith.
How would you answer the question?
What concepts do you think are vital to students caring about their faith?  
Andy Blanks Andy Blanks is the co-founder of youthministry360, a ministry committed to equipping youth workers through resources, training, community, and networking. Andy is passionate about God’s Word and the transformation it brings in the lives of God’s people. Andy is a writer, teacher, speaker, and a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife and three daughters. Check out Andy’s youth ministry posts on the ym360 Blog (www.youthministry360.com/blog). More from Andy Blanks or visit Andy at http://www.youthministry360.com/blog