Archive for July, 2008

Statistics

When we were at Middle School camp a couple weeks ago, the camp speaker gave a lot of eye-opening statistics. I have had a lot of parents and students ask me for them, so I decided to go ahead and post them on here.

-There has been a 92% increase in the number of un-churched Americans in the last 15 years.  1991 there were 39 million un-churched Americans compared to 167 million today.

-Only 25% of “Christian” teens attend church on Sunday.

-In a typical week, only 25% of “Christian” teens read their Bibles.

-Teens are less likely than any other generation to volunteer time to their church (12%).

-Only 25% of “Christian” teens say that they are absolutely committed to the Christian faith.

-60% Christians say having sex with someone you are not married to is okay.

-2% of Christians actively share their faith.

There they are! The good thing is that these are not Northway Church statistics! We will not be limited by any statistic!

Question From a Student (# 12)

(Click HERE to view the other questions)

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QUESTION: My parents only let me listen to “Christian” music. Is there really anything wrong with “non-Christian” music?

I first need to make one thing clear. Whether you agree with your parents or not, you need to obey your parents rules. Unless they ask you to blatantly go against the Bible, you need to just respect and obey their rules. I know it may seem like an eternity, but you will eventually be old enough to get out and make your own decisions.

Okay…so about the whole Christian music vs. non-Christian (secular) music thing…

Whether we like to admit it or not, music affects how we think, act, and talk.

Here is a direct quote from MTV: “At MTV we don’t shoot for fourteen-year-olds, we own them.”

For me, I don’t think it’s an issue of “Christian music” vs. “non-Christian music”. I listen to both. I think it’s more about positive music vs. negative music.

It’s the lyrics that cause people to label a song either “Christian” or “non-Christian”, right? There are plenty of songs out there that don’t talk about God, but have fine lyrics. There are plenty of songs out there that don’t talk about God, but talk about violence, lust, and other things that would go against the lifestyle that God has planned for us.

Let me throw out a few questions to you:

- As a Christian, are we called to live differently?

- Are we supposed to put the “old life” (the way we were before we accepted Christ) aside, and feed the “new life” (the life as a Christ-follower)? (Read Galatians)

- Did you personally answer “YES” to the above questions?

- If you said “yes”, then why do we turn around and fill our minds with negative music…music that promotes the “old life”?

Here are some final thoughts:

- Read Psalm 1:1-3…When you feel down, where do you turn for “counsel”? Do you go to the Bible? Church? A friend? Do you just put on head phones and listen to music? What kind of music are you turning to?

- The things that come into our eyes and ears, are the things that feed our thought life! Our thoughts affect our heart. What are you letting in?

- We can’t say that we want God to capture our heart, but then turn around and feed garbage into our lives. So many people wonder why they don’t have that connection that they are looking for with God, but they are feeding more negative than positive into their lives!

- If you like a certain style of music, but you are finding it to have a negative affect on you, then I can guarantee you that there is a positive alternative to that music style. Ask me, and I’ll find it for you.

- The Bible says to fill our minds and hearts with positive things.

- Here are some verses to check out on your own: Psalm 1, Romans 12:2, 1 Peter 5:8-9, Philippians 4, 2 Timothy 2, Galatians 3

Again, I am not against non-Christian music, but I am against music with lyrics that goes against everything that God wants for us. In fact, sometimes I like “non-Christian” stuff more than I like some “Christian” stuff! Yes…I just said that! :)

Just remember to respect the standards that your parents have set for you. If you can listen to whatever you want, then be willing to make the right decisions about filtering what you let into your life.

I will blog about this stuff again soon!

(Check out Air1: The Positive Alternative. FM 93.7 It’s what I have playing in my car non-stop! Check them out online for news, good articles and to listen live! Shameless plug!) :)

Blooper Questions

(All new Question From a Student this week!)

Blooper questions? I didn’t know what else to call it! A while back, I asked over 100 students to write down questions that they have about God, the Bible, their faith etc… My blog category “Question From a Student” was the end result.

I received tons of great questions that I will answer each week (most weeks), but I also received some funny questions or blooper questions. These were from students that were just being funny. One student came up with a bunch of clever questions (he must of googled it or something on his phone).

I figured that I would share some of them with the blog world so you all know what I have to put up with! :)  I promise that I didn’t come up with them, so don’t say I’m the corny one this time!

- Did Adam have a belly button? 

- Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

- What do they call a French kiss in France?

- Why isn’t the number 11 pronounced onety one?

- What was the best thing before sliced bread?

- Whose cruel idea was it for the word “Lisp” to have a “S” in it?

- Can you cry under water?

- If the “black box” survives every plane crash, why not make the entire plane out of that stuff?

- Do ducks with one leg swim in circles?

- If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?

- Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

- Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

- Whatever happened to preparations A through G? (Get it? Preparation H)

Again…I’m just passing this along. We have a creative bunch of students. (Or students that have way too much computer time.)

Weekly Re-Cap / Thoughts

- If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they be called Fed Up? Haha.

- My week seemed to only consist of work and camp planning.

- Oh…wait! It also consisted of me buying worms and leaving them in the hot car for two days.

- Worms? Yeah, worms! I actually had this spontaneous idea that I might go fishing, but then I found out that I had to touch the worms and decided not to do it. I went fishing once last year and caught a large bass (with one of those fake squishy worm things), but didn’t know what to do with it. That’s a story for another time.

- It’s not too late to go to High School LIFT camp!

- There’s a parent / student meeting about camp tomorrow night at 7:00 at the Clifton Park campus! Let me know if you need the link for the registration form. Just show up!

- We added ten more students this past week! It is going to be incredible!

- Anyone have a mini-van that we can borrow? :)

- I’ll be blogging all next week from camp with updates, vids, and pics! 

- Clifton Park is getting a Staples!!!! Now they officially have everything needed to sustain life in one town!

- It was yet another incredible service at Northway!

- I felt like I was at camp! Actually, it was even better! I have never been at a Sunday morning church service in all of my life where people were just worshiping God like they did, and where no one wanted to stop singing!

- Hundreds of people came to the front for prayer this weekend! It was incredible!

- I love this song! Check it out! It’s what we sang this weekend.

God’s House

That’s what the church is – God’s House! I just got back from God’s house a little while ago, and I have never experienced such a powerful service! It was better than any camp service I’ve been at. The worship just kept going. About 100 people came to the front to pray and let go of some things that are holding them back!

The passion – the energy – the worship – the message – the people – GOD’s HOUSE! It was just an amazing time. God really spoke to my heart tonight about speaking up for God.

Pastor Buddy really brought it, and I can’t wait to go back again tomorrow morning with Leah. If you can make it out tomorrow, make sure you are there in God’s house!

I sat in the front row tonight, and am now a firm believer in sitting up there whenever I can! Try it! It eliminates distraction.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

The “Slow Fade”

I’ve been working on a new ”Question From a Student” post for next week about Christian music vs. non-Christian music. Haha! That should be interesting! :) You should check it out next week!

Anyway, that has caused me to study and reflect about what we let influence us as a Christian. So many times we go to church, or we read the Bible and pray and God speaks to us about getting our lives straightened out. Students make decisions at camp or at UNITED to live for God, but then go home and never change anything. When we accept Christ into our lives, there is to be a change that takes place. We have the “old life” (the way we were before we accpeted Christ), and the “new life” (the life as a Christ-follower).

Basically, if the things that we pour into our lives and the things that we ALLOW to be poured into our lives only remind us of the “old life”, then those are the things that we need to stay away from. If we pour “new life” stuff in to our lives, then that will help the “new life” stuff to come out and we will better honor God.

 I’ve been reading in Psalms and the first chapter hit me hard as I was thinking about all of this stuff. When we start feeding that “old life”, it usually gradually gets worse and worse. In the verses below, notice that the man was walking, then standing, then sitting where he shouldn’t have been. That is what happens when we gradually feed our lives with stuff that goes against the “new life”.

 Psalm 11 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 

I came across a new music video by Casting Crowns called “Slow Fade”. Mark Hall is the lead singer for that band and was a youth pastor for many years. He writes songs that have amazing stries and principles in them. This particual video tells the story about how our actions affect those around us and it always starts with a slow fade like in the verses above.

I’ll be blogging more about these ideas, but for now check out this new music video. It’s a little different ( :) ), but speaks truth.

Shifting Gears!

(Have you checked out the two camp videos below yet?) 

thirst-for-blog.bmpI know it seems like all I post about anymore is camp, but camp seems to be my life right now!

We had an awesome week at Middle School camp! Now, it’s full steam ahead for High School camp! Our numbers right now have passed what we brought to Middle School camp! I didn’t think that was possible in my finite thinking! I was wrong…

It looks like we will be taking a group of possibly over 70 or more to High School camp in two weeks!

I was recently talking to Dan Brown, who is the camp director for the High School camp, and he was telling me some statistics about why camp is so important.

- The spiritual impact of one week of camp is the equivelant of two years of traditional Sunday School.

- Over 70% of the people that accept Christ into their lives, do it before the age of 17!

- 80% of students that leave home for a secular college after High School, will also leave their faith unless “something” happens while still at home.

- One out of every eight Christian students that graduate High School, will also graduate from their faith when they leave the student ministry.

I believe that our Northway students are not the average students! They can beat any statistic you throw out at them…IF THEY CONTINUE TO MAKE THE DECISION NOW TO FOLLOW JESUS AND NEVER TURN BACK NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS IN THEIR LIVES!

Camp is a tool to help do this. The “God-moments” that take place at camp are life-changing! Just ask the 18 students that went to camp last year and came back changed forever!

Parents…I want to encourage you to just send your High School student to camp! Even if you have to make the decision for them! We have scholarships and stuff to help, but the bottom line is if you can just get your student on the bus, then God can take over and do the rest!

Video Post: Middle School Camp (Wednesday Video)

Here is another video that was played at one of the camp services. It was cool seeing all of the students go crazy during these videos! See below for the camp video that I posted earlier today.

We are working on making one big re-cap video DVD that will be given to each family involved with camp. I will also post it on here when it is done. They will also be available for others upon request.

Here we go:

Video Post: Middle School Camp (Thursday Video)

Okay! As promised I have the two videos that were made while at camp. The one below, was the one that was played at Thursday night’s service! It shows footage from the retro night we had, as well as some of the different crazy games that we played!

(I will post the one from Wednesday’s service later today)

Video: Mechanicville, NY!

You got to love Mechanicville! Or to some Mechanic(s)ville!

Leah and I live in Stillwater, which borders Mechanicville. Mechanicville is nice enough to deliver our mail though. I wonder if they know that we techically live in Stillwater. Hmmm. It’s a very nice jesture!

Anyway, yesterday was the infamous Mechanicville Day! Leah and I were looking forward to going all year! We bought lawn chairs after going last year and sitting on a blanket, and were looking forward to using them for something. Oh well! It rained pretty hard, so we just had a BBQ with some friends. We’ll try again next year. They do have the best fireworks in the Capital Region! (My opinion)

In honor of Mechanicville Day, I would feel bad if I did not post this video. Back in 2001, Steve Carell through a dart at a map of the U.S. and it landed on Mechanicville, NY! This was way back before he was popular.

It’s pretty funny…check it out!