Starting Out Right

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This shot of “new believers cards” collected during tonight’s altar call at the BCY event in Syracuse, NY says it all for me.

All I desire for 2013 is more souls won to Jesus. Keeping that at the forefront helps put everything else in perspective.

I was honored for the opportunity and privilege of sharing the Gospel with some amazing teenagers who heard heaven’s call to wake up and walk into the light.

Happy New Year everyone. Let’s endeavor to esteem and promote Jesus this year more than ever before.

ch:

BCY Winter Retreat: Day 3

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Why is it that good things go quickly, and the mundane inches along?

Our final day at Camp of the Woods was bittersweet. In a little over 36-hours, all of us had formed new friendships, spent powerful times in God’s presence, and been challenged to love people like Jesus.

My final message was on Daniel’s call to faithfully serve a totally godless king and culture. The cost was often his silence, and potential death. He also put his own desires to rest, including the tendency we have to rejoice when wicked people meet their demise, as well as not trying to usurp those over us especially in their absence.

Instead, Daniel was responsible for leading the Bible’s most demonic and egotistical king to the Lord when the king returned from insanity.

Are we that faithful to serve people above self-righteousness?

When it was finally time to leave, little Evangeline had the hardest time; she has her father’s gift of making fast friends and getting attached. She sobbed for a good 30-minutes despite our best efforts to calm her down.

I feel extremely honored to have been a very small part of a powerful weekend where God clearly showed up and breathed life on all of us.

It’s a privilege to serve Jesus no matter what the context; make sure you relish the invitation to act – it will go quickly. ch:

BCY Winter Retreat: Day 2

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Yesterday was quite possibly one of my favorite days of 2012 yet.

When you see God do so much, and you have the privilege to experience so much with your family, you can’t help but feel blessed.

It went down something like this:

Breakfast.

Worship.

Quiet time with God.

Jennifer speaking to girls; me speaking to guys.

Air hockey, 1980′s arcade games, and soccer in the rec center.

Snow tubing at Camp of the Woods.

Lunch.

Indoor rock climbing.

Snow tubing at Oak Mountain.

Swimming.

Dinner.

Worship.

I preached on what it takes to contend with God for souls, and Jesus’ ultimate example of forgiveness. Pastor Rich Ryfun held an powerful altar call for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

And then I collapsed in bed. ch:

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BCY Winter Retreat: Day 1

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Photos courtesy of Jennifer Hopper

Our first night here at Believer’s Chapel Youth Winter Retreat was a wonderful success. My friend Joey Bolognone of the band Fazeshift lead a powerful and instructive worship set, after which my buddy (and Associate Pastor of Believer’s Chapel) Rich Ryfun introduced me as the weekend’s guest speaker.

I shared on the danger of being in places we shouldn’t be. But more specifically how it’s not the sin we’re committing that gets us in trouble, but first making the decision not to abide in environments we were born to be in. 2 Samuel 11:1 says that David should have been going off to war with his men in the spring, but instead sent someone else to do his work while he stayed home. This seemingly benign mistake caused him to undergo the greatest temptation of his adult life. (Ladies, some small advice: resist the temptation to take a bath on your roof. Help the brothers out).

On the flip side, young Joshua desired to seek the Lord like his leader Moses. But where Moses had to leave his face-to-face encounters with God, Joshua – afforded by his youth – was able to remain behind and seek God earnestly. He was in the right place at the right time, and it was this very foundation that built within him the integrity to lead a nation into freedom.

The presence of the Lord in the conference center was so strong afterward that we moved into a time of prayer and waiting on Jesus. It was a beautiful moment of allowing the Holy Spirit to minister to kids and increase his presence within them. By the time I looked at the clock it was nearly midnight.

Jennifer and I will both be sharing at different points today, as well as spending some crazy time with our kids enjoying all that Camp of the Woods has to offer, including tubing, swimming and rock climbing. I’m honored to be of use to the Lord, and to have opportunities to include our children in the adventures of serving God. ch:

Expanding Our Dialog

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Last night was more than just a good opportunity to serve a wonderful youth ministry in a sister city; I love me some BCY in Syracuse.

It was a great opportunity to keep the ball rolling.

I see bold youth ministries across the country stepping up to the plate of addressing the topics of sex, homo-and-trans-sexuality, and marriage, like never before.

If your ministry isn’t, it must.

The conversation has already started. If you’re not talking to a teen about these subjects, you can guarantee someone else is.

And if anyone should, shouldn’t it be Christians who are directly connected to the Inventor of sex and marriage in the first place?

I love just how much God has to say about the subject, and I’ve made my notes available as a free PDF download in yesterday’s post. Communicating truth that’s utterly, painstakingly drenched in a long-term demonstration of love is essential toward rescuing broken, disenfranchised teens and restoring their identity.

I also have some guest bloggers coming up that I believe will be incredibly poignant.

When we do things God’s way, we always get the best results.

Keep talking; keep learning. ch:

Sex

As per my promise to the students of Believer Chapel Youth (BCY), I’ve made my notes on tonight’s message on “Sex: What They Don’t Tell You” available as a free PDF. My prayer is the information within strengthen’s your resolve to honor and guard God’s desires for your body, and fuels your passion to live as an example for a generation that needs rescuing. ch:

Download Free PDF: “Sex”