Merge Mission Sunday

We will celebrate Missions Sunday by having some of our featured mission partners come and doing hands-on-activities with our students. We have a goal to make 100 hygiene kits together and are asking our small groups to split up the supply list and bring supplies for our time together Sunday.

6th Grade Girls – 600 total adhesive bandages
-¾ inch to 1 inch size
-Common household Band-Aids
6th Grade Boys – $1 bills – This will help to purchase toothpaste
7th Grade Girls – Combs; Comb needs to be sturdy and longer than 6 inches long
-No pocket combs or picks please
-Rattail combs and combs without handles are acceptable with a minimum of 6 inches of teeth
7th Grade Boys – washcloths
8th Grade Girls – Metal nail file or nail clippers; No Emery Boards please
8th Grade Boys – bath size soaps; -3 oz. and larger sizes only
-No Ivory or Jergens soap due to moisture content
-Do not remove from original packaging
9th Grade – hand towels; 15 x 25 inches to 17 x 27 inches
-Kitchen, Cleaning and microfiber towels not acceptable
10th Grade – 1 Gallon size sealable plastic bags
11th & 12th Grades – Tooth brushes; Adult size only, Do not remove from original packaging

Thank you everyone! We will meet from 5:30-6 p.m. for dinner in the Magnolia Building. Please bring $5 and invite your friends to come and serve together!

 

Emily’s Youth Message – Their Safe Place

Emily’s Youth Message – Their Safe Place

There are so many places and environments your teen has to hold his or her emotions together, and their home is the one place they feel safe to let down their guard and release what may be pent up inside. For you as the parent, however, this is a test of faith and patience!

Be encouraged, however, and hang on to the promises in God’s Word that He loves your teen more than you do. He has a plan and a purpose for them, and though you might not be able to see it now, you can trust in the One who does. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

When you spend time with God and His Word, you’ll be able to better manage those times when you are at a loss for what to do with your teen. I know you want to fix the problem, but sometimes you’ll need to let them process their stress. Watch this week’s parenting class.

When you feel like you are at your wits end, and there is no easy solution for your teen’s frustration, it’s time to get on your knees. Prayer is the harder work, but it is the most effective. Find prayer warriors to “fight” the battle with you—ultimately, your teens are experiencing a spiritual battle, so you need to fight for them with spiritual weapons. Ask God for His wisdom to know how to pray. In the book of Psalms, it says, “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven” (Psalm 107:28–30).

In these three verses, we are given some great encouragement. The Israelites “cried out to God,” and He “delivered them from their distress.” Stand in the gap through prayer, crying out to God for your teen’s distress—and ask Him to “hush” the raging waters in their life and make them “quiet.”

And, don’t be afraid to tell your teen you are praying for him/her. Saying something like, “I wish I could make things better for you. I don’t know what to do to help, but I want you to know I’m praying for you every day,” is a powerful way to let your teen know you love them.

I am praying for you and your family too! Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions or concerns. I’m here for you!

Emily’s Youth Message: Teaching Your Teen to Be a Good Example to Younger Siblings

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to establish a loving relationship, siblings just will not get along. However, you can expect teenagers to respond to their siblings with kindness. This is one of the hardest things to instill in teenagers—especially if they don’t have a good relationship with their younger brother or sister. Often, teenagers barely know a younger sibling exists—and if they do, they see them as pesky annoyances. How can you encourage a better relationship?

Sometimes giving a teenager a picture of what you are trying to communicate works better than simply telling them. Perhaps there is someone who is older that your teenager looks up to—whether it’s a sports figure, an older friend, or a youth group leader. Ask them how it would feel if that person suddenly launched off and called them “stupid,” or how they would feel if that person said, “You don’t know anything; you’re too young.”
Help your teenager to realize their younger siblings look up to them, just as they look up to older friends and leaders. When your teen is unkind to a younger sibling, their words have the potential of crushing their spirit. Encourage your teen in the role they play as an older and wiser brother or sister. They can fulfill that role well . . . or not. It’s their choice.

Ultimately, we all want our children to get along—with the hope that one day, as adults, they will like (or love!) each other. Though you may not see this relationship while they are under your roof, you can require behavior in the house that reflects what you are praying for. As your teenager matures into an adult, and as you patiently love them and encourage them to respond to siblings with kindness, you increase the possibility of a lifelong friendship.

Some homes have clear rules that say, “We are a family, and we will not say anything that doesn’t build one another up.” Here are a few other tips to encourage relationship between siblings:

1. Teach mutual respect. Do not allow an older teenager to insult a younger sibling. Words are powerful, and an older sibling has more influence on the younger sibling than you might realize.

2. Do not play favorites. Though one teenager might be compliant and the younger sibling the Tasmanian Devil, irreparable damage may occur if that more difficult teen knows you favor the other child over him or her. Recall how Jacob favored Joseph in the book of Genesis. The result? Eleven jealous siblings who eventually sold Joseph into Egyptian slavery!

3. Remind your older sibling of the potential they have to be a good role model for their younger brother or sister. Their words are powerful and, according to the Bible, will either breath life or death to another person (Proverbs 18:21). Encourage them to step up and be a strong influence in their sibling’s life.

I am with you in the journey, and am praying for you and your family.

Click here to watch this weeks parenting video.

Emily’s Youth Message – Their Safe Place

Teens are notorious for saving their raging fits for you and your home. Friendship issues, stress from school and hormones on hyper-drive can make your teen seem like they have transformed into a alien from another galaxy. No, your teen hasn’t been abducted! They are just trying to navigate their world that feels out of control.

There are so many places and environments your teen has to hold his or her emotions together, and their home is the one place they feel safe to let down their guard and release what may be pent up inside. For you as the parent, however, this is a test of faith and patience!

Be encouraged, however, and hang on to the promises in God’s Word that He loves your teen more than you do. He has a plan and a purpose for them, and though you might not be able to see it now, you can trust in the One who does. Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

When you feel like you are at your wits end, and there is no easy solution for your teen’s frustration, it’s time to get on your knees. Prayer is the harder work, but it is the most effective.

Find prayer warriors to “fight” the battle with you—ultimately, your teens are experiencing a spiritual battle, so you need to fight for them with spiritual weapons. Ask God for His wisdom to know how to pray. In the book of Psalms, it says, “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven” (1-7:28–30).

In these three verses, we are given some great encouragement. The Israelites “cried out to God,” and He “delivered them from their distress.” Stand in the gap through prayer, crying out to God for your teen’s distress—and ask Him to “hush” the raging waters in their life and make them “quiet.”

And, don’t be afraid to tell your teen you are praying for him/her. Saying something like, “I wish I could make things better for you. I don’t know what to do to help, but I want you to know I’m praying for you every day,” is a powerful way to let your teen know you love them.

Click here to check out this week’s online parenting class:

I am praying for you and your family too!

Emily’s Youth Message – Developing Gratefulness In Your Teen

Most parents try to teach their children to say “please” and “thank you” from the time they are in diapers. It’s proper etiquette, and if we’re honest, culturally expected.

Your teen has (I hope) mastered the art of habitually saying “thanks” when appropriate. You are now in a critical window of time where one of the best things you can teach your teen is to not only say thanks, but have an attitude of gratefulness. Why? Because a grateful heart is the secret key to happiness.

The best recipe for instilling authentic gratitude in your teen is to model it yourself. Rather than complaining all the time in your teen’s presence, look for the good in the midst of the bad. Then, verbalize it by speaking “gratitude” language. When you’ve had a bad day at work, you can say, “Today was really hard at work, but I’m thankful that I have a good job.” If the refrigerator breaks, tell your kids. “I’m so grateful for all of the technology in this house that is still working!” When you see a homeless person you might say, “I am grateful for my bed, aren’t you? Let’s pray for him.” And though it may sound corny, tell your teens how grateful you are God appointed them to you. They will smile inside.

Every day, think of one thing you are grateful for and communicate this to your teen. It might appear they are tuning you out, but kids absorb more than we think they do. I can guarantee your teen is paying attention.
Looking for ways to be grateful may be a discipline you will have to develop in your own life too, so that you can pass it on to your teen. Being grateful for what one has is one of the best secrets for successful living; fostering gratefulness in yourself will enhance your entire family’s life and give your teen the direction they need to cultivate their own happiness.

Developing gratefulness in your teen takes long-term commitment from you, the parent. However, the benefits are long-term as well . . . and priceless.

According to a study by Froh, Sefick and Emmons, “Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families.” The study revealed gratitude is associated with appreciating close relationships and feeling better about both life and school.

Students in the study who kept a gratitude journal for only three weeks had an increased grade point average over the course of a year. They were more sensitive to situations where they themselves could be helpful, altruistic, generous or compassionate—and were less destructive. Research shows ungrateful youth are less satisfied with their lives and are more apt to be aggressive and engage in risk-taking behaviors. The effect of a grateful attitude is worth the effort as a parent, wouldn’t you agree?

One powerful way for teens to learn gratefulness is to go on a family mission trip. Spending a week in Leon, Nicaragua building houses for very poor families will leave an imprint on your teen that will be more powerful than your words. Some families hop in the car and drive downtown to bring sandwiches and hot drinks to the homeless. You can also serve food at a soup kitchen or volunteer after a natural disaster. Though your teen might scowl at the idea at first, they will be transformed on the inside by what they see.

Human beings were designed by God to live a posture of grateful worship. Your job as a parent is to gently turn their hearts from what they are ungrateful for to Whom they are grateful to.

Ultimately, teaching your teen gratefulness aligns with the Word of God. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

I am praying for you and your family! Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions or concerns. I’m here for you.

The Best Week of My Life – A Mission Trip Reflection

The Best Week of My Life – A Mission Trip Reflection

Photo Jul 20, 13 43 02

Youth Students and Volunteers at SIFAT

I want to share with you all the life changing experience I had at SIFAT (Servants in Faith and Technology), a mission trip I went on with Merge Youth Ministries in July.

It was by far the best week of my life.

The whole theme of the week was ‘restoration’ and the first couple of days I thought that it was about me helping to restore the lives of others. Sure that was a part of it, but more than anything I felt that I was restored.

I had multiple moments of realization everyday that literally brought me to tears. The only way I can really explain it is being turned inside-out.  I have nothing to hide anymore.

It was my first experience of true love.  Love of everyone accepting me, no judgment. I was able to share things with my family group that I’ve never shared with anyone else before and I learned not only about their story, but I learned about my own.

While there, I renewed my covenant with God, was privileged to hear the stories of more experienced missionaries, I connected with other youth through our love of music, learned how to properly cook crickets, and kept a fire going for multiple hours (setting a SIFAT record).

Photo Jul 20, 08 19 45

Isaiah picking fresh fruit for breakfast

I returned with a new purpose and a completely new outlook on pretty much everything.

That week has changed me forever, as I’m sure it has changed everyone who has ever been there. And I want to thank all of you for the wonderful opportunity you’ve given me.

Peace,
Isaiah Isel

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