Emily’s Youth Message – The Antidote to Greed

Emily’s Youth Message – The Antidote to Greed

We’ve all heard the word greed. And even though we don’t want to admit it, we’ve all probably experienced it in our own lives. You’re happy with your phone until the newest model comes out, and then you have to have it. You like the car you drive until your best friend gets a new one and suddenly you’re obsessed with getting a new car too. You have plenty of clothes in your closet, but as soon as you get some cash you want to buy more.

No matter what it is for you, you’ve probably experienced that “I’ve gotta have it” feeling. But let me ask you this: once you have whatever “it” is, does that feeling go away? We all know the answer is no. Even if it’s not right away, eventually that feeling creeps back in and leaves you unsatisfied with what you have. In other words, greed makes you miserable. And nobody wants to be miserable.

So what do we do to stop the miserable feeling of greed from spreading in our lives? Take a look at what Paul has to say:

You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NLT).

Jesus knew that greed would spread in our lives and make us miserable. And rather than leaving us alone in that, He gave us the antidote: generosity. Generosity has the power to slow and stifle greed in our lives. And when you answer the call of greed with generosity, you’ll find yourself better than when it began. In fact, Jesus is saying you’ll not only be happier, but you’ll also be blessed. Generosity is so powerful that it will not just bless others—you will be blessed as well! So ask yourself: can I trust what Jesus says about this? And, what would it look like for you to put your trust into action.

Emily’s Youth Message – Do You Shame?

Emily’s Youth Message – Do You Shame?

Consider whether you grew up in a “Toxic Shame” environment and to consider how you react when you are hurt. We encourage you that though shame-based parenting is often learned, and may be the way you were parented, it can be unlearned as well.

Shame, if you recall, is that terrible feeling of not fitting in, or being horribly wrong. It can happen among your teen’s friend groups, and it can happen in their place of employment. Unfortunately, though, the place it often happens the most is within the home.

Brené Brown wrote a book titled Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. In that book Brown states, “When it comes to our feelings of love, belonging, and worthiness, we are most shaped by our families of origin—what we hear, what we’re told, and perhaps most importantly, how we observe our parents engaging in the world.”

Though the way we might be shaming our tween or teen might be subtle, don’t for a minute doubt they don’t feel shame when it hits them. You are the key person in your tween or teen’s life that is supposed to be a safe place for them—a place where there is no shame, but acceptance. Even teenagers will interpret doing something bad, like a bad choice they’ve been punished for making, to “You are bad.”

Be careful about the verbal and silent messages you are sending your teen. Paul wrote, “Everyone who believes in [Jesus] will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:11). If we, as parents, are not “put to shame” in Christ, our teenagers shouldn’t be “put to shame” by us. We have daily opportunities to reflect Christ to them. View this week’s online parenting class.

Instead of resorting to shame when your tween or teen does something wrong or makes a poor choice, take a breath, take a step back, and ask God to help you remember that just as you are learning to parent better, and just as you make mistakes in life, so will they. Your tween or teen is at an age where they might be often frustrated, angry, or even hostile and push against everything you do or say. They might make poor choices, or even outright bad choices. It is an age of exploring, experimenting, and learning—and ultimately crossing over from teenager to young adult.

Shaming a teen for age-appropriate behavior will likely shut them down and crush their spirit, and could potentially interrupt this crucial stage of development. Though they might do things that you would classify as dumb, illogical, or impulsive, it’s part of their growth.

Above all, guard against shaming your tween or teen for something awkward they have done. You want to encourage them to find themselves and blossom into their own person, as God created them to be. And that is different than you.

The greatest thing you can do for your tween or teen is continually ask yourself what will help them flourish and grow into their potential, and preserve their dignity.

We hope this series on helping you identify whether you may be shaming your teen or tween has been helpful. Parents aren’t perfect (I know you know that!) and grace in abundance is needed when parenting your teen—but also for yourself when you make mistakes.

I am just an email away if you have any questions, concerns, or comments. You are not in this parenting journey alone!

Emily’s Youth Message – Three Seasons of Teenagers

Emily’s Youth Message – Three Seasons of Teenagers

Our topic this week is to discuss the three seasons of being a teenager. In it we will talk about a season of calm waters, chopping waters, and storms and how understanding what season a teen is in will help make sense of where your teen is coming from.

Calm Waters. You may have decided the life for your teen seems to be somewhat smooth! What an excellent time to pour into your teen’s heart and soul. Psalm 71:17–18 says, “O God, You have taught me from my youth, And I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, Until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.” As your teen’s parent, you are representing God, who is the ultimate teacher!

However, in ancient biblical culture, parents weren’t the only ones who took on a mentoring or teaching role! Older members of the community trained children and youth, too. Though you are called to be the primary teacher and mentor in your teen’s life, don’t underestimate the powerful influence others have; look for other models and mentors that could be involved in molding and shaping your teen—youth group leaders, grandparents, even young adults.

Perhaps your son or daughter is in a season where they need encouragement. The writer of Hebrews tells us how important this is for everyone—but it is vital for teens who are trying to figure life out: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Heb. 10:24–25). Seek out ways to encourage your son or daughter, but remember teenagers long for community. Are there places where your teen can be with people their own age who will lift them up and challenge them too?

A teen’s life will go through seasons, and some might be rocky. Take advantage of those calmer seasons to guide and direct your teen’s paths in a way that will give them a firm footing to stand on when things do get rough. And remember, I’m here to help!

The dreaded “rocky” seasons your son or daughter will inevitably go through—otherwise known as “the storms in life.” These seasons can be some of your greatest challenges as a parent. Your teen’s heart may seem to have grown cold and bitter, or they may be experiencing an emotionally dark time. In extreme seasons, they may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or be depressed.

Make sure you pay attention to certain shifts in behavior, such as a change in friendships, a drop in school attendance, a dip in grades, or self-destructive behaviors. If you notice any of these things, seek the help of a Christian counselor, or look for a mentor to help them.

However, some “storms” might not be so rough. Your teen may be experiencing friendship issues, or intense academics may be stressing them out. An over-packed schedule might be weighing on them, or they might be exhausted as a result of crazy sports regiments. During those seasons, it is important to love your teen well and extend an overdose of grace. They might be touchy, lash out or cry for no reason. Rather than respond in the same way (isn’t it true we are just big kids in grown up bodies?) take a breath, and seek God’s guidance for what to do in that particular situation. Your teen is likely reacting that way unintentionally; give your son or daughter space to unload. Often, the safest place for them to do this is in your presence.

Sometimes loving your teen by letting them know you are aware of how rough things are and that you are praying for them is the best thing you can do. Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity in India, said the following: “Love is a fruit in season at all time, and within the reach of every hand.”
I understand the frustration of the parenting journey! Please let me know if I can be of any help!

Click here to view this week’s online parenting class.

Reserve Your Christmas Tree by Nov. 17

Reserve Your Christmas Tree by Nov. 17

Reserve a beautiful, fresh-cut Christmas Tree and support our youth!

Merge Youth Ministries is selling fresh Fraser Fir Christmas trees with the proceeds helping to provide mission trip scholarships. The trees are delivered only 48 hours after they are cut. The trees range from 3 – 14 ft. You can reserve your tree via our online form until Nov. 17.

You can also order your trees in person on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12. The youth will be selling trees 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in the Harnish Activities Center on Nov. 5 and in Courtyard and Magnolia Patio on Nov. 12.

Tree pick-up will be 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30 in the main parking lot. If you can help distribute trees on Nov. 30, contact Kathy.

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!


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