There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”
Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”
“How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”
Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.
“So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next. That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”
Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”
Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?
“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.
“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.
“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”
I’m amazed again today at the life Jesus lived on earth, how he responded to people, the way he felt about money, and His amazing transforming power.
Mark 5 paints this incredible picture.
There was a man locked in a graveyard. Tormented day and night. Rejected by society. Alone. Hurting.
Then Jesus rolled in like an all consuming wave.
Jesus confronts the man’s torment and brings him life.
Before Jesus, the man was literally walking among the dead and without hope. He spent his days looking beyond the walls of his torment and without a doubt, wanting a better life.
After Jesus, we see this same man sitting down (a place of rest), dressed (earthly needs more than taken care of), and in his right mind (at peace with himself and his creator).
Truth like this jumps off the page to me because so many of us are just like the man before he met Jesus. We may not be walking in graves like what we picture with tombs and head stones, but our graveyard is still a place filled with spiritually dead people. Dead people in need of Jesus.
Our solution is to run to Jesus and fall at his feet just like our friend in Mark chapter 5.
I believe, and can speak from experience, that the freedom we all seek is only found in Jesus.
And there’s one more thing … Jesus made a massive statement about earthly possessions by casting demons into a herd of pigs and sending them off to their death.
These pigs represented many things, but maybe the greatest was their monetary value to the people who owned them.
I believe Jesus wanted them to know that He is the true source of life and peace … I believe he wants us to know the same thing today.
Jesus is all and has all we need for life today … We don’t need more stuff on earth to find our peace and our healing … What we need is to rest at his feet and let his consuming wave of mercy roll over us like only it can.
Thank you Jesus for Scripture! For in it we find life that is truly life!
Have an awesome day!
The Chris Coleman band is giving their latest project away today through Wednesday … email firstname.lastname@example.org and get a copy for your students!
Your students may know a lot about Jesus, but do they truly know him?
Today’s teenagers are starving for “more of Jesus”—not just more information, but a deeper, richer, truer encounter of him. LIVE Jesus-Centered Life unlocks the door to deeper conversations and explorations that satisfy this hunger, with each lesson offering a snapshot of Jesus that will help students know him better and follow him more sincerely.
Participants will spend six weeks exploring the answer to a pivotal question that Jesus asked his disciples in Luke 9:22—“Who do you say I am?” Even if students have read this passage of Scripture before, maybe they haven’t paid much attention to the way they would answer Jesus’ question.
Without personally considering this question, we can miss who Jesus really is. It’s best to start over again and invite Jesus to reintroduce himself. But instead of just seeking answers with their heads, participants will engage their hearts through experiential elements and honest dialogue.
As your teenagers draw near to Jesus, the magnetic field that surrounds him will pull them in, closer and closer—until their lives literally orbit around him in the passionate pursuit of a Jesus-centered life.
Flood: Experience the Rush! DVD-A is incorporated as part of the new Flood Volume 1 Kit, but it is also packaged as an excellent stand alone resource for video clips that can be used as launching points for youth meetings or student group discussions
Taking a great song and adding a new drum twist to it … what a great way to change it up! Good example for the event producers, creative directors and Sunday school teachers! What? Sunday School teachers? Yep … change it up people! Catch someone off guard the next time they gather to learn something in your student ministry!
Advent is a season of expectant waiting, reflection, and hope-filled wonder. It’s also a time when the foundations of our faith are set to melodies that prompt our hearts to sing. To celebrate Advent, The Gospel Coalition is excited to introduce a new hymn, “Exult in the Saviour’s Birth,” written by D. A. Carson and Matt Boswell.
The goal of “Exult in the Saviour’s Birth” is to communicate unchanging gospel truths with fresh words and song. From the shepherds of Luke 2 to the vision of Isaiah 9, the lyrics are filled with imagery of the incarnation. At the center is an announcement that Christ is the Saviour who must be adored.
Part of the mission of TGC is to promote gospel-centered worship throughout the church by training and equipping leaders in the Word-shaped ministry of singing, songwriting, and service planning. This song is but another step toward resourcing churches in this manner. Along with the download, it is our joy to provide a lead sheet and chord chart for free to enable church musicians to introduce this hymn during Advent. We hope as you listen, and as you sing, you too will exult in our Saviour’s birth.
CLICK HERE for your free download!
Link provided by your friends at ymnow.com
You don’t need to be reminded of the issues teenagers deal with as they try to live out their faith in a world that’s often opposed to their core beliefs. Navigating these issues can be rough. Teenagers get so many mixed messages; the world says one thing, their friends may say another. And we hope they know enough about their faith to know how to make sense of it all. We hope . . .
The Jesus Studies cut through the confusion, teaching your students a Christ-centered look at the major issues they deal with in their lives.
These are no watered-down, topical Bible studies. This is Jesus weighing in on the very issues your students are confronted with on a daily basis. It’s your students learning to see life through the person of Christ.
Link brought to you by your friends at ymnow.com
Chuck and Emily Hooten met in Birmingham, Alabama while in college. Chuck (a senior) saw Emily (a freshmen) and the rest is history. They were married in 2003 and have since been given the most beautiful, emotional, and creative three little girls in the world – Lily, Ava, and Mae. Chuck is a graduate of Southeastern Bible College where he received a degree in Biblical Studies. He is a little over a third of the way done with his Masters of Divinity and hopes to complete that degree soon.
Chuck has been leading worship since he was sixteen and has been blessed with the opportunity to lead for churches, retreats, and conferences all over the world. He has released three solo albums and loves writing songs that the people of God can use to see and savor Jesus. Before coming to Shoreline Church in Knoxville, TN, Chuck served on staff at Shades Mountain Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
The conference was amazing and at times it was like drinking from a firehose. One great speaker after another … incredible moments alone with God stacked up like a tower … conversations with likeminded friends that you never want to forget.
The pages of your notebook are full.
So, what do you do with all these notes, this new information, these experiences?
How do you transfer this treasure into the lives of parents, the team you lead, and the students you’ll see at your next gathering?
It’s going to take effort and strategy to move to a new place and transform to a new level in your ministry. So let me give you a few pointers.
1. Summarize your notes ::
There’s no doubt that you probably took some notes, scribbled down a new thought, and most likely tried hard to take what your ears were processing and put it down on paper.
Information like this is rare and way too valuable to let slip away … so here’s how you can keep that from happening.
First … Take two hours, gather all your notes and put them in one place. Create categories … draw … paint your notes … take a picture of your notes. Do whatever you have do to save them in a way so they can keep on speaking.
A couple creative ideas would be to take your notes app on your iPad and digitize everything. The act of entering this information in a new place will cause this incredible data to not only be stored on your computer, but it will drive the concepts a little deeper in your brain.
You could also take the time to send yourself a series of daily emails containing your notes over the next seven days. Take a few minutes and schedule the emails so they land at a particular time each day. Don’t write them daily … write them all at one time and schedule them to deliver periodically.
The notes you took can and should be a spring for you to drink from for years to come.
2. Build a working list of pieces of the conference you want to hold onto.
Here’s a short bullet point list of simple things you can use to get started.
- What resource ministries do you think can help you?
- Write a short paper on what made the conference a great conference.
- What creative things did you see that are easily transferable to your ministry?
- What relationships would you like to build?
- What books do you want to add to to your reading list?
- What website do you need to bookmark?
3. Share what you’re learning with someone who couldn’t attend.
There’s nothing more exciting than sharing your conference experience with a friend. Schedule a lunch or a meeting long enough for you to unpack what you learned with them. Help them see what you see. Let them ask questions. Brainstorm.
Maybe something will surface that could ignite a movement in your city!
Finally, conferences have shaped lives and generated motion that has truly impacted entire generations …
Here’s to hoping it can happen again with you!
“Married to my best friend for 19 years. Father of 3 incredible girls. Youth Minister since 1985. Passionate lover of the Bride of Christ. Thinker, Laugher, Door holder, Friend. I like to play and at the end of my life, I want to be known as a person who did all I could to advance the Kingdom of God. My favorite passage of Scripture is Isaiah 55 and the message God stamped on my life in 1983 was Gal 2:20 . . . I have been crucified with Christ, yet — I — live! I want to make a difference. I care about what happens after I die. I fully understand that God wants me to be more concerned about Him than I am with any person I cross paths with while living this temporary life. I’m aware of how short life on earth really is. I know that I am not in control. I don’t always, but I want more than anything to trust God with my life.”
I became a believer in Jesus in 1980 at my church’s summer camp for students. God immediately asked me to go and tell people about Him. It’s my passion, it’s my call and it is part of what God wants me to do at this stage of my ministry. I used to do it all the time and I’m excited about doing it more now.
I can speak on Sundays or Wednesdays as someone who can come alongside what you are currently doing in your ministry.
I can train your leaders through one day seminars, weekend retreats, leader luncheons or custom events designed with your ministry in mind.
I love teenagers and find great freedom to help them see what God wants them to do now and in the future. I care deeply about the church and love the opportunity to teach on Sundays. It’s a blast to get to know a group of leaders and help them take the next step as a group and as individuals . . . when I get the chance to invest in others, I am fulfilled!
I pray daily for God to allow me to use what He’s teaching me daily in the lives of people He brings across my path.
I share on ymnow.com and blog every once in a while at scottburks.me ... you can also always give me a call 972.689.9639.
We met Danny Stephens a few summers ago when we were doing some work for BigStuf Camps. He was amazing as a musician but even more amazing as a person. Check him out the next time you need some help brainstorming an event, setting up a worship gathering or leading worship. You won’t be disappointed. CLICK HERE and check him out.
Check out this awesome resource for youth pastors from our friends at The Youth Cartel … http://theyouthcartel.com/product/advent/
You get one chance with most of the students you’re going to meet.
One chance to share Jesus … one chance to make them smile … one chance to bring them hope!
You can do it!
“The strength of our nation will not rest on the power of government. — The strength of our nation will depend on our ability to govern ourselves, control ourselves and to sustain ourselves based on the 10 Commandments of God.” James Madison
“I notice that when children don’t obey their parents they take them down to the courthouse!” Phil
Thinking about the greatness of a personal God today!
A God who holds us. A God who surrounds us with purity, hope, justice and peace.
A God who is full of all that is right and perfect. A God who knows all … is all .. controls all.
A loving Father.
A God who is so far above yet right in the middle of everything we face.
A God who sits on high and LONGS — to be good to us!
I’m challenged today in this ridiculously busy time of life to find the time to meditate on this awesome, personal God — who — cares — for — me … and loves the people I will cross paths with today!
Rest in His greatness!
When you focus on the negative, life moves at a different speed and often takes you down a road that is dark and hard to understand. When you think about the potential of your life and the positive opportunities each day brings life turns bright and is filled with hope. When you focus on the creator and His willingness to give you life out of nothing then a world opens up for you that is truly without limits and full of no regrets.
In the beginning God — He started it all!
He is our personal creator — He made us. We did not make ourselves. He brought us to life. We live out of His ability not ours.
He knew what He was doing when he put Adam in the garden and He knows what He is doing with me and you right now as well.
He is in control.
He speaks every moment.
His plan for us is beyond amazing!
He not knows what’s around the corner, He is already there!
There’s really no reason why we can’t see students take life and their walk with God to a new level … God can use them to change the world! God can use you to help them see their potential! You in? CLICK HERE and share your stories about how you are challenging students in your ministry!
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What is the Bible to your teens? Is it an outdated history book? A collection of moral thoughts and sayings? Or just a bunch of glorified fairytales? Here’s a thought: it’s none of these. The Bible is the record of God’s interaction with REAL people. And by taking a look at these people’s lives, we can learn a ton about God. And about us. CHECK OUT MORE
How about something that will wake up the toughest crowd? Need a boost to that predictable Sunday morning youth gathering?
Well have a got a site for you!!!! Check out our friends over at Crowd Control games … they’re outta control but will help you gain some control. CHECK EM out here!
Mission trips are incredible opportunities to both be used of God in ways we never thought we could, and for us to see God in ways that we have never seen Him before.
But…it’s about more than going on a mission trip. It’s about Living the Mission. The mission trip is first and foremost connected with God’s mission to glorify Himself, and reconcile mankind to Himself. The mission trip simply serves as a catalyst in two ways:
- To serve pastors and churches in a specific region of the world as they live the mission and make disciples via planting church-planting-churches.
- To engage students and churches from the U.S. in the mission of helping plant a church in another part of the world, and to train them to be ‘missional leaders’ when they return home.
To Live the Mission means relentlessly declaring God’s glory each day to a lost and hurting world. God has selected you to advance His kingdom—not because He has to, but because He wants to give you a role in shining his light into the darkest corners of the globe.
At NEXT, we’ve brought together church planting missions and student leadership training into one life-changing experience that will give you the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to radically transform how you live your life.
So instead of asking ‘if’ you’re to go, the real question is ‘where’. Join us in helping establish new churches all over the globe as you discover how to Live the Mission God has for you!
A worship band out of Atlanta, GA. For the past seven years they’ve been traveling all across the country leading worship for teenagers! Their goal is to see students connect to their creator through one of our favorite things on this planet, music. They would love to come lead worship for your church, event, or retreat! Feel free to hit us up through our contact page.
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The Justin Cofield Band, known for their energetic sound and style, is intentional about being a catalyst for life change through music. The foursome believes its purpose is not entirely to lead people to worship, but to create an atmosphere where believers and nonbelievers can connect with something greater than themselves. Their combination of heart-felt lyrics, solid melodies, and ear-catching guitar riffs has become the signature for their music, and has allowed them to communicate a “realness” in what they sing and in what they live. “We believe that worship is something that should permeate your entire life,” says frontman Justin Cofield. The JCB’s desire is to be God-glorifying, not only in their music, but also in the way that they live.
“The beginning” for the JCB took place in West Texas as a worship band leading a collegiate Bible study. As friends and fellow musicians, the band began to form under the direction of lead singer Justin Cofield. “We all came together at different times and in different places,” says Cofield, “but we definitely had music as a common thread among us”. As the band began to develop its unique style of worship and rock, its fan-base also began to grow. Soon the band was traveling, not just in West Texas, but all over the Lone Star state and the nation. The band is now rooted in Austin, TX. The JCB released their latest collaborative effort in April of 2008 entitled The Days Of Love.
Aaron Keyes served as the worship pastor at Grace Fellowship Church (in Atlanta, GA) for the last ten years. Aaron’s heart is to restore the Word of God to the foundation of corporate worship, and to help lead the next generation of worship leaders (who lead songs) to become more biblically empowered worship pastors (who lead people). Aaron’s band travels internationally, leading worship & training worship leaders as the Lord gives opportunity, and Aaron works with Kingsway Music, from the United Kingdom.
Aaron and his wife, Megan, have four sons – Cooper, Judah, Nyle, and Linen. Aaron and Megan graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC, where they were a part of planting City Church with Aaron’s parents, Steve and Becky.
In 2007, Aaron & Megan began their Worship School where, for several months out of the year, younger worship leaders would come to live in their home as part of an intensive worship discipleship course, involving daily teaching, mentoring, coaching, and community. The Keyes family have dedicated this year to slowing down, seeking the Lord, and being intensively trained in how to best make disciples. Aaron and Megan are currently waiting on the Lord to show them what’s next.
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Stan Johnson is an artist who currently lives in Atlanta, GA. He expresses his art through his music, while leading worship; serving as a doorholder at Passion City Church, and creating leadership experiences with Catalyst Conferences. His heart towards life and leading is that every person would encounter the presence of Jesus in a way that draws them into closer step towards Him…regardless of their current position.
Follow Stan on Twitter :: @stanjohnson
Checkout a cool little training video from The Village Church!
Jeff’s love for music began at a very young age. He recalls standing around the piano at his grandparents’ house in West Texas, singing old hymns and country songs. He had a deep love for country music and dreamed of being a country star one day. During college, those goals shifted. His junior year at Texas Tech, Jeff had a life-changing experience with the Lord at a Passion conference. After that, he began helping lead worship at his local church and college ministry. Upon graduating college, he moved to Dallas to begin a corporate career and quickly became involved in a local church plant where he was able to help lead worship on the weekends. Jeff quickly began to feel a strong sense of calling to pursue worship ministry full-time, so in faith, he stepped away from his corporate job. The Lord began opening doors and providing opportunities immediately, and has been faithful to do so ever since. In the Fall of 2010, Jeff married Jourdan Burks, also a worship leader. Currently, Jeff and Jourdan have the privilege of leading worship together, traveling the country with their band, to various conferences, retreats and camps. They can be found on the campuses of Baylor University (Vertical) and Texas A&M (Breakaway) every week, leading thousands of students in worship and sharing the hope of the Gospel. Jeff is passionate about writing songs for the church and counts it a great honor to get to spend his life engaging and loving people and pointing them to Jesus.
BOOK JEFF :: Email: email@example.com | Phone: 214-418-1688
Get Jeff’s latest record … CLICK HERE
With a fresh and unique teaching style, Wes Hamilton has been challenging students to take the next step in their relationship with Christ for more than 10 years. When he’s not hanging out with students, he takes the role as Lead Pastor of Hulen Street Church in Fort Worth, TX. He is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Seminary.
Wes and his wife, Lesley, reside in Fort Worth with their two children, Jake and Elle. He recently ran in the Dallas White Rock Marathon and enjoys reading, eating and the Texas Rangers.
You can reach out to Wes by CLICKING HERE
Ben Stuart has been the Executive Director for Breakaway since the summer of 2005. He grew up in Houston, Texas, and graduated from Texas A&M University in 1998. After graduation, Ben served as a youth pastor in Spring, Texas, for five years. He left to pursue a degree in Historical Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. He enjoys spending time with his beautiful wife, Donna, and their sweet daughter, Hannah. Bens passion in life is to know God and making Him known.
Ben’s experiences with youth and speaking include appearances at Houston’s Metro Bible Study, and guest speaking engagements at numerous youth events and conferences all over the nation. He is a Texas A&M graduate and is currently working to a complete a master’s degree in theology with an emphasis in church history at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Click here and you can reach out to Ben.