It’s a Big Deal – You’re Invited

On Wednesday, September 23rd we will be hosting a family life event for all parents: Big DealIt’s a Big Deal.

As a new youth pastor, I’m learning that everything we do as youth leaders for our students is only a fraction of the influence that their parents have in their lives. The relationships that we form and the sermons we preach are supplemental to the impact that parents have on their children. The best way to describe this relationship is that we are partners!

This is the way that God designed it. In Deuteronomy 6:7 God instructs parents:

“You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (ESV).

At the center of God’s plan for teaching His people His ways is parenting; clearly, it’s a big deal.

Just because God designed it this way doesn’t mean it’s easy. On the contrary, it can be the hardest thing in the world at times! That’s why the Family Life team at LifePoint is taking an entire night to celebrate, encourage, and equip the parents of our students.

We are going to serve a first-class dinner, hear from our lead Pastor Andrew Murch, and then provide a few workshops that you can choose from. We’ll also be providing some resources for parenting and hearing about exciting changes to the Family Life ministry at LPC.

There will be activities for children as well as normal programming for our Middle and High School students. No matter how old your children are, please come out and enjoy this party. After all, it’s for you!

RSVP Today

Preview of Workshops: 

1. Implementing Healthy Boundaries
When do I say “yes” and when do I say “no”? How can we train our children to become responsible adults? What if other parents don’t share my opinions?

2. Meaningful Family Devotions
With our crazy schedules can I really develop family habits? What does discipleship look like in the busyness of life as a family? How can I model a relationship with Jesus for my kids?

3. Sexual Purity & Technology
What are the challenges our children face with technology? How can I help them maintain their sexual purity in a sex-saturated culture?

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It’s A Big Deal

Big DealLiving as a follower of Jesus in the 21st century poses many challenges. Parenting is more challenging than ever before because not only are you responsible for your own spiritual growth but you are also responsible to teach your children how to develop their relationship with God. With ungodly influences facing us and our kids in every facet of our society, how can parents  navigate their kids in the ways of God on a daily basis? How can we raise our kids to live a godly life devoted to Jesus and still engage culture that is far removed from Christian morals? What are biblical and practical ideas one can implement in their parenting strategies?

At LifePoint, we believe parenting is a big deal, so we are hosting a free event to encourage and equip parents. This will be an evening where we will celebrate parents, equip parents, and also communicate some exciting changes coming to Family Life at LifePoint Church. Whether you have an infant or a seventeen year old, you can benefit from this event. There also will be breakout workshops including:

  1. Implementing healthy boundaries
  2. Meaningful family devotions
  3. Sexual purity & technology

The event is called, “It’s A Big Deal” and will be on Wednesday, September 23 from 6-8:30pm. Activities will be provided for children of all ages as well as dinner for all who come.

Click here to RSVP.

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New LifeStage Groups @ LPC

This is a familiar and exciting time of year. As Summer winds down and the days grow shorter, we begin to prepare for the fall. The smell of football, school, and pumpkin-spiced lattes begin to roll in, while pictures of autumn-turned leaves and Friday night lights fill our newsfeed. As much as we love the fun and freedom of summers, there’s something special about resuming the hustle and bustle of our falls; this is the time we resume the normal rhythms of our lives.

As our lives pick back up their normal routines, so do our LifeGroups. Beginning Sunday September 20, LifePoint’s LifeGroup leaders will resume their normal LifeGroup rhythms. Everyone is excited to get back to their consistent Bible studies and to see their friends regularly. We’re also excited to see all of the new families who have become a part of LifePoint over the summer get connected and make relationships.

This Sunday you can find and sign up for a group near you at lpcvan.com/LifeGroups, or grab a catalog during one of our gatherings.

The primary way we organize our groups is based on regions because it’s essential that we do life with people from all stages of life in our neighborhoods. At the same time, there are some stations of life that need some extra support from their own demographic. So in addition to these regional community LifeGroups, there are also people who will be leading LifeStage groups. Here are four I want to highlight:

1. GriefShare

• Wednesdays, 7pm @ LPC

It hurts to lose someone. You don’t have to go through the grieving process alone. GriefShare is a friendly, caring group of people who will walk alongside you through one of life’s most difficult experiences. Learn more about GriefShare HERE. Sign up HERE.

2. Men’s Redemption Group: For Middle and High School Guys

• Tuesdays, 6:30am @ the Hesses’

Begin the process of lust-free living. Sexual purity can at times seem like an unattainable goal. However, Christ has equipped us to be able to experience freedom together. During the course of this group, we will work to reclaim our identity in Christ and apply the power of that truth to this common battle. Sign up HERE.

Mom’s Group:

• Tuesdays, 9:30am @ LPC

This group is for moms of all ages. Join us as we meet other moms, encourage one another, and grow together by discussing Sunday’s message. There will be childcare provided for a minimal fee while you connect with other moms. Sign up HERE.

The Verge: Young Adults:

• Sundays, 6pm @ the Troupes’

The Verge is LPC’s young adult network. On Sunday nights we’ll be discussing David Platt’s book Counter Culture. Join us as we pursue relationships, maturity, and a better understanding of our faith. Sign Up HERE. Also visit the Verge Facebook page.

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The Misty Realms of Theory

Like people, organizations need to know why they exist, or they drift through life unanchored and tossed about. Some organizations have to search high and low to try and figure out why they are; not so the church. The church exists to glorify God as a community being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.[1] There is a lot to this statement that should be pondered deeply. It is the essence of the church’s existence. Let’s call it the mission of the church. The WHY!

Organizations also need to know what it is that they are trying to accomplish. They should not simply busy themselves with lots of activities hoping that something in all the hustle and bustle is working. This reminds me of an old Peanuts cartoon that depicted Charlie Brown shooting arrows at a fence. After shooting an arrow he would then walk to the fence and draw a target and bulls-eye around the arrow. When Linus[2] questioned him about the order in which he was going about this he responded, “This way I never miss.” Of course, this can’t be the best approach. Unfortunately, this is how a lot of churches go about the work of God. They try anything and everything… flinging arrows at the fence. Then they draw targets around those arrows that seemed to be working.

Since the church exists to glorify God as a community it is imperative that the leadership of the church equips the church to be the church. That is what the church is actually trying to accomplish – to equip the church to be the church. Let’s call it the vision of the church. The WHAT!

Knowing the why and what are critical, but if the how isn’t quarried the organization will flounder, ever to wander in the misty realms of theory. The church is no different. It too must establish how it will go about accomplishing the what. Since the reason for being is to glorify God as a community being transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ those being transformed must learn the gospel, live the gospel, and lead others to the gospel. Let’s call this the strategies of the church. The How!

This is the time of year that church leaders start to think hard about the next year and beyond. Revisiting (or articulating) the mission, vision, and strategies is step number one. Being freshly reminded of why there is a church, what the church is supposed to accomplish, and how it will go about that work is foundational to establishing plans for the coming year. Once these are crisp and bright in the heart and mind plans can be made. Then the church can set about those plans with faith and determination.

[1] 2 Cor. 3:18

[2] It might have been Lucy, I don’t remember.

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August 21st @ LifePoint Church: A Night of Worship

Picking out songs for a church body to sing together is not an easy task. There are many factors to take into consideration, and at the top of that list is the lyrical content of the music we sing. I want every word that we belt out together to be full of gospel truth… and honestly, some songs just don’t make the cut.

Fortunately, there are also artists and songwriters that make my work much simpler. There are a few bands that combine rich theology with singable melodies and catchy music. So when I caught wind that Citizens & Saints, Stephen Miller, and King’s Kaleidoscope were touring together, I got 12 year-old girl at a One Direction concert excited.

These are artists that we sing in our gatherings at LifePoint Church, and if you come to this event, it’s likely that there will be multiple moments of Oh, I know this song! 


You can pick up tickets at lpcvan.com/concert. Hope to see you there!

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Nicki Minaj: The Night Is Young, But We’re Getting Old

animal-house

I was home all last week with a newborn. When I’m home I listen to a lot of podcasts, sports radio, and pandora. I haven’t sprung for spotify mobile yet; once I come into some money I’ll make it happen. A song came on my pandora called “The Night Is Still Young” by Nicki Minaj. If your unfamiliar with Nicki don’t google her, you will regret it. Anyways, the chorus is: “The night is still young and so are we.” That lyric caught my attention because Nicki has been out for a while. I googled her age and she is actually 32 years old. That may be young to some people, but in the context of the message behind song, 32 is no spring chicken. The majority of the song is about getting wasted and “living it up” while you still can. The fact that 32 is considered an acceptable age to stay out all night clubbing and hooking up is absurd to me. We have obviously seen a huge shift in America where the growth and maturity of our teens and young adults is being stunted. People are marrying later, playing more video games, living with their parents longer, and caring about their future less. Its called delayed adolescence. It’s somewhat of an epidemic. Nicki’s song really sparked some thoughts on this epidemic.

Now I don’t know how to change the cultural standard on when it’s time to grow up. I don’t know how to get all the 27 year old men to move out of their parents house; or how to stop playing video games into the Wii hours of the morning. (See what I did there? That wasn’t a typo.) But I do know that the Bible speaks to every modern day issue. The apostle Paul, and Jesus Christ himself, give us some good direction about how to get some direction.

1. Find some new friends

Surround yourself with people older, smarter, and more mature than you. If you’re single start hanging out with some solid married couples. If you’re newly married, start hanging out with people that have been married longer than you. It’s easy to hang out with people that are in our same stage of life. It’s comfortable, we can stay complacent. It’s more work to develop friendships with people who intimidate us a little bit. Paul tells younger men/women to learn from older men/women in Titus 2. Paul basically says: Learn, grow, mature. If you’re an older man/woman: teach, train, instruct.

2. Men: find a woman, and marry her.

Marriage is obviously not the answer for everything. But nothing forces us to mature more than marriage. I thought I was a mature 22 year old, until I got married…. I was sorely mistaken. So if you love Jesus, have a good job, and are in a solid community, find a woman and put a ring on it. In Matthew 19 Jesus said a man shall leave his father and mother cling to his wife. I don’t think Jesus intended a 15 year gap in-between leaving your parents, and finding your wife. It’s not rocket science.

So thanks Nicki for giving us some fodder for this discussion. I hope when you read this blog you’re not offended at my comment on your age. I truly don’t think you’re old. I just think our thirties should be about raising our kids, not raising our glass in the club.

 

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Compassion for the Lost

I have been reading and reflecting in the book of Jonah the past couple of weeks. I love this book and if you have not read it in a while, I encourage you to take 30 minutes to read the whole book. I find myself laughing out loud by myself from all the irony in the book. Here is a short breakdown:

  1. God sends Jonah on a mission to warn to city of Ninevah that God would destroy it because of its great evil.
  2. Jonah “runs” from the presence of God (as if that is possible).
  3. The sailors who do not have a relationship with God seemingly fear and respect God more than Jonah does.
  4. Jonah spends three days inside the belly of a fish. I cannot imagine the horrific smell of living inside a fish for three days. I have heard it called a  “port-a-potty” with fins. The fish eventually vomits him up.
  5. Ninevah repents and the king himself steps off his throne, removes his royal robes, and puts on sackcloth to show his remorse that they might not be destroyed.
  6. Jonah becomes angry and wants to die when God relents from sending disaster to Ninevah.
  7. Jonah becomes angry and wants to die a second time when God allows the plant to die.

God teaches Jonah through the plant that Jonah is more angry that the plant died (angry enough to die) than for the exceedingly great city of Ninevah- where there were more than 120,000 people who did not know their right hand from their left hand….

The story of Jonah reminds me that I serve a God full of compassion, full of grace and mercy, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.[1] God desires that no one perishes, but that all reach repentance.[2] So, what does this mean for me today? Regardless of my past or my shortcomings or my failures, God wants to use me to share Jesus to a lost world.

There are approximately 7.3 billion people living in this world today. God has called his followers on a mission to go and make disciples and to share Jesus with a lost and hurting world.[3] We do not wait for the call because it has already been given to us. God will use us no matter where we are placed to share Jesus with others. I want to feel the heartbeat for those who are lost and do not know or believe God’s salvation for mankind. If you have not felt that heartbeat recently (or ever), ask God to share his compassion for lost people with you, pray fervently for it and he will change your heart. Ask God to show you more specifically where you can make a difference in the lives of those around you. He is able to do far more abundantly all that we ask or think according to his power at work within us.[4]

[1] Jonah 3:2

[2] 2 Peter 3:9

[3] Matthew 28:18-20

[4] Ephesians 3:20

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