Wednesday, 03 May 2017 17:57

FIVE | Deuteronomy: Remember | 4.30.17

Dear parents,

We just concluded our “Pentateuch” series about the first five books of the Bible. In the final lesson, we explored the Ten Commandments—but instead of the commonly used passage in Exodus 20, we focused on Deuteronomy 5:1-21.

This gave us an opportunity to explore the powerful truths of the Ten Commandments and to remember God’s work, faithfulness, and presence in our lives. Like the Israelites, we may experience God’s incredible work but then “forget” about God and choose our own path.

This week, I encourage you to spend a few minutes talking with your teenager about our lesson. Here are some questions that can start the conversation:

  • What’s your favorite story or event from the Bible, and why?
  • How does praising and thanking God help you remember what he’s done in your life?
  • As you draw closer to Jesus, which of the Ten Commandments seems simplest and most natural to follow? Which seems most challenging?

Thanks for all your prayers for our students and our ministry. Have an incredible week!

Published in Parents
Monday, 24 April 2017 06:27

FIVE | Numbers: Choosing Trust | 4.23.17

Dear parents,

We’re continuing FIVE by exploring the Bible’s first five books. This week’s lesson focused on Numbers 13:25-33, after Moses sends 12 spies into Canaan to see what the Israelites will face in the Promised Land. Ten spies return with a negative, fearful report, but Joshua and Caleb declare that God will help them conquer the land. Because of their trust in God, the men are encouraged and confident.

Students heard that whatever they’re facing, they can choose to trust Jesus and his ability to protect and guide them.

Sometime this week, spend a few minutes talking with your teenager about our lesson. You can build the conversation around these questions:

  • Tell about a time you trusted Jesus during a difficult or painful experience. How did that draw you closer to him?
  • Does thinking about consequences make it easier for you to choose wisely? Why or why not?
  • Why is fear so contagious? What fear do you need Jesus’ help to overcome?

Thanks for the privilege of partnering with you in this incredible adventure of teaching the next generation. Have a wonderful week!

Published in Parents

Dear parents,

We’re continuing our “FIVE” series on the Pentateuch, exploring the first five books of the Bible. In the third lesson, we discussed Leviticus 23:26-32.

The book of Leviticus has earned a bad rap because it contains many laws, rules, and regulations. Yet its central message is about grace, so we discussed how Leviticus reminds us of the cost of sin—and our need for redemption.

Spend a few minutes talking with your teenager about our discussion this week. Here are some questions to fuel your dialogue:

  • How do you stay focused on your friendship with Jesus even when you don’t “feel” forgiven or redeemed?
  • When does God’s holiness seem most appealing? When does it seem most intimidating?
  • When it comes to having faith in Jesus, what questions do you wrestle with? How can I help you in your faith walk?

It’s such an honor to work with this amazing group of teenagers. Thanks for all your prayers for our ministry. Have a great week!

Published in Parents
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 14:07

FIVE | Exodus: God our Deliverer | 3.26.17

Dear parents,

We’re continuing our series (FIVE) on the Pentateuch to help teenagers explore the first five books of the Bible. In the second lesson, we discussed Exodus 2:23-25. God’s people—the Israelites—had spent generation after generation in Egyptian captivity, wondering if God heard their cries for help. Teenagers sometimes wonder the same thing, so they need to hear that God is our faithful deliverer.

Our conversation focused on helping young people understand that God offers the gift of forgiveness through Jesus. As our deliverer, Jesus can free us from bad habits, temptations, and hurts.

Please try to find an opportunity this week to talk with your teenager about our lesson. Here are some questions that can fuel the discussion:

  • When have you found it difficult to keep praying because God seemed silent?
  • When have you felt encouraged by another person’s story of answered prayer?
  • Where do you want or need Jesus to act, even though you don’t see any evidence that he’s currently at work?

Thanks for praying for our ministry. Please let us know how we can be praying for your family, too. Have an awesome week!

Published in Parents

Dear parents,

This week we're having a conversation about finding Jesus throughout the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. As teenagers embrace the adventure of finding Jesus throughout the entire Bible, they’ll experience the joy of drawing closer to him.

To Jesus’ earliest followers, “Scripture” meant the Old Testament—because the New Testament was still happening! As they read the Old Testament, God’s people recognized how prophecies pointed to the Messiah and how Jesus fulfilled those prophecies.

This week, please spend a few minutes talking with your teenager about our lesson. Here are some questions to fuel the conversation:

  • How has reading the Bible pointed you toward Jesus?
  • In what area are you becoming more like Jesus? How is Jesus changing and maturing you?
  • What does it look like to “center” your life around Jesus? How is that different from putting Jesus first in your life?

Thanks for praying for our teenagers and our ministry. Have an incredible week!

Published in Parents
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 16:25

HABIT BUILDING | Week 6: Studying Scripture

Dear parents,

We’ve finished our six-week series on developing HABITS for spiritual growth. Here in our final week, we talked about studying Scripture and how this discipline affects our lives, with a focus on Psalm 119:25-32. This passage, part of the longest chapter in the Bible, reminds us of several ways God’s Word is useful and beneficial to our lives. We read about being revived, gaining understanding, experiencing encouragement, and living faithfully.

God gave us his Word to meet our deepest needs, connect us to him, and reveal his wonders. When we consider his teachings, we are strengthened from the inside out and can stand against the pressures of our world.

Take time this week to talk with your teenager about the message. Perhaps you could read Psalm 119:25-32 and talk about a few of the questions below:

  • What is one strategy that would help you become hungrier for God’s Word in your life?
  • If a friend wanted to start reading the Bible for direction in life, what suggestions would you offer?
  • Based on all you’ve learned and discussed in this series, how will you be able to grow spiritually on your own?

Thanks for praying for our youth ministry. It’s a blessing to work with your child each week and see God’s plans unfold! Have a great week!

Published in Parents
Wednesday, 01 March 2017 15:21

HABIT BUILDING | Week 5: Tithing

Dear parents,

This week at Encounter, we are discussing the fifth part of our HABITS series: Tithing. We will talk about Psalm 24:1, which reads, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him.” God has given us everything and we are then called to give back to God a portion. This is called a “tithe,” or 10 percent.

We'll talk about how God gives us all we have and then asks us to give back a portion to help serve people and share the good news of Jesus’ love.

This week, I’d encourage you to find time to talk with your teenager about this important aspect of HABITS. Here are some suggested questions that may help generate dialogue:

  • How can you give God back a portion of your time, talent, and money?
  • Are you being a good steward of all the things that God has given you to use?
  • What is your view of how our family uses money?

Thanks for praying for our ministry!

Published in Parents

Dear parents,

This week we are talking about being involved in and serving within the church body. Using Psalm 78:70-72, we discussed how God has given each Christian skills to serve, how we must be ready for opportunities to serve, and how a lifestyle of service can create an example for others to follow.

We want teenagers to see church as a place of excitement—a place where they can own their faith by getting involved and serving. We want teenagers to see themselves the way God sees them—people who have lots to offer, right now. They don’t have to wait until tomorrow to develop the habit of getting involved and serving at church.

Here are some questions you could ask your teenager this week to start some good dialogue:

  • Are you afraid of the future? Why or why not?
  • Do you feel qualified enough for God to use you to minister to other people?
  • What would it be like to get involved in a ministry at church and serve other people?

Thanks for your spiritual investment in your child. We get to see the results every week!

Published in Parents
Tuesday, 31 January 2017 12:11

HABIT BUILDING | Week 3: Bible Memorization

Dear parents,

We’re continuing our series on HABITS for spiritual growth by talking about Bible memorization. Psalm 119:11 tells us, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Bible memorization helps us become more familiar with who God is and how God wants us to live. Even Jesus used Bible memorization as a weapon for fighting off Satan’s temptation.

This week, we challenged our students to memorize Psalm 119:11. Perhaps your whole family could memorize this verse—or pick another! Here are some that may help kick start a family discussion about memorizing Scripture:

  • Why should Christians memorize Bible verses? What are some ways it might help your spiritual life?
  • What is the best way for you to memorize Scripture?
  • If you decided you wanted to value the Bible more, how would you make this happen? What changes or decisions would you make to make the Bible a greater treasure to you?

Have a blessed day!

Published in Parents

Dear parents,

This week we continued our series on developing some good HABITS for spiritual growth. Our topic this time was on the “A” from HABITS: Accountable Friendships. We all need friends who know our weaknesses and love us anyway and are able to hold us to our commitments. These are the friends who will come up to us when they see us making choices that might endanger or derail us spiritually.

Using Psalm 133 this week, we encouraged students to pursue accountable friendships because of the rewards of living together in harmony. We also reminded our teenagers that Jesus himself said people would recognize Christians because of the love they have for each other.

In the next few days, look for an opportunity to have a spiritual conversation with your child. Here are some possible questions to fuel that dialogue:

  • Do you currently have a friend who holds you accountable? What are some benefits of that friendship?
  • Are there any areas of your life that you would want me to hold you accountable?
  • Are there areas of my life that you see where I could be growing or improving?

Have an awesome week!

Published in Parents
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