40 Days of Spiritual Preparation

Shane Stacey – May 2, 2016 5 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Do you need a fresh encounter with God? Do your students need a fresh move of God in their lives?

Another class will soon graduate. You’ll head into summer. Maybe you’re joining us in Louisville at Challenge Conference 2016 or will be heading on a BUMP trip. Maybe you’re headed to a camp or overseas on a missions trip of your own. The reality is that it doesn’t matter where we go this summer, it will only be another destination without God’s moving.

Continuing the National Call to Prayer

Since January, we’ve been calling youth workers, students and parents to prayer as part of the RESET prayer movement and Together 2016. I’ve written about RESET’s national call to prayer and the RESET 21-Day Fast.

In addition, we’ve posted written prayers including:

Jesus, RESET my vision of You

Jesus, RESET my prayer life

Jesus, RESET my purpose

Jesus, RESET my character and purity

Jesus, RESET my identity

Jesus, RESET my family

Not Your Normal Youth Ministry Fare

Now, we are joining thousands across America in a 40-day season of prayer and fasting from May 6- June 14. I realize this is not your normal youth ministry fare. But, there are many scriptural examples of God’s people fasting in times of crisis, uncertainty, and when God’s deliverance was needed. Fasting is a way of humbling ourselves before God in response to a sacred or grievous moment. We are all need a fresh touch from God. Our generation, country, our student ministries and you may even feel your own life needs a reset from God.   Continue Reading…

Fresh Bread

Gordy Williams – April 29, 2016 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

I quote a particular Katy Perry lyric often to my students. I tell them, “Baby, you’re a firework,” not because I think it’s true, but because that one line pinpoints a dearly held belief in our culture. It’s the belief that something good rests inside of us. It’s the idea that should a problem arise, we need only to look within ourselves and unleash our inner, untapped potential to gain the solution. It’s akin to the Disney ideal of following your heart.

The problem with these ideas is laid bare in the opening chapters of the Bible: sin. Our hearts, along with every other aspect of our beings, were tainted in the fall. Until God’s good work of sanctification is complete, our hearts will be suspect. That’s why it’s incredibly important to submit our hearts and desires to the Scriptures and be formed under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

But how do we do that? As a ministry leader, how do we help facilitate that process in others? Continue Reading…

Evangelism is a Two-Way Conversation

Steven Dunkel – April 27, 2016 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

A common fear in evangelism is not knowing what to say. What if we didn’t have to do the talking?

In college, I met a missionary named Nick who had the spiritual gift of evangelism. Nick claimed that every time he fully shares the gospel with someone, his conversation partner trusts Jesus. What’s his method? Nick walks up to someone, introduces himself as a Christian, and asks them if he can share a few Bible verses with them. They often say no, but when they say yes, Nick shares four verses with them—nothing out of the ordinary.

It’s how he shares these verses that sets him apart. Instead of reciting or reading the verses to them, he hands over his Bible and asks them to open to the bookmark (Romans) and read the highlighted verses (3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:9). He asks them what they think each verse means. Sometimes, he points out specific words and guides them to the verse’s meaning. Sometimes, he offers explanations and answers questions. Always, he listens carefully and affirms their correct observations.

By the end of the two-way conversation, his conversation partner has done more of the talking and has discovered the gospel for himself/herself—straight from the Bible. When he asks them if they want to begin a relationship with Jesus, most people respond: “Who wouldn’t?”

Since then, I’ve used this method dozens of times in one-on-one conversations with students and friends, and I’ve seen dozens trust Jesus in response. I’ll walk us through step-by-step: Continue Reading…

Why Can’t We All Get Along?

Katherine Jeffery – April 20, 2016 10 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

If you are reading this, you are likely a) a Millennial or b) working with Millennials and wondering how this generation became such a mystery to you.

As a Gen Xer who lives on the edge of the Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2004), I am drawn to some of the beauty of the Millennials, while also feeling a need to dig deeper and understand more fully what makes them think and act the way that they do.

Recently, I completed my dissertation on what Millennials have to say about leadership and teams…and it appears a significant shift is taking place. Many of the participants in the study revealed that they wanted leaders who come alongside them. They are not interested in leaders who demand their own way or think they are above other team members. They believe everyone on the team is an equal. Only two of the participants spoke highly of the concept of hierarchy. Each of them followed it up with the fact that leaders need to balance the authority they have with walking beside their followers.  Continue Reading…

Jesus, RESET My Family

Reid Kapple – April 18, 2016 1 Comment

ReachStudents Blog

Father in heaven, you are the giver of all good gifts (Jas. 1:17). While we may not always see it this way, reset my mind to recognize that you give us family as a gift. Thank you for my parents, who you used to bring me into this world. Thank you that you placed them in my life to raise me into the person I am today (Eph. 6:4). Thank you for the wisdom they have imparted to me to navigate life (Pro. 22:6). But more than my own family, I praise you for the many families with whom you surround me to walk with me and teach me your ways (Ps. 78:4). Would you open my eyes to see the many ways that you are using my family, and the surrounding families in my life, to guide me in setting my hope in you and remembering your word (Ps. 78:5-7)?

I know I don’t see this naturally and I often rebel and turn against your good will for my life, just like the prodigal son (Lk. 15:11-32). I confess that I choose my own way over your way for me (Isa. 53:6), thinking I know and want what is best for me more than you do (Pro. 14:12). I see this in my relationship with my family. Rather than embracing them as a gift given by you for my good, I often find myself impatient, ungrateful, and embittered toward them. I have sinned against my family through what I have done and what I have left undone (Jas. 4:17). I know this dishonors you when I respond to my family in this way (Col. 3:20). Continue Reading…

Reading Together

Gordy Williams – April 15, 2016 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

One of the young men I was discipling offered me an amusing deal one day as we ate lunch together. He would give me a book to read and discuss together. Next, I would give him a book to read and discuss together. We placed no limitations on genre. We kept this up for almost a year – reading and discussing together. We probably burned through a dozen books, maybe more. I think the payoff was easily worth the time investment. Here are some of the things that came out of it: Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

One of the largest Internet porn sites, Pornhub (with 60 million daily users), just launched a new section devoted to virtual reality pornography. This takes pornography to a whole new level. It creates a virtual body for the user—moving the viewer from spectator to participant.

In the article from Fast Company, Some Said it Couldn’t Be Done But Free VR Porn Is On It’s Way, the site’s owner said, “Now, our users are not only able to view our content, but be protagonists in the experience and interact with their favorite porn stars,” and thereby revolutionizing the addictive, damaging impact of porn on our children.

Porn addiction is already unique from other addictions. Gary Wilson identifies a number of reasons why, including: (1) Internet porn offers extreme novelty; (2) Unlike food and drugs, there are almost no physical limitations to Internet porn consumption; (3) With Internet porn, one can escalate both with more novel “partners” and by viewing new and unusual genres; (4) Unlike drugs and food, Internet porn doesn’t eventually activate the brain’s natural aversion system; and (5) The age users start watching porn.

A teen’s brain is at its peak of dopamine production and neuroplasticity, making it highly vulnerable to addiction and rewiring. VR porn will only compound these realities.

Heading toward self worship

In reading the article and watching the reactions of men and women alike to taking the VR porn for a test run, I find myself pondering several things: Continue Reading…

Jesus, RESET My Identity

Daniel Olson – April 4, 2016 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

Creator God, you are so far beyond my understanding. You call every one of the trillions of stars by name (Ps. 147:4). You hold the universe in the palm of your hand. Yet in all the vastness of the universe, before I was even in my mother’s womb, I was a dream in your mind (Jer. 1:5). You lovingly and intimately formed my being in your image (Gen 1:27). My body, my personality, my passions, all  handcrafted by You (Ps. 139:13). You know how many hairs are on my head (Matt 10:30). And you called it good. You’ve seen every time I’ve laughed and every time my heart has been broken.

But sin has marked me. I am created in your image, in the image of your love, but I confess that more often I embody hate, fear, jealousy, lust, and pride. I try to identify myself with a world that was never meant to be my home (1 Pet. 1:17). Rather than believing you love and accept me, I try to find acceptance from my friends and family. I’ll even lie to complete strangers just to make myself look good. And I believe lies about myself: “I’m worthless. I’m a mistake. I have to work to earn your love.” I’ve wasted so much time trying to find my identity in what I drive, what I wear, who I hang out with, my jobs, my talents, my sexuality and it all leaves me wanting.  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

Every year, while watching March Madness basketball games, I can’t help but think of youth ministries all around the country preparing to launch thousands of graduating seniors into the sea of college faces. I find myself wondering if the faith of these fledgling adults will hold up under the pressure of intellectual attack, new ideas and criticism found on a college campus.

In a post from byFaith, Timothy Keller paints a bleak picture of where America is as a culture:

“This is an unprecedented time in human history…What’s new is the breadth of conviction that there is no such thing as truth. There have never been whole societies built on that idea. Never.

Everyone knows that younger people are far less religious than the generation before … and despite all the things that we’ve been doing for the last 30 years, we’re losing them.”

Zoe Erler, the writer of the byFaith piece, went on to say, “Humanistic perspectives such as rationalism, individualism, relativism, and pragmatism have all contributed to this religious indifference. As well, perhaps, the seeming irrelevance of various evangelical movements has done little to draw the ‘nones’ back into the fold.”

However, Keller notes that the secular college campus may be the best place to develop emerging Christian leaders. Erler writes, “If you’re on a college campus, you’re on the culture’s cutting edge. It is, [Keller] says, our best leadership development pipeline. By exposing people to the cutting edge of culture where they have to deal with the modern mindset, where they have to deal with non-Christians — that, in Keller’s opinion, is the best way to develop pastors and lay leaders.”

Parents and youth leaders feel the pressure to adequately prepare youth with a sound faith that can withstand the test of intellectual scrutiny. In fact, we want youth to not only be able to articulate the gospel to others, but defend it for themselves.

Christ on campus 

Continue Reading…

The Source of Vision for Your Ministry

Dr. G. David Boyd – March 16, 2016 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

A vision of a renewed Jerusalem was given by Nehemiah to rebuild the walls.

In Nehemiah 2:17-18, Nehemiah says, “‘You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.’ I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.”

Nehemiah starts with their present condition, and moves to where they should go by providing them a vision and a reminder that God is with them.

A vision does not provide a picture of the way things are, but an image of what could and should be. It focuses a community on where they are going and what must be done to get there. It unifies them as they work towards the common good.  Continue Reading…