Jesus, RESET My Prayer Life

Daniel Olson – January 18, 2016 2 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

King of Heaven, you are holy; completely set apart (Isa. 6:3). You have no need for me (Acts 17:25). Yet, you desire for me to draw close to you. You’re always knocking on the door of my heart, wanting to commune with me (Rev. 3:20). Before I say a word you hear my cry (Isa. 65:24), and you invite me to know the whisper of your voice every moment of the day (Jn. 10:4).

Heavenly Father, I confess I am often filled with anxiousness, worry and insecurity. I seek to solve the cares of this world in my own strength (Phil. 4:6). My pride causes me to live self-sufficiently, instead of prayerfully banking on you (Phil. 4:6-8). I carry the weight of temporary and meaningless things on my shoulders when I’m called to carry the weight of your presence (2 Cor. 4:10). I go throughout my day with little thought of you, as if you do not exist (Ps. 10:4). I’m more concerned with the voices on my social media feed than I am with yours, my Heavenly Father. I am all too acquainted with the strange and politically correct voice of the culture than I am with yours (John 10:5).  I’ve listened to its lies so much, I actually believe I could never have an amazing prayer life (Isa. 5:10). While nothing can separate me from you (Rom. 8:31-38), all too often I am the one who separates myself from you. I turn my back on you and neither seek nor inquire of you (Zeph. 1:6). Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

Friendship with Jesus is not only possible, it is essential.

At Rebound 2015, we heard from Alan Kraft, lead pastor of Christ Community Church (EFCA), about four different aspects of friendship with Jesus. Rebound is a retreat for youth workers and their spouses, if applicable, to get away and reconnect with God, one another, their calling and their identity.

In the previous two posts, Kraft taught about vulnerability opening the door to friendship with Jesus and delight as a mark of genuine friendship with Jesus.

Friendship with Jesus: Learning to listen to the Spirit of Jesus

In his third message at Rebound, Kraft, the author of two books, More: When a Little Bit of the Spirit Is Not Enough and Good News for Those Trying Harder, focused on a verse from the Book of John:  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

This is the second part of our four-part series from Rebound 2015.

If you missed part one, go take a listen. Our guest speaker at Rebound, Alan Kraft, talked about vulnerability as a key aspect of friendship with Jesus. Kraft is the lead pastor of Christ Community Church (EFCA), in Greeley, Colorado.

At the beginning of this message, he references listening prayer and Two Rivers Church. Two Rivers Church is an EFCA church located in Lenoir City, Tennessee. They describe listening prayer this way:  Continue Reading…

ReachStudents Blog

Every year, ReachStudents has the pleasure of hosting a conference called Rebound. In the EFCA, we believe that healthy leaders and families create healthy ministries. It’s why Rebound is specifically designed to invest into the heart health of youth pastors and their spouses, if applicable, as well as the health of their marriages.

In November 2015, we gathered together in Melbourne, Florida, and our guest speaker was Alan Kraft. He is lead pastor of Christ Community Church (EFCA) in Greeley, Colorado, a church he’s pastored for 25 years. Also, Kraft wrote two books: More: When a Little Bit of the Spirit Is Not Enough and Good News for Those Trying HarderContinue Reading…

Jesus, Reset My Vision of God.

Shane Stacey – January 5, 2016 2 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Eternal Father, you never had a beginning and you will never have an end (Rev. 1:8). Your glory—the sum total of your character and your works—is incomparable (Ps. 89:6) and unrivaled. Your creation belts out your wonders in living color day after day (Ps. 19:1). Out of your undeserved kindness, you fashioned me before the world was created to see and savor your greatness and graciousness (Rom. 9:23). You gave me five senses through which to feel, taste, see, hear and smell your glory with my whole being (Isa 43:7). And what is more, my Savior, Jesus Christ, willingly died and rose again so that I may be with Him and see Him as He truly is (Jn. 17:24). He has made a way for me to make much of you with all that I am.

Continue Reading…

Top 10 Posts of 2015

Reach Students – December 31, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

We are grateful for the contributors to this blog and its readers. Before we step into a new year here is a look back at the top ten most viewed posts of 2015:

  1. What Else Would I Teach From?: When teaching, do I use the Bible as the source for knowing God or am I just focused on the relevance of my talk? Reid Kapple helped us evaluate how we are using God’s word when teaching students.
  2. RESET: A National Call To Prayer: In this post, Shane Stacey looked back at how God used prayer to awaken hearts for spiritual renewal, and looks forward to Reset: A Unified Call to Prayer in Our Generation.
  3. 5 Reasons Why The Church Needs Youth: At our annual EFCA Rebound Conference, Shane Stacey shared with us why the church benefits from teenagers.
  4. The Power of an Annual Planning Retreat: Shane Stacey encouraged us to take the time for a rooftop view of our ministry. Look up, look within, look back, and look ahead.
  5. Is God Anti-Gay?: The implications of same sex-attraction and gay marriage were on the minds and hearts of many pastors and church leaders this past year. This post points you to a few helpful resources and questions for us to ask in approaching these issues.
  6. The Gap Year Less Traveled: Katie Manning introduced us to the EFCA ReachGlobal Crisis Response team, and the benefits of a gap year for students in your youth group.
  7. As Students Leave for College: Dr. G. David Boyd gave us three keys to making high school to college a great transition. He also reminded us of the importance of the first two weeks.
  8. Shifting from Education to Equipping: Speaking, preaching and teaching often receive a lot of attention in the church. Shane Stacey encouraged us to increase the “show-how learning” that comes with equipping and training.
  9. Why Bring Students to Challenge 2016: With our Challenge Conference just around the corner, Shane Stacey reminded us of the value and uniqueness offered by this momentum-building experience.
  10. 5 Books Every Leader Should Read: Ben Phillips introduced us to five great resources that will help you grow and develop as a leader.

Thanks for joining us and reading in 2015 and we wish you a Happy New Year!

RESET and the 21 Day Fast

Shane Stacey – December 29, 2015 3 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Earlier this year, I posted about RESET: A national call to prayer. If you attend either of the student conferences in the Central or Forest Lake Districts of the EFCA in January, you’ll hear more about RESET as we continue to mobilize people to a concentrated season of prayer and fasting.

Not only is RESET growing within the EFCA, it is also building steam throughout the nation. Next month, national leaders, ministries and churches are joining together for 21 days of prayer and fasting as we seek God for revival and spiritual awakening in our nation.

Participate in the 21 Day Fast

The Praying with Jesus: Reset My Prayer Life  fast (link below) is centered on the idea that Jesus is the reset that we all need. He is the rest for our lives, our churches, our communities and the nations. He can make all things new; He can restore us to our original design.

The Reset prayer emphasis will also be a strong emphasis at the Challenge Conference July 3-7, 2016, in Louisville, Kentucky. Just 10 days later, July 16, 2016, hundreds of thousands will gather in Washington, D.C. for Together 2016. Why? Because Jesus is the reset.

We need Jesus.  Continue Reading…

2016 Decision.001

One of the best decisions I made back in 2012 to help my walk with God was saying “yes” to a friend, Bill Allison,  who invited me to read through the Bible with him and a few others. I enjoyed it so much I did it again in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Reading through the Bible was great. Reading through the Bible with friends was rich on so many levels. I dare you to try it BUT with this approach… Continue Reading…

God With Us

Mark O'Brien – December 24, 2015 Leave a comment

ReachStudents Blog

God with us.

From beginning to end, it’s always been about that. God created mankind so we could enjoy His presence.

God created humanity on the sixth day of creation, and the seventh was mankind’s first full day. Our first act was to enjoy the rest and presence of God—true Sabbath.

Sin drove us from God’s presence, but once again God showed us His determination to bring us back into His presence. Right away, God promised to crush the head of the very thing that drove us from away from Him, even at a great price to Himself. Continue Reading…

5 Reasons the Church Needs Youth

Shane Stacey – December 9, 2015 3 Comments

ReachStudents Blog

Ministry to youth is an essential part of the missional focus of the church.

I’ve spent enough time in youth and pastoral ministry to experience the regular questions that surface in the mind of a leader: Am I making a difference? Is this—ministry to youth—worth it?

Often, we don’t see the full fruit of our investment until five or 10 years down the road. As I talk to youth workers, I find many wondering if they hitched their wagon to the wrong horse. They wonder if ministry to youth is the best place to invest their lives.

The questions are valid, but they usually show up in moments of weariness, criticism and discouragement.

First, let’s get perspective about both who we are ministering to and the time in history we are ministering to them. Generation Z—the bottom half of the Millennials—is the largest generation in history and the first generation in America to grow up in a completely post-Christian culture. During the last couple decades, tsunami-sized waves of cultural change crashed on the shores of our nation unlike anything we experienced. In a few short decades, these waves washed away some of the foundational moorings that existed since the inception of this country. The church finds itself in a new context. Therefore, ministry to Generation Z is different and more difficult than when I started in youth ministry more than 20 years ago.

Think about it. Today, children and youth face questions with which no generation before wrestled (e.g., Am I male or female?). I believe one of the most foolish and short-sighted things we can do in the church today is to view ministry to youth as a sub-ministry ministry or of secondary importance. I believe ministry to youth (and children) is not only important, but essential.  Continue Reading…