To Glorify Christ – Christ is the true head of the church and we seek to glorify Him and worship Him. (Jude 1:25)
To Reach the lost with the true gospel of Jesus by sharing our story of salvation and the story of Christ’s sacrifice. (Mark 8:35)
To Imitate Christ in every aspect of life and share with him in his sufferings. (Phil 3:10)
To Pursue a life of spiritual discipline and obedience to God’s written word. (Heb 12:8)

(Formerly Gateway International Student Ministries)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

7 deadly: LUST

The secret, dirty, unspeakable thing that we just don't want to talk about. Well, here it is...

Lust - uncontrollable desire, raging hormones and thoughts, dirty secrets, impure thoughts... there's a ton of common definitions about sex and lust.

What has the church taught you about sex?
Just say no.
Don't do it.
Wait until marriage.
It's dirty.
It's good.

Where have you learned the most about sex?

Media in general

Do you think the church should be involved in teaching about sex?
A little, but not really

Who knows the most about sex?

Based on these questions and the answers you gave listed here, what kind of view do people have about sex and sexuality?

Well, God teaches us about sex, sexuality, and lust. It's right there for our reading in the Bible. Period. We just don't look there for our views. All we do is say "don't". As a church, we have failed to TEACH you the proper means to deal with your sexuality. If we are to base our sexuality on what God says (since He created it, you know) then we as a church need to address it, you the student, your parents, and us as your church leaders. All that said, we want you to come to us with any questions. You can still count on us to be confidential, but you can count on us giving you a TRUE account of what's happening in you because we will never, ever base our counsel on the sinful view of sex. (Parents: this goes for you, too. Talk to us about your concerns! Your kids are bombarded every single day by tens of thousands of sexual images and messages - there are statistics, seriously. We have a lot of catching up to do!)

So here we go...

Lust is simply this - Satan's twist of God's love. Get it? God created love, Satan comes along and twists it. Love always gives. Lust always takes. Love is what causes us to make sacrifices, to see things as beautiful, to appreciate the things around us. Lust is just the opposite. Lust causes us to want to take away from others, to think you deserve what you want, to see people as objects, to think that others "owe" you certain actions.

The Bible says that our body is the temple of God. Christ dwells in us. If we would really recognize that we are walking temples, carrying with us the presence and image of God, then we might be able to combat this lust thing. But really remembering this concept takes a lot of practice. We have to meditate on this and really make it apart of us. If we don't think about this, and study it, and pray about it, and really seek God to help us, then we will be doomed to fail. Why? Because "don't have sex" and "don't lust" are just rules with no meaning. They are not a part of who we are.

Look at our culture, it's a one-night stand, let's hook up, I'm only dating 2 people and 9 others online...

It's crazy.

Ok, all of this "meditate on God" stuff sounds good, but what do I do when I'm faced with lust. Seriously. Every time I see ________ I have really bad thoughts. Every time I'm online, I just can't stay away from the temptations.

Unfortunately there's not easy answer. You have to make a choice to live your life as a sacrifice to God - in everything. If our thoughts about the opposite gender do not honor God, then they are sinful.

One of you asked how to know the difference between lust and love. If I'm married, and I just want sex with my wife, is that lust or love? Well, the easy answer is not easy. Although sex is OK in marriage, you can also lust in marriage. The question actually needs us to examine our heart. Are you (remember, you're married) looking at you wife as an object or as the person you love? That's the key. It's a matter of the heart. Now that's in a committed, marriage relationship. OK, what about in your non-married relationships. You can love and desire your boyfriend or girlfriend, but you have to be extra careful. You are not married. Sex is FOR marriage only. You can really spend a lot of time or effort dreaming about this. That's when you are sneaking right into the lust category. Do you see the difference?

Love seeks to develop a relationship that involves sacrifice and giving.
Lust seeks to get what you desire and sees the other person as your object of love.
You have to remind yourself that lust is Satan's perversion of God's love.

Lust is when we try to fill our need for love (relationship) with something physical (sex).

Did you know that the emptiness we are trying to fill with sexuality is often our lack of relationship with God. We are so desperate for REAL LOVE (which only can come from our creator) that we try anything to fill that empty spot. It usually starts with small compromises and then grows into huge, uncontrollable lust. You've seen people on the news convicted of really gross things. Do you think they wanted that a long time ago? Probably not. They made little decisions to get pleasure and they eventually couldn't stop. It's not a disease. It's a lack of something we see in scripture - SELF-CONTROL.

Jesus gave us a great example to deal with lust. Remember the woman caught in adultery? What did Jesus do?

1. He forgave her. Forgiveness is huge for us, as Christians. If we lust, we have to forgive ourselves, not hate ourselves. We have to seek God's forgiveness.
2. He gave her power. He told her to go and not sin anymore. That right there should be a great reminder that we have the ability to stop sinning. If you have a problem with lust, listen to Jesus. GO and sin NO MORE! WOW!

Here's a few ways to stop or prevent lust.
1. We determine to be free from lust with the help of Christ.
2. We keep our bodies holy, as a sacrifice to God. We respect our bodies and others.
3. We have to remember that sex is sacred and it is God's gift to us.

4. We constantly remind ourselves of these things by reading scripture, praying, leaving little notes in your purse/wallet, discussing it with a respected adult.

5. We get an accountability partner - someone of the same gender who will get in our business about our private habits.

6. What else can you think of as a help for you?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

7 deadly: GLUTTONY

Gluttony isn't so bad. You gotta eat, right?

Philippians 3: 19 talks about folks whose "god is their belly." Woah. Keep reading and he says "their glory is in their shame." That's a reference to sensuality - sex. What do you think about that? Right before this, in verse 18, he explains that these people are enemies of the cross. !!! Now, that sounds serious.

Is the sin of gluttony only referring to food, overeating? NO! We've got to look at this sin from the whole perspective. Gluttony is the sin of over-indulgence. Not just food, but other pleasures, too. You can look anywhere around the good ol' USA and see gluttony of all sorts. Americans are horribly obese. We have very high rates of deseases that are related to our poor eating habits. America has an extremely high level of personal bankrupcy. Our garages are so full we can't even park our car in there. Although Gluttony typically refers to consuming too much food or drink, it actually is consuming too much of anything.

Gluttony is the sin of TOO MUCH.

What do you have too much of?
What consumes most of your time?
Your thoughts?
Your money?

You see, what we consume (food, drink, drugs, money, tv, music, video games) can eventually consume us. Example: people used to eat so they could live, but now we live to eat. You get the difference? Remember, we're not just talking food.

Any time you do something to satisfy your desire for more, that's gluttony. Gluttony is the desire, the unquenchable thirst, for more. It you trying to feed your soul with food for the body. Get it? The soul needs spiritual food (God, Christ, scripture, etc.) but we try to fill our emptiness with food for the body (cake, huge sub snadwiches, super duper sized meals, gallon size drinks, etc.).

Another thing, gluttony is a distraction. It makes you focus on your wants rather than seeing the people all around you that are starving to death. Think about it. Not only do we miss people starving, we miss people that just need a buck or need some help buying clothes, we miss people who are homeless, people who are abused, people who really just don't know what to do to live.

Even Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. He hung out with sinners, drank wine, ate with people all the time. But the key is Jesus understood the difference between a feast and excessive eating. A feast is a celebration that brings people together in community. Excessive eating often happens in private or with just a few.

Getting rid of gluttony...
Simple - give up whatever you are over-endulging.

Eating too much? Fast, take your lunch to someone on the street.

Watching too much tv? Sell the tv and give the money to someone that needs to pay their electric bill.

Seriously. This is a great way to fast, not just food, but our cunsuming habits, too.

Buying lot's of clothes every month? STOP - buy someone clothes at the women's shelter.

Don't forget to read Matthew 11:19

And here's a bonus to remember - when you live with less, you have more. Less stuff to take care of, clean, replace, mess around with = more time to think, to reason, to seek God, to know Christ and more opportunity to change the people around you!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

7 deadly: GREED


The American Way.

Greed is the belief that everything belongs to you.
That you have a God-given right to whatever you want.
That you deserve the same things and accomplishments as someone else.

Greed is what causes us to make what we want (a new car, Wii, iPhone, popularity) and turn that want into a NEED. Do you NEED those things we just listed? NO!

Greed is what has caused us Christians to believe that the Christian life is "the good life", you know, easy street. Yeah. Right. Where is that in scripture? Do you know? I haven't found it yet. We've got Christians running around telling people that it's your God-given right to have riches. Yuck!

Of all the videos we viewed, the one on Kenneth Copeland's ministry brought the most comments. Why? We heard that "the news media was twisting things about Copeland because they are just attacking Christians." There was quite a bit of discussion on that.

Here's the question we left you to think about...

Why are we, as Christians, so quick to defend the actions of someone who calls themselves "Christian" without even considering that they may be in the wrong?

And one more...

Do you remember where the verses are that talk about Christians holding each other to a true standard? Can you find them? Do a little search in your Concordance for the word judge (remember to read the whole paragraph!) and read 1 Tomothy 4 & 1 Timothy 6:20-21.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

7 deadly: SLOTH

Sloth. What the heck is sloth? Isn't that some kind of animal with 3 toes?

Sloth can be defined as a couple of things - laziness, depression, slowness, procrastination, refusing to act or obey, the "I don't care" attitude... those are just a few. Some other ideas we discussed related to sloth - doubt, hopelessness, despair, suicide, God doesn't care, the suspicious feeling that Jesus was lying when He said "your sins are forgiven."

But what we need to think of when we hear the term "sloth" is death. Death of the soul. Death of our faith. That mind-numbing, couch potato state of existence where we don't feel, don't think, don't act. It means there is something terribly wrong on the inside!

Even in little doses, sloth can kill. You guys brought up the outbreaks of staph infection in American schools. Why is this happening? Because people are too lazy to wash their hands after they use the bathroom. Yuck! They are lazy and are giving you poo germs when they shake your hands because they couldn't take 30 seconds to wash their hands. 30 seconds of laziness causes massive outbreaks of nasty and very deadly disease all over the place.

A clue that sloth is knocking at your door:
Any time you think, "I should..." and you don't, that is sloth creeping in. Anything from getting out of bed, to helping your mom with the dishes, to giving that homeless guy $50. If you think, even for one second, that you should have done something, then you should have done it! If you don't, you are allowing sloth to enter into your heart and you risk death!

How do you prevent sloth? Easy, well, sort of... you practice the spiritual disciplines. The what? The spiritual disciplines. These things all by themselves are a sort of Christian busy work. But unlike your busy work at school, these activities keep your mind focused on the things of God and help to transform you into the character of Christ. What are they? I thought you would ask so I listed a few here:

Scripture Reading & Study
Scripture Meditation
Stewardship of Time and Money
Scripture Application
Silence & Solitude

A guy named Donald Whitney wrote a book & study guide/workbook on these disciplines. Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life is pictured above.
Check it out here: (scroll down a bit, the 4th & 5th books listed)
You can also get some cool resources he's made for his seminary classes here:

Remember one more important thing about sloth and what makes it so dangerous. Because we have decided not to be in the word or we have decided not to follow God, we often have doubt creep into our spiritual lives. We aren't renewing our mind like we should (with the BIBLE) so we forget that God is all knowing, all powerful, and truly in charge of everything around us. When we forget this we are tempted to look to the common "gospel" of our culture - the idea that we can command God to do whatever we want. (remember the true gospel = Christ on the cross NOT God gimme this or gimme that) We know in our head and in our heart that God is everything and Christ died so we could have access to God, but if we start to let sloth sneak in, we can doubt that God cares about us and may even doubt our salvation. That's crazy! I don't know about you, but I don't EVER want to doubt the sin-covering sacrifice that Jesus made for me and my horrible sins.

I know we talked about a whole lot of other things, but we just couldn't fit it in to this post.

Here's a link to the article I read about the atheist goal to destroy your faith. Remember the author, Dinesh D'Souza, is a former atheist and is quoting other atheists. (The Atheist Indoctrination Project)
I hope this kicks you into righteous anger that causes you to read scripture and learn to defend your faith.

Avoid Sloth with everything in you - your life depends on it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

7 deadly: ANGER

Ang-grrrr. Anger is violent. Ugly. Sinful. Well, what the heck do we do with our anger?

Jesus got angry. We know this from Matthew 21. But if anger is a sin and Jesus was sinless, why is our anger a sin but not his? Simply put, it depends on our anger. Why are we angry? Is it because someone did something to us or because we see injustice to others?

Jesus tore through the temple with what we call "righteous anger." He had a whip in his hand and kicked tail. He chucked the sermons for sale and the popular band Cd's right out the window. (Hmm. That makes you think, doesn't it?) He destroyed the merchandise tables and beat the people selling trinkets in the temple. He was angry, you think?

Righteous anger is natural. You see Jesus' anger when He saw the injustice against God in the temple. The merchants were making a mockery of God. They were selling the latest, greatest junk in the temple. Hopefully we get angry like this when we see bullying, abuse, cruelty, abortion, people twisting scripture, and many other things. Don't you think God gets angry about these sins? So we too can be angry about sin.

Sinful anger is also natural. We often get angry right away when someone hurts us or makes us feel small. This kind of anger is not focused on injustice. It is often a self-centered anger. I'm not saying you can't get angry if someone abuses you, that is injustice, sin, and you should be angry because God is angry about sin against you! What I'm saying is that our anger is sin when it isn't based on injustice. Keeping a grudge, constant annoyance with other people just walking around, freaking out when your little sister smacks her food at every single meal, self-loathing because you can't do something - these are all sinful anger!

We must deal with our anger, both kinds, the sinful anger and the righteous anger.

Here's how you start to deal:
1. Accept that you have chosen to be angry, no one made you angry.
2. Understand why you are angry, look for the real reason.
3. Express your anger in nondestructive, non-sinful ways.

Tackle any and all sinful anger head on:
1. Stop hanging on to it - look at it and decide to let go of it.
2. Stop making lists of reasons to be angry - that only keeps you angry.
3. Tell someone about it - let someone help you work through your anger.
4. Forgive - look at how Christ forgave you for your sins against God and use His example to forgive those that hurt you.

Start now...
Why have you been angry?
Was it righteous anger or sinful anger?
Do you need to talk it out?
Do you need to forgive someone involved?
Do you need to remember how Christ forgave you first so that you could forgive others?

Destroy your sinful anger before it destroys you!

Don't forget about your righteous anger. What do you do about that? Usually you ACT ON IT. When we are angry at injustice, that is our clue to act. Sometimes we need to confront it immediately, sometimes we need to get help. But remember to use the same steps above. Double check your motive, talk it out with someone you trust, and consider forgiveness. This is the anger that you don't let go. This is the anger that caused Jesus to ravage the merchants in the temple.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

7 deadly: ENVY

Is there a difference between jealousy and envy?

Your comments...

jealous - want what others have, personal between people, an action or speaking

envy - jealous with hatred, wanting others' stuff, the secret desire in your head

Hmm. Hard to tell the difference!

Envy is the secret sin that makes us sad. It's secret because no one will know unless you act on it or talk about it. It's the sin that makes us sad because we can't just be thankful for what we already have. Envy makes us always want more!

So we looked at the parable of the vineyard workers in Matthew 20 and we see that the guys all got the same reward. The same payment. How does that compare with our salvation in Christ? You guys said it looks like whether we are born again for 50 years or just a few days, we all have the same reward. That is cool! That is some kind of grace! God has the same reward for newbies as for the experts. There's no toiling away trying to "get it right" or saving up credits of good deeds. We just get the prize.

Sooooo, when we look back at the envy the vineyard workers had, we can see some similarities in us as we live each day. We want the talent of some other guy, or the looks of some other girl. We start getting all caught up in wishing we were something that God didn't create. We are saying to God, "You made a mistake!" Yeah, right, God making a mistake!

Here's the video we watched of Dave Busby. Have another look. I hope you will remember him for a long time. I hope you will remember his message until the day you die.

"God doesn't make a mistakes. I have these diseases and God didn't make a mistake. I have been healed of the need to be healed. Even if I die the most painful death, sucking air through a straw, it wouldn't change the goodness and greatness of God, not even one molecule."

Please remember, envy says God makes mistakes. Get rid of it, avoid it. Stomp it out in your daily life and replace it with gratitude for what God has given you! Replace envy by remembering that Jesus died for our sin of envy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

7 deadly: PRIDE

Is pride a "Christian sin"?

It is, not only because Christians are regularly guilty of this sin, but because we would not even know that pride is a sin without the example of daily living from Jesus.

Pride used to be a sin. But sometime in the past, Pride took a trip to rehab, perhaps with Brittany, and all of the sudden, Pride is now a virtue. We are taught to have pride and display our pride. We are taught today that pride is attractive.

Here are some of your thoughts...
pride is good - if it's in your family, yourself, in God, in your work ethic, etc.
pride is not good only if it gets to be too much.

self-worth kind of pride is ok
arrogance kind of pride is bad

What we forget is that we are overlooking the sin of pride (arrogance, vanity, egotism) because we now mask it as self-respect, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Woah. You mean that having self-confidence is a sin? Yep. Could be. Jesus said we should love our neighbor as ourselves. If we are putting ourselves above or before others, then we commit sin. Yikes!

The reason our silly pride is such a big sin is because it is the first step to idolatry, that is, making something else more important than God, more important than the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That's how bad pride is. When we have pride, we are thinking too highly of whatever we have pride in and not highly enough of our Creator.

We really can't think of anything wrong with healthy pride, we gave a lot of examples tonight. But Jesus was against it. Period. We look at Jesus in the desert and see that pride could have been an easy sin for Jesus to commit. But this wasn't just a silly thing that Jesus was going to let be a quick fix for food and water, Jesus was being challenged by Satan to act all-powerful like God is supposed to do. But what did Jesus do? He remained humble. He, the all-powerful one that could do anything in his own strength dicided to remain humble and NOT show his power.

Satan told us in the begining that we could disobey God and we would be like God (pride), he again asked Jesus to make bread for himself to show that he was God (pride). Hmm. It's begining to look like pride is a good start for a ton of sins.

OK, so here's the part that's going to get you thinking or mad or whatever. We have this idea that we should have self-love, or self-esteem. But when we have self-love, we are denying God of the love that is only for him. We were created to love God. We were created to love the Creator. We the created being are to love the uncreated God. Our pride denies God and lifts up ourself.

How to avoid pride...
Remember you are not God and all that you do should uplift God, not yourself.
In other words, there is a God, and you're not Him.
That is, do things for God, not to be noticed. (dress in a way pleasing to God, not a way pleasing to your friend. serve the homeless for God, not because someone said you were great for serving the homeless.)

Remember this - pride is self-deception - it is lying about our real situation. We sometimes use pride to cover up our own insecurity.

And finally, my own take on pride...
What do we really have to take pride in? When we compare it to Christ's sacrifice on the cross, what can possibly compare? We should seek after being nothing. Not the greatest whatever, but nothing. Because in our nothing, God is made great. ONLY in our being nothing can God really receive the total honor that He deserves.

Fast your pride. Rather than thinking highly of yourself, think highly of God and of others first.

Prisde is when you think what you have to say is more important that what is being said.
Pride is when you think your idea is more important that another's idea.
Pride is when you won't listen - not only to others, but most inportantly to God's word.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The forbidden fruit.

I am at war. I am aggressively searching out ways to defeat my enemy. I am ruthless in my assault. I am asking you to join me.

What am I fighting? Sin. Sin in my own life. Sin in the lives of those around me that I love. Sin all around me. I am fighting it all! I am sick of an apathetic approach to tolerating pet sins that have been around for years. I want them gone and I want it now.

What has created this fierce and zealous destruction mentality? Fear. I am afraid of what will happen if Idont pursue holiness.

I am waging my own war on several fronts. Within the boundaries of my own life I have released the powerful warrior of Truth. I am studying Scripture to uncover patterns of temptation and promises of righteousness and I am prayerfully applying these beacons of truth to my darkest areas. Externally, I have invited allies to join me in my assault. I have humbly and openly shared my vulnerabilities with a trusted few who stand watch over my life. I hold nothing from them. They can ask me anything and I am committed to honestly answer them even if the light is cast on rotting garbage.

The third division of my army works internally and externally, like a spy. It is prayer, my secret weapon. I am praying and have others praying for my victory. I know that prayer is powerful, but its force will most clearly be seen at the end of the way.

Adapted from a letter by Julie Norton White,


Well, here it is. Our favorite subject. Sin. Well, not quite our favorite subject to talk about, but our favorite thing to do!

I have come to a very sad realization. The church has forgot about sin. We do not address it. We do not speak against it. Instead, we accept it. We hide it. We live with it. We dress it up like a pet and carry it around with us everywhere we go. As adults, we say, "silly little teenagers, they just don't know better" and we laugh at sin. But you, as the teen, wake up as an adult one day with a "cute little sin" that has turned into a raging addiction that controls your every thought.

This can not be!

Someone asked why the 7 deadly sins are "deadly". These 7 sins don't actually cause death. They are called deadly because the are the mother of all other sins. Out of these 7 sins come the terrifying sins that horror movies are made of. These 7 sins birth, produce all sorts of vile, evil, and disgusting acts. These 7 sins destroy lives, rip apart families, and completely sever our communion with God.

How do I stop sin?
1. Stop putting others down for their sin.
2. Read the word of God!
3. Identify your own sin.
4. Name it.
5. Admit to it.
6. Turn away from it with your mind, your heart, your speech, your eyes, your actions, your everything! (Dude, that's the definition for repent.)

Fasting social networking for 40 days. That means Myspace, Facebook, IM, TXT, email, and SMS. Ooh. Now that we've thought about all the ways we "network" we aren't so sure we can to this.

Confession for 40 days. Pick a parent and confess to that parent your sins on a daily basis. Practice confessing. Watch your behavior change and your parents heart change towards you. (And don't worry, we'll be letting the parents know about this challenge on Sunday morning.)

Fast all entertainment that is not God-exalting for 40 days. Wow. All entertainment? Yep. All of it. TV, music, movies, video games, sporting events, shopping, eating out. Whoa! That's every stinkin' thing I do! But you need to go back to the challenge - all that is *not God exalting* means anything that god doesnt get glory. Change up your music to be Christian music, find websites that help you grow in your faith and knowledge of Christ (like the ones listed to the right).

I know these sound tough, and they are! They are tough because sin is serious and we have to kill it, eliminate it from our daily actions. This is more than a little struggle, an all out war and we have to prepare for the battle!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Are you ready to be honest with God?

OK, this is serious. We walk around in America acting like we all believe in God. The survey we saw said 90% of Americans believe in God and 80% of Americans say they are Christians. WHAT?! Ok, so why then is this country so filled with SIN? Why is it that people can walk around in America and NOT HEAR THE NAME OF JESUS ALL AROUND US?! Well?

The answer:


Oh, yeah. We are all guilty of pretending, just like Ananias & Sapphirra did in Acts 5. They did really get the God thing so they said, "I don't really want to change my life, so I'll just pretend." How often do we do that?

Well, it a serious sin. Ananias & Sapphirra were lying to God. They were pretenders. One life on the outside, one life on the inside. What happened to them? God struck them dead. DEAD. All for lying. What would we do if we would have the same punishment for lying? The same punishment for pretending?

Guys we are all out there pretending in this life. Pretending that we are followers of Christ. Like we are different from the world. WE ALL HAVE DONE IT. But guess what. YOU DON'T HAVE TO PRETEND. For real. We'll come back to that in a bit. Let's look at a few other things...

1. Fake Christianity does NOT save your soul. It does not change the hearts of sinful people. The only thing that will save you is Christ. When we pretend, we substitute other junk for Christ. On ony Sunday morning you'll here some guy on TV talking all about money, money and more money. You can watch this guy for a month of shows and that's the whole message - money. Guess what. Money is not the gospel. Prosperity is not what changes you from the inside. Christ does. Only Christ. No one or no thing can completely change your thinking, your actions, and even your desires! Only CHRIST!! Jesus is the gospel and the gospel is what changes people. That's why Jesus told us to preach the gospel! Did Jesus say preach about money? Healing? Music? NO!!! He said preach the gospel. Dude, all that means is to tell people about your life in Jesus!!!! Tell people that you believe in Jesus' death on the cross for your sins. ONLY THEN will people change.

2. Fake Christianity does NOT make you holy. It does not cause you to turn away from your sins. The only thing that will make you holy is Jesus. (detect a theme?) You see, if we really had an encounter, an experience with Christ, then we would be totally different in out thinking, in our actions, and in our speaking. If we were really surrendered to God our lives would be so different from the sinful people around us that we would be constatnly drawing others to us. If we were actually like Christ, we wouldn't be ABLE to stay the same old person we've always been. We wouldn't lust after our cell phone, internet, tv, and backstab our friends. Instead, we would love Jesus and want to tell others about him. We would be reading the Bible at every chance. We would stop listening and watching the evil music, movies, and tv shows. We would hate sin and never want to do it. We would stop talking about our friends like they were trash. We would CHANGE!!!! Real Christianity causes CHANGE. We would clean up the things around us and want others to be clean, too!

Ok, so what the heck. What's the point?

Here it is...

If you have two lives (church life & real life, inside & outside) you are slowly killing yourself. Your soul is dying because you know what is true and you do something different. We can't do this! Jesus didn't die for you to just miss it and spend eternity in hell. He died for you to be saved from your sin.

Your next step is easy, but the folliwing life is hard.
1. Ask God to forgive you and belive that Christ died for you and all your sins - even your fake, lying Christianity.
2. STOP LYING TO GOD. That's the hard part. You have to do this every day for the rest of your life. He'll forgive you if you do, but we still have to do it.

Here's the prayer we prayed (it's from the book Real Followers):

My Prayer to God

God, please search my heart. Lord, I want to be honest. I pretend a lot, wanting to be safe, to fit in, to be accepted, and to be liked. I confess that I have wanted to preserve my image at the cost of whole-heartedly following you. I have remained silent in the presence of lies out of fear of rejection.

I confess that many of my actions are motivated by trying to live up to the expectations of others or by my own stubborn determination to build a life without you.

I don’t want virtual Christianity – existing in effect but not in fact. I come now to ask you to fill the voids in my life with the spirit of Jesus, so that I can worship and live in spirit and in truth. When people see me, I’d like them to know that I’ve been with Jesus.

Please hear this prayer as the expression of my heart. Father, separate me from the pretender who’s deep down inside. Amen.

We love you.
Jonathan & Kara

Friday, September 21, 2007

Cell Phone vs. The Bible

I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phones? What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it? What if we flipped through it several times a day? What if we used it to receive messages from the text? What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it? What if we used it as we traveled? What if we used it in case of an emergency? What if we upgraded it to get the latest version?

This is something to make you go...hmmm...where is my Bible?

Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we dont ever have to worry about our bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Real Followers?

So what do think about all this real follower business? Do you think we need to shape up? Do you think we're doing things just fine as followers of Christ?

Can people tell the difference in you? Do they really KNOW that you are a Christian without you saying it?

Tonight we talked about taking a dive into the life Jesus has to offer. We just can't have it the way the world says and the way Jesus says. We just can't do life both ways - like the sinful world one day and like a holy disciple the next. What the heck?

Following Jesus takes a radical change in our life. We have to have change in the way we act, the way we talk, the way we think, the way we do EVERYTHING! Jesus didn't water it down like we do today. We say "being Christian is easy, just accept Jesus" but Jesus said "give it all up or you can't be my follower!" Woah! GIVE IT ALL UP! But here's the cool thing. When we give up our natural behaviors for a life with Jesus, He is going to change us from the inside. Soon, if we really commit ourselves to Him, we will no longer WANT all the junk the world has for us. Seriously!

But here's another thing - we can't just wait around until "we feel like it" or until the cows come home. Following Jesus requires us to do it - RIGHT NOW! Yeah, that's right. Christ is calling us, NOW. We have to answer, NOW. Following Christ, acting like Jesus, being a new person - none of these is easy or even convenient. But we have to answer! Changing what we watch on tv and listen to on the radio is not something we really WANT to do. If we keep doing it then our Christianity is fake. Oops. I said it. That's right. You can NOT worship God in one second (at church) then listen to filth on the radio the next second (on your way home from church)! If you are not totally disgusted by the bad stuff around you, then you need to examine your heart!

So let's have a look inside this week. Seek God. Ask yourself if you are changed, totally radically turned up-side-down for Jesus. JUMP!!!!

Once you dive into a life with Jesus, you can't help but be changed. Don't think your change brings you close to God. That's not the way it works. Know that being close to God is what makes you change.

Say NO to - I change then God loves me.
Say YES to - God loves me then I change.

You see, an encounter with God is what makes you change. You can't do it! Whew! So get going, start seeking God and He will totally change you!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Think for yourself...

So, Wednesday night was awewome! We had all kinds of discussion going on about everything from tattoos to predestination. Where does that ever happen? It seemed like you were all excited about what what your peers were bringing into the conversations. So we have some questions...

  1. Were you challenged in your current thinking?
  2. Based on the many views that other students presented, do you think it is important to read the Bible?
  3. Why?
  4. Were you challenged to love other Christians even if they are at a different church?
  5. What did you think about the statements in your student notes page?
  6. What was the most important NEW thing you learned?

Get some answers in here quick!

Poll: Faith, Family Make Youth Happy

Article Date: Aug 31, 2007

Poll: Faith, Family Make Youth Happy

A newly-released survey by The Associated Press and MTV suggests religion and family are the top two factors in the happiness of U.S. 13 to 24 year-olds. Lisa Pearce, investigator for the National Study of Youth and Religion, told AP, "It's easier for kids who are happy and have things going well in their life to find the time and energy to participate in religion."

The survey asked more than 100 questions of 1,280 people aged 13-24. It found 80 percent of those who call religion or spirituality the most important thing in their lives say they are happy, compared to 60 percent who say faith isn't important to them, Ecumenical News International reported.

Forty-four percent said religion and spirituality is very important, 21 percent responded somewhat important, 20 percent said it plays a small part in their lives and 14 percent said it plays no role. Pearce, assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, said "It could be kids who have bad experiences in church end up leaving and being unhappy with religion."

When it comes to spirituality, 68 percent percent agreed with the statement, "I follow my own religious and spiritual beliefs, but I think that other religious beliefs could be true as well." Thirty-one percent responded, "I strongly believe that my religious beliefs are true and universal, and that other religious beliefs are not right."

Spending time with family was the top answer to the question, "What brings you happiness?" followed by spending time with friends, then with another person.

Check CR Online for the original story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

a new, fairly extensive survey of teenagers reports that the top factor in teen happiness, rated by the teenagers themselves, is time with family. amazing.

a couple quotes from the article (the whole thing is worth reading):

Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey — more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 — conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.


Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.

Me-ology or Theology?

For You, LORD, are good, and ready to forgive,
and abundant in loving-kindness to all who call upon You.
Psalm 86:5

"God is good all the time... and all the time, God is good." That is a popular little phrase that is quoted often in Christian circles. I really like that phrase... but here is the burning question: Do you and I really believe it? Is God really good all the time?


When Paul and Silas preached the gospel in Philippi, a riot broke out (see Acts 16). Paul and Silas were deemed troublemakers, beaten repeatedly with rods and thrown into prison. The jailer threw them in the innermost part of the prison and put their feet in the stocks.

Paul and Silas were bloodied, bruised, hurting and incarcerated. Why were they there... for doing wrong? No!! They were there for doing right and obeying God's call. Yet this is the bad circumstance that befell them as a result of their obedience. Hmmm... do we need to rethink that phrase, "God is good all the time?"


One of the big problems you and I face each day is the problem of inconsistency. The Bible tells us great and wonderful things about God and His care and concern for us, yet when we review the circumstances of our own lives, we can easily start to question the truth of God's word:

"God, if you really are good, if you really care about me, then why did my loved one die?"

"God, if you really are good, if you really care about me, then why am I so lonely?"

"God if you really are good, if you really care about me, then why is my marriage so bad?"

"God if you really are good, if you really care about me, then why am I suffering so much... why is my life in the toilet?"

"God, if you really are good, if you really care about me, then why did this bad thing happen and that bad thing happen to me? What gives, God?"

Me-ology views the truth of God through our own personal circumstances. If you and I allow me-ology to determine our theology, God will not seem to be good all the time, nor will He seem to be a God who loves us with an everlasting love and has a wonderful plan for our lives.


Jesus said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"
(John 8:32).
What is the truth? Regardless of what may be going on in our lives, God is good all the time, and He has a good plan for you and me. His word is true and His promises are rock solid. He cares for us... so much that Jesus died a brutal and excruciating death on the cross... just for you and me!!!


What did Paul and Silas do in their bad circumstances? Gripe... complain... quit? NO!!! They prayed and sang hymns of praise. They trusted the good heart of God EVEN in their bad circumstances. And God heard their prayers... and sent an earthquake that opened the prison doors... and the jailer and his entire family ended up receiving Christ as Savior and Lord. WOW!! What a miracle by the hand of a good God.

My friend, no matter what you may be facing today... no matter what has happened in your past, do not allow your me-ology to determine and derail your theology. God works in ways you and I cannot understand. He allows hardships to befall us... not because He does not care, but because He has a higher plan and purpose. You can trust God in any and every situation. He really is good all the time... and He really does care for you!


Jeff Schreve

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
John 17:20-23

It's tough being a Christian student today. We're forced to make a lot of choices about who we are, and who we're not. We're supposed to be deciding on our future, when the present is hard enough to deal with.

We have a lot of dividing lines drawn for us. They're invisible, but we see them clearly every day. The grade we're in, the kind of grades we make, overachievers, underachievers, geniuses, slackers. The groups we hang with--jocks, preps, goths, sk8rs, gamers, or geeks. As a Christian, the church we attend, how we pray, the way we worship, and how we interpret the Bible. And yeah, even in 2007 race can still divide. Many of us are asking, "Where do I belong? Who cares about me? Why don't I fit in?"

See You at the Pole™ isn't about groups, grades, clothes, or churches. It's about praying. It's about all of us coming together and laying aside all the labels for one day, simply to call out to God, just as Jesus did in John 17 and say, "Lord, may we be one in you--whether jocks, preps, geeks, Pentecostals, Baptists, Catholics, freshmen, or seniors--may the world believe that You are real and have sent us to touch other through you, regardless of the dividing lines drawn by a broken world!"

So are you in? Are you ready whatever group you're in, to join us in the circle?

Join your generation of faith on Wednesday, September 26, at 7 a.m., GATHER at your school flagpole, UNITE in the name of the One Who died to save you, and PRAY for your school, friends, and families. COME TOGETHER, just as Jesus prayed we would.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Hauntening

Bwah ha ha ha.

more teens leave church after high school than we thought

usa today reports a new survey by lifeway that shows the number of young adults leaving protestant churches after high school is even more dramatic than we’d previously heard. i’d always thought the percentage was about 50. but this survey shows it’s more than 2/3, at 70%.

most didn’t plan on leaving, when they were in high school:

In most cases, the decision to leave was not planned far in advance. Only 20 percent of these “church dropouts” agree that while they were attending church regularly in high school they “planned on taking a break from church once [they] finished high school.”

here’s why they say they left:

• Wanted a break from church: 27%
• Found church members judgmental or hypocritical: 26%
• Moved to college: 25%
• Tied up with work: 23%
• Moved too far away from home church: 22%
• Too busy: 22%
• Felt disconnected to people at church: 20%
• Disagreed with church’s stance on political/social issues: 18%
• Spent more time with friends outside church: 17%
• Only went before to please others: 17%

and, just as telling for those of us hoping to rethink youth ministry, are the reasons given by the 30% who didn’t leave, as to why they kept attending church:

• It’s vital to my relationship with God: 65%
• It helps guide my decision in everyday life: 58%
• It helps me become a better person: 50%
• I am following a family member’s example: 43%
• Church activities were a big part of my life: 35%
• It helps in getting through a difficult time: 30%
• I fear living without spiritual guidance: 24%

original post/comments by Marko

Monday, July 30, 2007

Back to School BASH!

Hey, folks! There are 40 people going to the Braves' Game!!

We'll have info to pass out on Wednesday with all the details. I'll post it here, too.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back to School Bash!

Back to School Bash!
August 4 (Saturday Night)

Doors open at 5:00 pm
Lockin until Sunday Morning
Hey, dude. You'll be already for church!

$20 early bird special until Wed. July 25
$25 from Jul 26 thru Aug 1
Sorry, no additions after August 1

The night features...
Disco Night at the Braves' Game
Ticket for Braves' vs. CO Rockies (Woohoo!)
Ticket for Post-Game Concert by Mercy Me
Late Night Hoopla at the Chruch...
Games, movies, I heard something about Guitar Hero 80's,
snacks, light breakfast before church, and a few surprises.

Invite your friends!
But remember, you have to have your
cash or check when you sign up!

We need drivers to and from the game.
Depart at 5:30 pm on Sat, return after concert.
You don't have to sleep at the church with us!
We will pay for your parking pass ($10),
You pay for your tickets ($20).

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Important info on our other blog...

Hey, Parents.

I've posted an article & response to an exciting development in the Christian world...

Charlene E. Cothran, a major leader and activist in the homosexual community has been redeemed and has renounced her previously homosexual lifestyle for a life promoting Christ. I’m talking really promoting Christ, not the popular “God thinks homosexuality is OK” stuff either! She has now switched a leading magazine for the gay community into a publication that assists people in finding Christ! She did a cover article of her testimony including 10 ways out of the gay lifestyle.

Please put this matter, and Charlene, on your weekly or daily prayer list. She is already under attack! This is something I’ve been praying for over 15 years.

Pop over to the Jonathan & Kara blog if you're interested in having a look. (Don’t forget to scroll down to the resource area. There are links for Parents & for those seeking a way out of the lifestyle.)


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Christian Critics Praise 'Evan Almighty'

Christian Critics Praise 'Evan Almighty'
By CR Staff

link to story on The Christian Report Online

(CR) – With the debut of “Evan Almighty” as the number one movie over the weekend, Christian critics have high praise for this sequel to “Bruce Almighty.” According to Nikki Rocco, head of distribution at Universal, unlike its predecessor, “Evan Almighty” was aimed at a family crowd, which could give the film a longer shelf life.

“Family films have an incredible ability to just play and play,” Rocco said. “I’m very optimistic about it playing out over the course of the summer.” The Christian critics tend to agree to a point.

The film presents timeless Biblical themes in an updated and humorous way that is satisfying to Christian and Jewish viewers, according to Christian reviewers. “Evan Almighty” gives faith a prominent place, although inside jokes and attempts to bring Genesis to life may be lost on audiences without a Christian or Jewish background.

Craig Detweiler, director of Reel Spirituality, an institute at Fuller Seminary that explores faith and film, said “Evan Almighty” presents the biblical story in a way relevant to today’s believers.

“Evan eventually has to learn to tune his ear to God’s frequency, despite the public … jeers that may accompany it,” Detweiler said. “That’s a timely story for people in their workplaces, for students in their school, for … moms on the soccer fields.”

Marti Steussy, professor of biblical interpretation at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, said of the movie, “I think of biblical stories as vines that grow through time. They have roots, and this vine has roots … deep down in the history of the ancient Near East. It continues to grow and get retold … and obviously, somebody now is still finding it a story worth retelling.”

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sunday Night Bowling - All Summer!

Hey, folks. We will be bowling every Sunday night during the summer, possibly longer. Here are the details...

Every Sunday Night

8 pm - 1 am (Come at 8, stay as long as you like.)
Bowling at Brunswick
Cosmic bowling & Christian music
2749 Delk Rd SE Marietta, GA 30067-6204 Site link
$5 door fee ($2 goes back to Gateway Student Ministry!)
$1 per game
$1 shoes
($10 gets you 4 games & shoes, plus you help us raise some moolah!)

Jesus Painting

Give this a view. It's a bit long, but worth the time. Wow.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Example Support Letter

Hey guys. Copy & paste this post into a Word document. Edit the bracketed areas for personal info. Send out ASAP!!!! Send to your family, neighbors, friends, etc. You can get this done!!!!

Example Support Letter

Dear [Recipient]: [date]

I hope this letter finds you well! I’m writing to share with you an exciting opportunity that I will be participating in a few weeks and to ask you to consider being a part of it through prayer and financial support.

My youth group and I are going to St. Simon’s Island on a 5-day youth camp. We are joining two other Atlanta area churches. During the camp, we will have the opportunity to hear from speakers and musicians that will teach and challenge us in developing a Christian worldview. We will take part in family groups and discussion panels to deepen our relationships with others and with God.

I would like to invite you to be a part of what God has called me to do. Would you prayerfully consider supporting me for this summer camp? I need to raise [total amount] by [date] in order to go. I would consider it a privilege to have you on my team for this exciting opportunity, and I believe the Lord will bless us both through this experience. I also need your prayer support leading up to and throughout my mission trip. Either or both means of support would be appreciated!

I will phone you in a week or two to answer any questions you may have and hear of your decision.

Thank you for your time and consideration. It would be great to have you partner with me in working towards growing my knowledge and faith in Jesus Christ.



[*Add handwritten personal note, phrase, quote, or favorite scripture here]

Good to be back.

It's good to be back. We missed you all. Alaska was fantastic. We'll have pics posted eventually. Keep an eye out for that. We brought back some surprises to give away in the near future. Everyone give a big "Thanks!" to Jackie & Nicole for leading things while we were gone.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pray with us - May '07

Thank you for your commitment to praying for our youth! We are so glad you could visit our site. Please click on the comments link below to post your prayers. I know they would love to see how you are praying for them!

J & K

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Totally random

Totally random, buy a slice of pi! Yeah, the number, aka 3.14...
Check it out at

This idea from TimSchmoyer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Home Hurts

Abuse, fighting, home alone, never talking, too much responsibility, no self worth, fear of growing up, can't make mistakes, disconnected, just want to get away...

Sometimes our homes do hurt us. We learned some coping skills tonight that we can use and hopefully share with our friends when they have hurts at home. What do you think about tonight's message? What are you taking away from it? What are some things, or just one thing, that you are going to change or put into practice starting now?

Remember our scripture tonight:
2 Cor 5:17 As Christians we are new creatures, no longer stuck in sin or our old ways.
Rom 8:16 We are God's children.
Rom 8: 18 Our suffering doesn't even comparing to our future glory with God.
James 1:2-4 Our struggles develop perseverance (makes you stronger), so have joy!


Having joy in tough times is hard. No body is saying it's not. But we can lean on God, pray, talk things out, and stay away from being sucked into being a victim. It's tough, but we can walk above our hurts (Remember that hidden middle?). We still have them, but we can deal with them. Right? YOU BET!

Keep these steps in mind:
Ask for help. Before you need help, know who to ask!
Communicate. Talk (don't yell) to help clear up any misunderstandings! Always pray first and journal if needed.
Remember - even if things don't change, you are loved by God and he will take care of you.

No matter how much your home or life can hurt you, know that God is bigger than the hurts. If we talk about our hurts, our troubles, our questions in life, we can move through them. God is waiting to hear from you. Yeah, he knows what's going on, but trust me, he wants to hear from you. And you need to talk to him. Write it down, draw it out, sing it, yell it. Whatever it takes, just get face to face with God and pour out your pain to him (and don't forget the joys!).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

CASH for camp ideas from

These ideas are for a mission trip, but you can apply them to camp and other events. You can also check this out (and a TON of other info) at the website for GO!students.

I want to go on a mission trip this summer, but I don’t have the money and my parents can’t afford to send me either. How can I come up with the money?
—Flat Broke

It’s great that you want to go on a trip this summer! And don’t be discouraged, money is not an obstacle for God. If He wants you there, the money will come through. We’ve listed some sources below to go to for money, as well as some ideas for funding your trip. Keep in mind that even if you don’t end up going on the trip, you can be part of God’s mission wherever you are this summer. You can share Christ at a summer job, as a camp counselor, or by volunteering at a local ministry.

It’s unlikely that all the money for your trip will come from one source, so you might want to divide it up. One good way to look at it is that 1/3 would come from your church, 1/3 from family and friends, and 1/3 from money you earn. With that in mind, here are some ideas for coming up with the money—both the kind you are given and the kind you earn:

— Send an e-mail or letter to family and friends explaining what you are planning and asking them to support you in prayer and financially.

— Create a Web site with pictures and descriptions of what you want to do, and invite friends and family to visit it and consider supporting your trip.

— Ask your youth pastor and/or someone involved in missions at your church if there is money available for individual trips.

— Call or write letters to organizations in town that have a purpose similar to that of your trip. Ask if they’d be willing to sponsor you in some way, or if they would provide a scholarship or matching funds from other donations.

— Ask your friends and relatives for money to go toward your trip in place of birthday and Christmas gifts.

— Contact newspapers and magazines and see if they’ll sponsor your trip in exchange for a story about it when you return.

— Do any work that people are willing to pay you for: Mow yards, baby-sit, walk the neighbor’s dog, do some filing or answer the phones at a family member’s office, shovel snow, clean windows, or any crazy thing you can think of . (RENT-A-YOUTH!!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Name That Room Contest

We're going to need a name for our room. Something like the cellar, the pit, the back room. Post your ideas. We'll be gathering them for a few weeks.

Summer Camp 2007

Y'all don't forget to get signed up for camp. It is going to be awesome! We are teaming up with 2 other Atlanta area churches. DO NOT LET THE COST OF CAMP KEEP YOU FROM GOING! Just talk to us. We have ways to get you paid! If not working it out through Rent-A-Youth or our mega fund raiser, then we'll do what we can to help get a scholarship. But you have to tell us!!!

Check out the awesome rec facilities and the super clean cabins.

We are so pumped about this camp. Did we mention we were invited to go? Oh, yeah. I know you guys will have a blast. This is where I went, back in the day - and we're going with my old youth pastor - Skeeter. Well, he's not that old! We've already been planning things out, and I can't wait to go.

Think. Be. Live.

Hey. We would love to hear what you guys have to say about the message tonight. Post here so we can get some dialog going.

Additional bookmarks will be ready Sunday morning. We'll try to keep them stocked in the youth room so you can share with your friends.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Greetings & Salutations!

Welcome to the great blog-o-sphere for your very own voice in Gateway Student Ministries. Make sure you click on the ads at the bottom of the website as often as possible. We may be able to earn some money just by getting folks to click the ads shown. No need to buy or anything, just click.

We hope you enjoy.

J & K
(Jonathan & Kara)