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)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Let No One Despise You for Your Youth

Here's a little thought for you parents out there (but youth keep reading!). Discuss it with your teens! It's my favorite topic of conversation with teens and parents - the difference between parenting as a rule enforcer versus parenting through living out the gospel. Same for the teen side of life - living by following a bunch of rules versus living out of our desire to please God.
We did a series early on at Gateway called Think. Be. Live. It was a counter view to the old adage Know. Be. Do. which was used by the military and a few advertisements. Our take was something like this...
It's better to THINK about the rules we follow (what you believe about them) rather than just KNOW the rules. If we really take the time to do this, the rules and our devotion or decisions about the rules can actually become a part of who we are, a part of our BEing. Now, since we have done the brain-work, we will be more likely to LIVE out the desired virtue rather than just having a list of DOs and don'ts.

Some examples:

No sex before marriage. THINKing about why this is important is much more valuable than just KNOWing about the rule. Countless numbers of Christian teens and adults are breaking this rule everyday. Why? Because it's really not a part of who they are, it's just a rule. In the "heat of the moment" the brain is NOT functioning at normal operating capacity! If this rule is just something they follow out of fear or obligation rather than something that's really a part of who they are, they will fail.

Not drinking. Same thing here. Statistics in both examples show that the drinking (and sexual activity) rates among Christian and non-Christian teens and young adults are essentially the same. Why? This ideal is not something that we are teaching kids to think about, we've just told them to follow the rule. But peer pressure is much stronger than that!

By the way - that thinking part is where the gospel comes in... the gospel is the true changing force in a Christian's life. If you don't understand the gospel, the sacrifice of Christ for your sins, can you really seek to honor God in your daily living?

Let No One Despise You for Your Youth
April 21, 2008 | By: David Mathis
Category: DG Resources

This week's sermon: "Let No One Despise You for Your Youth: A Vision for the Next Generation"

The Ten Commandments are not central in Christian parenting. The gospel is.
The gospel is the rule and power by which we teach our children to live. The gospel is the culminating word of God that can break in on our children, who are born in sin, and by the power of the Holy Spirit bring about the new birth and forgiveness of sins and strength in suffering and biblical maturity.

Successful parenting is more than compliant kids. It is gospel-saturated living and teaching—a gospel is not just something that begins the Christian life but empowers it and shapes and sustains it.

Changed and sustained by the gospel, our children can rebel against the low expectations of adolescence and "do hard things" in a way that magnifies Jesus.

Original article page link.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Free Book - Don't Waste Your Life

"Don't Waste Your Life" is an excellent book that you can get for FREE on the Desiring God website. I highly recommend reading this one before getting out of high school. It will really help prepare you and get you focused on living for God and honoring him. It is especially great to read before planning for your future career and/or school choices. An awesome book!!

Don't Waste Your Life also has a
+ website
+ blog
+ YouTube channel
+ Podcast
+ Facebook group (you'll need to be signed in to view this one)

By John Piper May 1, 2003

God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work, not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.

Download this book (PDF). [Click the link then click Download.]

Additional Resources

Don't Waste Your Life Study Guide (PDF) is available at the same link.


© Desiring God

Permissions: Online books are for personal use only. For web posting, please link to this page on our website. Any exceptions must be approved by Desiring God.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good Doctrine Makes Better (Teenage) Saints

Here's a great article by our favorite pastor and teacher. Make all the comments & questions you'd like.

It's really important that you guys are getting deep into the Bible every day! Here's a bit of info to back that up and encourage you along the way. Keep up your daily quiet time - it really is the main thing that made me grow so much as a teen. Without the knowledge of what's there, you can't truly know the God you serve or the Christ who saves!!


By John Piper August 15, 2007

Here it is again. More evidence from surveys what the Bible makes so plain: superficial, non-doctrinal, non-serious Christians sin pretty much like the world; but more serious, more doctrinally oriented Christians lead lives that are morally distinct. Two years ago Ron Sider flagged this in his book The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World?

Now a new book by Mark Regnerus called Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers gives the same bleak picture of so-called “evangelical teenagers” who sleep around as much as unbelievers. But again the book points out that “the 16% of American teenagers who say that their faith is ‘extremely important to their lives’ are living chastely” (Gene Veith, “Sex and the Evangelical Teen,” World, August 11, 2007, p. 9).

Some of you may remember what Sider said two years ago. But here it is again. The point is that what he said then has now been confirmed again by a totally separate survey. May the Lord use both these studies to encourage us that even though growing a church by serious teaching of biblical truth may be harder and slower, it does bear more radical fruit than less doctrinally serious strategies of growth.

Here is what Sider says the more radically transformed Christians believe:

These people believe that “the Bible is the moral standard” and “absolute moral truths exist and are conveyed through the Bible.” In addition they agree with all six of the following additional beliefs: that God is the all-knowing, all-powerful Creator who still rules the universe; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; Satan is a real, living entity; salvation is a free gift, not something we can earn; every Christian has a personal responsibility to evangelize; and the Bible is totally accurate in all it teaches. (Scandal, p. 127)

Then Sider lists the kinds of behaviors this more doctrinally rigorous group tend to show.

They are nine times more likely than all the others to avoid “adult-only” material on the Internet. They are four times more likely than other Christians to boycott objectionable companies and products and twice as likely to choose not to watch a movie specifically because of its bad content. They are three times more likely than other adults not to use tobacco products and twice as likely to volunteer time to help needy people. Forty-nine percent of all born-again Christians with a biblical worldview have volunteered more than an hour in the previous week to an organization serving the poor, whereas only 29 percent of born-again Christians without a biblical worldview and only 22 percent of non-born-again Christians had done so. (Scandal, p. 128)

Sider concludes with a word that pastors and youth leaders should hear with great seriousness—mainly because the Bible teaches it, but also because Regnerus’s new book points in the same direction. Here is Sider’s conclusion:

[The] findings on the different behavior of Christians with a biblical worldview underline the importance of theology. Biblical orthodoxy does matter. One important way to end the scandal of contemporary Christian behavior is to work and pray fervently for the growth of orthodox theological belief in our churches. (Scandal, pp. 129-130)

Yes. Pray for sure. And work our heinies off teaching and preaching and modeling the Truth. And resist an entertainment model for youth ministry. And cultivate a joyfully blood-earnest atmosphere for worship. And call for our youth and our retirees to go risk their lives somewhere for the risen King Jesus. This is where serious truth-driven ministry takes us.

Growing in the knowledge and grace of Jesus with you,

Pastor John


© Desiring God

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way and do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction. For web posting, a link to this document on our website is preferred. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

All My Devotion Was Emotion

Another great one to make you think...

Again, the direct YouTube Channel for Blair is

Allow Me to Re-Introduce the Christ

This is an awesome video. We had it scheduled to show you guys, but we hope you can enjoy it now. Pass it along.

If you want to see more from this gal, who has some powerful stuff, then search Blair Wingo on YouTube, or just go to her YouTube Channel directly -

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Goodbye, but not farewell!

Although it is time to say goodbye to "paid" ministry with you guys, the relationships will gladly continue. We are still available to each of you when ever you need us. We have loved our past two years working with all of you. We are so excited about the foundation that you guys now have in scripture and accountability. We can't say enough how proud we are of so many of you!

We know that you have a wonderful future in front of you. Many of you have, for the first time, discovered what real Christianity is all about and that was why we were with you. That is what we wanted you to learn.

We can confidently say we truly served our purpose at Gateway. So many of you teens are now seeking truth in scripture rather than every new wave, "secret" or kick-in-the-face that comes along. Hopefully, you will stick to what you now know and not be deceived any longer by the emotional upheaval that seems to plague so much of modern Christianity. Hopefully, you will no longer be satisfied with unchallenging, feel-good messages that only last through Sunday evening.

We are so proud of you guys who stretched your minds and walked through scripture to learn this Christian life and how to really be examples that honor Christ. Those of you who seek God in scripture can hold your heads high and know that the Creator of the Universe is your counselor in any time of need.

We are looking forward to you becoming theologically sound believers who change the lives of their friends because you know Christ through sound doctrine and passionate sacrifice and suffering. You, the "unnoticed" teens, and your families will no longer be invisible. You are the ones who will shape the souls of strangers with a deep and lasting change. We are confident in God's transforming grace, and we know you now have eyes that are open and hearts that are truly sealed in Christ.

But we have these questions for you...

  • What will you do now?
  • Will you splinter away from the faith?

No! May it never be! (Take a minute to read Phil 3:8-21)

Press on! Stand firm - demand the truth of scripture and the justice of Christ. Keep up your quiet time. Keep increasing in the diligent study of scripture. Press through every circumstance by seeking the same character that Christ had. Remember, you cannot know what Jesus would do (WWJD) without reading about him in your Bible. This is why we say, guard your quiet time. Your quiet time isn't a chore, but it is the source of your knowledge and understanding of Godly things.

Keep looking out for one another. Protect and honor each other. Never stop tearing down the walls of separation that form so quickly during your teen years. Don't ever let anyone treat you as anything less than the way Your Father and Creator would treat you - that's with respect, dignity, honor, wisdom, and yes, discipline.

As always…

  • We love you. Each one of you.
  • We are here for you, no matter what. No matter how bad it may be. We will never turn you away.
  • We are praying for you. For your continual growth and maturity.
  • We want you to seek God first. Only He is sovereign.

Soli Deo Gloria!
Jonathan & Kara

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. -Phil 2:3 NASB

Humility is the true proof of Christian virtues; without it we retain all our faults, and they are only covered by pride to hide them from others, and often from ourselves. -La Rochefoucauld

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Revamping the blog

In light of all the developments, we are in the process of changing up the blog. You can look forward to a ton of great new content - interesting websites, videos, articles, and discussions - all kinds of things to help stretch your knowledge of Scripture and grow up thinking theologically about the world around you. Stay tuned and let us know if there are any features you'd like us to add.