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The Power of an Apology (part 2)

consumedym : June 1, 2014

In Jesus’ first public sermon recorded in Matthew 5 there is a hidden gem that might be easily missed.

It is nestled between two scandalous statements about murder and lawsuits. You might skim past it if you’re not looking for it.

In Matthew 5:23-24 Jesus said that if you come to worship to leave an offering and are reminded of a conflict against a friend, go seek reconciliation with urgency. Then return to the altar and offer the gift of worship.Sorry

That’s fascinating Think about what he’s saying. You’re supposed to leave your gift (lamb, goat, bull, etc.) in Jerusalem at the temple, travel however many days it took you get to Jerusalem (let’s say it took 3 days), reconcile with your neighbor, then travel the three days back to Jerusalem and THEN you could offer your sacrifice.

It seems to me that Jesus seemed to know that offering forgiveness meant you had to go way out of your way in order to truly offer it.

My question for you today is how could you live the truth of that Scripture today in your home?

Here are some thoughts to get you started answering that question:

  1. Forgiveness Matters- Jesus prioritized forgiveness and reconciliation in this passage. It is essential to healthy relationships and families.
  2. Don’t Wait- There is a sense of urgency in this passage. Jesus placed importance on pursuing reconciliation quickly.
  3. Forgiveness Unleashes Worship- After reconciliation takes place there is an invitation to return to worship God in true freedom.

It‘s interesting to think of how far out of the way this one guy goes to offer forgiveness–a three day journey! Why not just put it off till tomorrow, after offering the sacrifice and worshiping God?

The problem is, that’s not how God chose to forgive. He went way out of the way to offer us forgiveness. It was inconvenient. It was a tough, long journey. But there was also a purpose and reason for the journey. Yeah, it was tough, but the restored relationship it offered was well worth it!

Here are some quick questions to end with today:

  • Is there conflict in your home that you are concerned about right now?
  • Are you seeking reconciliation with urgency?
  • Are you prioritizing forgiveness in your relationships?
  • Would your teenager say that your home is a place of grace?

Let Jesus’ words inspire you today to experience peace in your home and pursue reconciliation in your family.

Feel free to share with me your thoughts about this newsletter. I look forward to connecting with you each time.

Your Partner,
-Pastor Michael

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The Power of an Apology (part 1)

consumedym : May 25, 2014

This month I want to talk about harnessing the Power of an Apology.

Teenagers learn by watching their parent’s example more than anything else. There is no better way to teach your teenager important life skills than to model them each day.
One of the life skills that marks maturity the most is when your teenager learns to accept responsibility for what they have done.

I can remember growing up as a little kid my parents used to force apologies. If I hit my brother, we literally had to kiss and make up. My parents would make us hug and kiss for a whole minute until we could “get along.” Did it work? I’m not sure. But I can tell you what I learned from apologies was more from their example.

Growing up I rarely saw my parents offer apologies. But one time, I had been very upset about a particular situation at school involving a friendship. And I was mad–and my parents could recognize my anger the instant I came home from school. I can remember my dad responding to my anger with more anger. He mentioned something that indicated that my attitude needed to be adjusted. He was wanting to teach me a lesson. I responded to his anger with more anger. Let’s just say it was not one of our finest father-son moments.

Later that night my dad came to my room to talk to me. It was definitely different. One of the things he said to me was, “Your attitude is important and no matter how angry you are, you have to be respectful to others. But I also want to apologize to you because when you needed my comfort, I gave you my anger. And I’m sorry.” He ended his apology with the words, “Sometimes it’s really hard being a dad.”

In that moment I saw my dad’s strength. And he taught me something incredible.
One of the greatest things I believe we can do for our teenagers is to set the pace for them in one of the greatest life skills: accepting responsibility.

It’s really no longer about winning or losing when you are parenting teenagers. It’s about guiding and teaching. One of the best ways you can teach them is by owning what you can own. I’m not telling you to take responsibility for something you didn’t do, but owning what you can. Letting them see that it is hard sometimes to be a parent can be powerful.

One of my favorite things that Jesus taught His disciples is when He taught them to pray. He said, “Father forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me.” You see in our relationship with God we learn that there is power when we receive, seek, and offer forgiveness. My prayer for you is that you will find a way in your home in the next weeks and months to harness the power of an apology. Let your teenager see that you are not perfect and you are willing to accept responsibility.

Consumed Youth Ministries has your back in this parenting adventure. If you need someone to talk to, pray with, or someone to just listen please let us know.

Your Partner,
-Pastor Michael

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The Power of a Shared Experience (part 2)

consumedym : May 11, 2014

I hope you are finding these newsletters helpful. We try our best to get them out every other week. In our last newsletter I asked you to consider what it would be like if you strategically planned a significant shared experience with your teenager each year?

In newsletter I want to walk you through seven experiences that I believe you can share with your teenager throughout the adolescent journey.

I want to tell you ahead of time that our student ministry has material available to help you plan each one of these experiences. Our goal is to help you create significant shared experiences with your teenager.

6th grade – Preparation for Adolescence – In this experience you meet five times discussing with your sixth grader the changes that they are going through physically, mentally, and spiritually. These will typically happen before bed each night for a week.

7th grade – Blessing Ceremony – In this experience you communicate to your teenager that they are no longer a child by offering them a biblical blessing. It is a chance for them to recognize that they are growing and changing, and their relationship with you will grow and change as well.

8th grade – Purity Weekend – In this shared experience you get away with your teenager for a weekend to enjoy a fun getaway. During this time you also share with them the dreams in your heart in the area of purity. It will be a chance for you to teach them that waiting for marriage is not crazy, but it is God’s beautiful plan for them.

9th grade – Driving Contract – This shared experience allows you to spend an evening with your ninth grader discussing with them the way you are going to handle building and rebuilding trust during the years that they learn driving a car. Together you sign a driving contract that will serve as a communication tool to help you in these crucial years to come.

10th grade – Money Matters – This shared experience allows you to spend an evening with your teenager having a little bit of fun and teaching a really important life skill. By having your teenager guess what is spent in your household budget monthly they will get an idea of what they know about how to manage money. You’ll also get a chance to share with them eight biblical principles on how to manage money God’s way.

11th grade – Family Tree – In this shared experience you allow your teenager the chance to learn their family heritage. They will never know who they’re going to be unless they take some time to learn where they come from.

12th grade – Manhood/ Womanhood Ceremony – In this shared experience you will host a grand finale to the parenting journey. It will be your chance to unleash your new adult into the world by blessing them as a grown adult.

Let me ask you a question: Did you get all seven of these shared experiences in a healthy way from your parents when you were a teenager? What an investment it would be to give these experiences to your teenager.

There is power in a shared experience. A shared experience can be a gift you give your teenager that will set them up for a life that is driven by faith.

Together in Christ,
-Pastor Michael

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The Power of a Shared Experience (part 1)

consumedym : April 13, 2014

I certainly hope you are finding this newsletter helpful and encouraging. One of my goals with this newsletter is to encourage your family to continue to grow in your faith together.
This week we are going to talk about the shared experiences you have with your teenager. There is power in a shared experience. You share many experiences with your teenager. Some of them are great and some of them are not so great.

  • you share vacations together
  • you share holidays together
  • you share crisis and tragedy together
  • you share mission trips together

What would happen if you strategically planned a significant shared experience with your teenager each year designed to help pass down your faith to them?

This may seem hard, but I want you to imagine your teenager as a grandparent.
They have grey hair, they are walking a bit slower than they do now, and they have a bunch of really cute grand kids at their feet.

Now let’s imagine one of those grand kids looks up and asks a question, “Grandma or Grandpa–-what was it like when you were a teenager?”

I wonder how that question would get answered? What will your teenager say when they describe their adolescent experience in your home?

One of the ways we mark our memories is by the shared experiences we have. So my guess is that your teenager might talk about a vacation you shared, a crisis you endured together, or a family tradition that took place around the holidays in your home.

There is power in a shared experience. As parents we often use “lectures” to get our point across, but teenagers don’t remember “lectures” as much as they remember a shared experience.

It’s true that a lot of the experiences we share with our teenager are not planned and they are not all pleasant. In fact you could put a lot of work into planning a shared experience and be really disappointed by your teenager’s “ho-hum” reaction to it. But none of those things should stop you from trying. One of the most powerful ways to guide and teach your teenager is through shared experiences. So today I would like to inspire you to leverage that power in your home.

It is possible to plan an event with your teenager that has real meaning that you can share together. It is possible to think creatively and make a memory together through an experience that is not just fun, but it passes down to your teenager an understanding of what matters most in life.

So my encouragement today is to get out a piece of paper and start dreaming, planning, and preparing for a shared experience with your teenager that has the potential to be powerful and meaningful.

This is the heart behind the Rites of Passage Experience that CYM has available to you. If you don’t know much about this incredible opportunity, check it out to learn more.

Your biggest fan,
-Pastor Michael

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The Parent Connect: The Power of a Symbol (part 2)

consumedym : March 30, 2014

Dear Parents,

In our last newsletter we talked about the power of symbols. I challenged you to consider how you could use symbols as a tool to help you pass down faith to your teenager.

The reason I believe this is an appropriate method is because God used it.

  • In Genesis 9:13-17 God used a rainbow as a symbol of His promise
  • In Genesis 28:18-22 Jacob established a monument to remind himself of God’s promise to bless his descendants
  • In Genesis 7:8-13 Aaron’s staff became a symbol to Pharaoh of God’s presence with the Israelites and His power
  • In Exodus 12 the Passover feast is rich with symbolism none more important than the use of the Lamb to represent coming salvation

and it goes on and on….

  • the monument of 12 stones when the tribes of Israel crossed the Jordan river
  • the 10 commandments given on stone tablets
  • the ark of the covenant
  •  the Temple

It’s not just in the Old Testament either. In the New Testament we see symbols:

  • the gifts of the Magi to Jesus in Luke 2
  • Jesus washing His disciples’ feet in John 13
  • the use of symbols in the many Parables that Jesus taught
  • the expensive perfume spilled on Jesus’ feet in Matthew 26

and on and on…

  • the breaking of bread representing the breaking of Jesus’ body
  • the wine that represented His blood
  • the cross which is perhaps the greatest symbol in all of Christendom

You see, God used symbols in the Scripture. Still to this day those symbols remind us of who God is and what He has promised. Every time you see one of these symbols, you are reminded of something about who God is.

As a parent who is passing down faith, you have a great opportunity to offer symbols to your teenager as well.

The Rites of Passage Experience that Consumed Youth Ministry offers to your family is a great place to start discovering symbols you can offer your teenager. I encourage you to take some time to pray, dream, and think about the types of powerful symbols you can present to your teenager. It can help them remember the faith that your family holds dear.

Cheering you on,
-Pastor Michael

P. S. If you come up with a great idea for a symbol, would you be willing to send it to me? I would love to share that idea of with other parents to help inspire them.

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