Young people desire community. They join sports teams, clubs, and social networking and form friendships based on common interests. At Activate: Harvest High School Ministry, we want students to be in community with one another based on the greatest of interests: knowing God and making Him known. Every Wednesday before Bible study, students meet in Community Groups from 6:15P.M. to 6:45 P.M. for the purpose of discipleship, fellowship, and accountability. Each group is gender-specific and is led by a college-aged high school ministry counselor. These groups provide a great environment to develop and deepen godly friendships.
Based on the recent High School Winter Camp, Activate Community Groups will be starting a new small group curriculum called, He is Greater: The Claims of Christ. It’s our desire for the young people of God to treasure and value Jesus above all things and to see Him as greater than anyone or anything else. For this purpose, groups will go through the Gospel of John and study the “I AM” statements of Christ. Through this study, students will see how the “I AM” can change who they are. Additionally, Pastor Jason Powell and the Activate staff will teach a sermon series that corresponds with the Community Group’s topic each week.
To download the digital copy of the curriculum, click the link below!
To open on your iPhone or iPad, open the PDF in iBooks or Kindle.
Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to grow in your faith, make new friends, and see Jesus do greater things in your life than ever before. Sign-up for a Community Group at Activate on Wednesday nights, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30, NIV).
Do you want to have the same encouragement and friendship that you had in your cabin group up at camp? Then join a Connect Small Group! For the fall season (September 26 – December 12), we will be going through a small group curriculum called, Unashamed: Sharing and Showing the Gospel, which will cost $5. In this small book, we will continue our theme from camp and be very specific on how we can be “unashamed” at home, school, work, church, with friends, social media, purity, community, and the world. Each group is gender specific where girls meet with girls and guys meet with guys; and you can request to be with a friend or leader. The groups meet every Wednesday before service from 6:15pm – 6:45pm. Don’t miss out on this opportunity for discipleship, friendship, and fellowship. You will grow in your faith, have encouragement and accountability in your faith, and be able to strengthen the faith of others. Let’s be unashamed together by being plugged in to a Connect Small Group! If you would like to be in a group, please contact us or sign-up at any of our services!
Click on the image below to print/save the small group schedule:
In chapters 6 -7 of Disciplines of a Godly Young Man, we learned about the discipline of the mind, both in what our minds are to refuse and receive. Just as certain foods are either good or bad for your body and enable you to be either in shape or out of shape, the content that we view and think about greatly impacts our spiritual health in the way that we think as Christians. Without question, we should abstain and reject certain content because it is harmful to our minds, and we should accept and receive certain content because it is helpful to our minds. So, what’s the test? How do we determine what we should think about? Of course, the answer is the Bible, because it reveals to us what is right and wrong and helpful or harmful.
The Apostle Paul gives us clear instruction on how to think and what we are to think about in Philippians 4:8, a verse worth memorizing:
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
As Christians, we are to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16), and this is done as we “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5). We must be intentional in what we look at and think about. And that’s why Philippians 4:8 is so helpful because it serves as a clear guide for us, that we are to “think about these things.” Whatever is: true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. If we are to think about such things, then we must not think about what’s opposite of them—things that are false, dishonorable, wrong, impure, unloving, looked down on, improper, or unworthy of praise. In order to have a healthy Christian mind, we must receive and reject such things.
The authors write, “As we have shown, no one will get anywhere in anything without discipline. And more, no one can have a godly mind apart from discipline—which demands the discipline of refusal. This is a call to be a man, because it takes a real man to refuse the streaming input of godless culture and then endure the inevitable misunderstanding and anger of those who are surprised that you do not run with them” (p.63). Will you accept the hard work of filtering your thoughts and the content that makes you thing such things. This includes the things we watch on television, movies, the internet, phones, and the music we listen to. The things you take in affect what you give out. As the old saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Analyze the content you look at and listen to, and receive it or reject it based on Philippians 4:8 and the counsel of God’s Word.
It’s been said, “Sow a thought and reap an act. Sow an act and reap a habit. Sow a habit and reap a character. Sow a character and reap a destiny.” Your thoughts determine your actions, and ultimately they form who you are. A.W. Tozer says, “What we think about when we are free to think about what we will—this is what we are or will soon become.” Your thoughts affect both this life and eternal life, so be sure to think biblically so that you may live biblically. May you love the Lord your God with all of your mind (Matt. 22:39) by thinking about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise—God’s Word!
In chapter 6 of Lies Young Women Believe, we read about “Lies About Myself” and how two of the most common lies young women believe are that physical beauty determines your value and worth, and that you have to perform in order to be loved and accepted by others.
To counter these lies, we saw the truth from God’s Word:
- Beautiful girls are worth more
- Physical beauty is only temporary (Proverbs 31:30; 1 Peter 3:3-5)
- The beauty that matters to God is on the inside (1 Timothy 2:9-10)
- What you believe about beauty is determined by where you look (1 Peter 3:3-4)
- I have to perform to be loved and accepted
- Your value is not determined by what you do, but by how God views you (Ephesians 1:4; Psalm 139:14; 1 John 4:9; Romans 8:38-39)
- The notion that you can do something to earn love and have value is heretical (Ephesians 2:9; Romans 11:6)
- Your good works are to glorify God, not yourself (1 Corinthians 10:31; James 2:12-18)
When these lies are believed and embraced, many harmful feelings follow due to the need to measure-up to the society’s unrealistic standards placed upon young women. It affects you personally, and it affects your relationship with others—and most importantly, with God. When you believe that your value and acceptance before God is based on something that you do—that you have to look or act a certain way, or perform well—your relationship with God will suffer. Such lies change acceptance and love from something that God freely gives to something that you must earn; it replaces God’s work with your works.
Our society says that you are valued and accepted by your looks and your works, but Scripture says that you are valued and accepted by looking to Jesus and trusting in His work—His work on the cross for your salvation. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” You are accepted and loved as a child of God because He has given you His grace—His undeserved favor—as a free gift. This is what caused John to write, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1a).
So ladies, don’t let the enemy deceive you with his lies. Realize that the lie about “I” distorts reality, destroys emotionally, and damages you spiritually. Recognize that your true identity is found in Christ, not in looks or works. And remember that you are loved and accepted by your heavenly Father because of His performance, and therefore your value and worth are not determined by what you do or what you look like, but by your spiritual union with God through Christ, for you are a daughter of the King.
In chapter 4 of Disciplines of a Godly Young Man, we saw that friendship is one of the most important aspects of life, especially in the Christian life. Great friendships consist of love, commitment, loyalty, and encouragement, and friends must be disciplined—both in giving and receiving—in prayer, friendliness, affirmation, listening, and acceptance. Clearly, friendship takes work.
Friendships often form through common interests. You like the same sports, music, or activities, or you dress and act similarly. But the problem is that our interests change, and therefore friendships must be built upon a stronger foundation—there must be a real connection. Deep friendships move past the surface level of what you like to the root of who you are. This way, you are friends both because of a character and conduct, who you are and what you like to do. But still, there are possibilities beyond this for stronger friendship.
Friendship is strongest when there is fellowship. This moves beyond personality and interest to who you are in Christ and how you live for Him. Fellowship can be defined as the people of God speaking, sharing, and supply the things of God. The word literally means “sharing,” “partnership,” or “communion.” It’s “common participation in God.” Christian friendships find their unity in their friendship with the Savior, which provides deep roots of love, commitment, loyalty, and encouragement. In Scripture, fellowship is most clearly seen in the “one another” statements, such as:
R. Kent Hughes and W. Carey Hughes write, “It is not that friends think alike on everything. Often it is quite the opposite. But they do share the same core beliefs and approach to life. And this is why a Christian friendship exceeds anything that exists between those who are not Christians—for such a friendship is founded on a supernatural connection of soul” (46). As we saw in our reading, such was the friendship of Jonathan and David, for “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David” (1 Samuel 18:1).
The path of friendship is twofold: you need good friends and you need to be a good friend. Guys, if we really want to grow in godliness, we must make our friendships a priority. You need their friendship and they need your friendship. Strong friendships don’t form overnight; it takes discipline! In what ways will you be a better friend?
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the bait of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
In chapters 4-5 of Lies Young Women Believe, Nancy DeMoss and Dannah Gresh discuss some of the common lies that young women believe about God and Satan. We saw that God is the source of all truth and He reveals truth in His Word (John 17:17), but Satan “is a liar and the father of lies.” So, clearly, these chapters deal a lot about the truths that we may not believe and the lies that we can believe.
Amber Estrada, one of our leaders, writes about the discussion she had in her group:
We learned that a lot of times, young women feel that God is not enough for us, that He is not really involved on our lives, that He should fix our problems, and that He is just like our father. It is a dangerous thing to have the wrong perception of God, which is why Nancy DeMoss and Dannah Gresh make it so clear in these chapters that studying the Word of God is crucial in knowing the truth of who He is. They write, ‘Study the Bible to get to know Jesus…When you see Christ as He is, it will be harder to believe things about God that aren’t true’ (53).
It is so easy to get caught up with what our friends, the media, and our emotions tell us about who God is. However, if we choose to study and meditate on the Word of God daily, we will know when a lie comes our way and we will be able to disregard it. The same goes for when we come across lies about Satan and satanic activity. Many of the girls in my group confessed that they had been involved with some of the things that the Bible refers to as satanic activity, without even realizing it. Things like horoscopes, yoga, and watching demonic scary movies seem harmless in our culture.; in fact, it is praised for being fun entertainment. After our group conveyed their opinions about whether or not they agreed with the book, by the end of our time together, we all had a better understanding that it is not about our opinion, but the truth of God’s Word.
God does not take satanic activity lightly, so neither should we. 1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” And what is an effective way to have the love of the Father in you? It is to read the Word of God and pray for a willing and open heart to follow the truths of Scripture. If you daily immerse yourself in the Word of God, you will be equipped to not fall for the lies of our culture about who Satan is and who God is.
Do you know what was the first lie in human history? Genesis 3:1 records it. Satan said to Eve, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?’” But actually, God did not say this. He said, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). Satan twisted what God said and tried to strip God’s Word of its authority and accuracy. And he is still in the same business today.
How can you tell if a designer purse is fake? What makes you know it is a knock-off? It’s because you know what the real designer purse looks like and feels like. And the same applies to God’s Word. When we know the Word of God (truth), we will automatically be able to detect what’s false (lies). Go to God’s Word today and fill your mind, heart, and emotions with His truth—and don’t let it get twisted with lies!
To live in this sex-driven world as a Christian, our lives need to be marked by spiritual discipline! In Chapter 3 of Disciplines of Godly Young Man, we are exhorted to man-up and fight against the desire to give in to our sinful lust.
Many of us recognize that our culture’s view of sex promises ultimate satisfaction, but fails to deliver; we see that God’s plan for sex is far greater because He is the one who invented it. Even though we know this, our world is saturated with sexual distractions that entice young people to forget the One who created them. Everyday we are assaulted with temptation to ignore God and pursue deceptive promises of pleasure.
The key is that we forget and ignore God. In the book, R. Kent Hughes quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who said, “the moment lust takes control ‘God… loses all reality… Satan does not fill us with hatred of God, but with forgetfulness of God’” (p.34).
If we were always aware of God’s presence, do you think that we would give in to sexual temptation as often? If we worked to keep the Lord at the forefront of our minds, do you think we would struggle as much?
Moses warned the people of Israel, “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments” in Deuteronomy 8:11 because he knew that they were prone to be distracted and forget. As men, we need take care—or “work up a spiritual sweat”—to constantly focus our minds on Christ. We must forsake the temporary pleasure of lust and seek the source of all true pleasure: God himself.
Without encountering the living God everyday through His Word, we are defenseless against our own wandering, distraction-prone hearts. In His presence is fullness of joy; at his right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11), therefore, we should be disciplined to seek Him at all times. Don’t let yourself forget that.
Written by: Jacob Meiser