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Archive for the ‘theology’ Category

The ministry I worked with in NYC had this thing we taught the kids called The Four Most Important Things. A sister ministry in the UK came up with symbols, put them on sweatshirts and other merch and the following was born:

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♥ – God loves me

X – I have sinned

✞ – Jesus died for me

? – I need to decide to live for God

I used to repeat/teach this mantra several times a day for several years. So when I see the symbols, it seems crystal clear what they mean.

However, I wore this 4 Things sweatshirt while hanging out with some friends in Philly and the shirt confused them. These very educated, very smart people were like,

“Love x’s Jesus = I don’t know/question mark?”

I thought it was really funny because here I was wearing the sweatshirt thinking I was witnessing to people, while others perceived it in an opposite way. It was a good reminder that we all have different perceptions and they count! I can’t just assume everyone is coming from the same place as I am.

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Last week I attended the Princeton Forum on Youth Ministry hosted by the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Seminary. It was in Hendersonville, North Carolina at a beautiful camp ground called Kanuga. I went for a two day retreat and then for an additional four day conference.  It was nice to get a break from city life and be surrounded by gorgeous scenery.  North Carolina in the Fall is one of my favorite places to be.   It was also great to be challenged theologically with speakers like Kenda Creasy Dean, Rodger Nishioka, Mark DeVries and others.

About 70% of the conference was applied to church ministry, but I still learned a lot. I met amazing youth directors from around the country and was encouraged by their service and dedication to young people. It was a good week.

North Carolina

North Carolina

North Carolina

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Values

Ouch!

Via ASBO Jesus

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We’re teaching the kids about the life of Jesus and last week’s lesson was called Jesus Was Born For Us. One of my goals is to communicate the gospel in a culturally appropriate way. So, with our urban context, I pieced together a video about the life of Jesus and put the song “Our God” by The Cross Movement as the background music.

When we played it, the kids started laughing. They were kind of freaked out because whenever they’ve seen videos of Jesus and Biblical stories, it’s always been classical (White) music in the background. Not some guys rapping, “Yeah Lord!” The song even says,

“You prolly never had the living God unpacked,
Unpacked by some rapper the living God don’ jacked.”

Over dinner a few days later, my teenage staff members brought up the video in conversation and was like, “Yeah, Miss Jenn, I didn’t know what to think…”

I’m happy with how they responded. I didn’t mind that they laughed or thought it was weird. I want them to realize that Jesus is just as accessible and real as the rap music they enjoy. The music is modern and so is Jesus. Does that make sense?

I think it’s good to see old stories with a fresh perspective and I’m thankful music helps us do that.

I posted the video below, along with the lyrics of the song. For me, it was really powerful seeing these images of Jesus and hearing the words “Jesus our God.”

[Intro]
Yeah Lord! (Yeah Lord!)
Can we tell ’em about you? (Can we tell ’em about you?)
I know they don’t know (I know they don’t know?)
But they listening right now so we might as well. (But they listening right now, so we might as well.)
We just gonna talk about you. (We just gonna talk about you.)
We gonna vibe with you. (We gonna vibe with you.)
Help ’em vibe with you, Lord. (Help ’em vibe with you, Lord.)
They prolly never heard. (They prolly never heard.)

[Verse 1]
You prolly never had the living God unpacked,
Unpacked by some rapper the living God don’ jacked.
For His own purpose, you know it’s seems to bug,
People the way He mends though he picks up scrubs.
Like you won’t like me, but enough of this intro,
Introduing this God, gotta give up for this info.
Info all about the One that the texts calls ‘Yahweh’,
Yahweh is the I AM he had a Son come our way,
Our way to Yahweh is the man Christ Jesus,
Jesus is the Son Yahweh sent to man. Christ breezes,
Breezes to another person known as God the Spirit,
The Spirit is the third person of the God Head, hear it.
Here it is, the foundation. God’s Triune.
This things hard, Hard to lay out in sixteen bars.
Bars of truth about God, Doesn’t this seem odd?
A rapper would bring truth heavy as 16 cars.

[Chorus]
Our God!
I decided to write. I aquired a mic,
I want your eye on The Christ,
‘Cuz he is our God!
Aint no body like Him. Thats just why we like Him,
Plus we got our life from,
Jesus our God!
We won’t stop till every block is listenin
He’s on top, cuz on top is his proper
‘Cuz this our God!
What other God would cop from every race
of people so we could show off His grace.
No one but our God!

[Verse 2]
You ever heard the word attributes?
Attributes describe; God’s got so many vibe, some of them I have to shoot.
Shoot, eternality just to start it off.
Off the timeline, he was here before he started all.
All knowning, all powerful, all present. Yes yes,
These are the omni’s of God. He’s at His best,
In every way, in every class. His very breath
Creates and sustains every day and every step.
Step with me. Get with me, you know im movin’ y’all.
I’m movin y’all. To see the sovreign Lord who proves it all,
It all comes closer as sin comes to the forefront,
Front if you want His grace and mercy. We all want,
We all want love, but none of us want wrath,
Wrath is in the package, the enemy won’t last.
Last, but not least He’s beautiful.
Holy, He’s Just, Transcendent, He’s Immanent Plus Immutable.

[Chorus]
Our God!
I decided to write. I aquired a mic,
I want your eye on The Christ,
‘Cuz he is our God!
Aint no body like Him. Thats just why we like Him,
Plus we got our life from,
Jesus our God!
We won’t stop till every block is listenin
He’s on top, cuz on top is his proper
‘Cuz this our God!
What other God would cop from every race
of people so we could show off His grace.
No one but our God!

[Verse 3]
I kick this for you, though it bores you. Isn’t it disloyal
to dis God, when this God picked us from soil.
Soil was given the shine like he dipped us in oil.
Oil is the sign of God’s Spirit who boils,
Boiling. Hot flashes is what he gives. It’s for you,
For you to give it back. Lord, let this adore you.
A door to this God is all narrow is all, Get out.
Get out, is what you hear to narrow tree. Spit out,
Spit out the lukewarm. The Lukewarm,
Those who really dont know, The God of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
But now you have life, so does the Ambassador,
Ambassador, Uses the mic just like a rapper does,
A rapper doesn’t usually recite the story of,
His story of Him, who gets the sole “Gloria”,
Glory to Jesus, the way to the father,
Father now we can call you more than God.
We can call you ABBA. Your God.

[Chorus]
Our God!
I decided to write. I aquired a mic,
I want your eye on The Christ,
‘Cuz he is our God!
Aint no body like Him. Thats just why we like Him,
Plus we got our life from,
Jesus our God!
We won’t stop till every block is listenin
He’s on top, cuz on top is his proper
‘Cuz this our God!
What other God would cop from every race
of people so we could show off His grace.
No one but our God!

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I was talking to my brother the other day about how some Christians we know make us NOT want to be Christians. We had such a bad experience with them that there is no way we’d want to serve or know the God they do. Thankfully, we experienced Jesus for ourselves and the hypocrites and bad examples don’t affect us as much as they could.

Many of the parents of the kids at our camp have told me how much their child loves our camp, how they talk about it all the time at home. The kids tell their parents we’re so nice and they feel loved at our camp.

You know, a lot of people have bad experiences with Christians and they grow up to be bitter and hate God and the church. But, our kids won’t be like that. Their first experience with people who call themselves Christians were with people who loved them, who were nice to them, who valued them. Because all of this love is in the name of Jesus and the kids know that. And to me, this is priceless.

There might not have been a lot of “decisions for Christ” this summer, but a foundation was laid that is more important than a kid saying some prayer they’ll forget they prayed. Our kids experienced the love of God through our love and kindness and acceptance. They experienced real Christians.

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Watch out.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

1 Peter 5:8-10 (New International Version)

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The Foursquare Church has an eight lesson series on Holy Spirit Discovery for Kids. Check it out!

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