Purity

 

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Last Sunday we wrapped up our Sex and Dating series by looking at the idea of Purity.

This issue is very important to me because I didn’t get a good handle on purity until I was married and in my late 20’s.

I can remember often hearing about not having sex until marriage, but that’s as far as my view of purity went. But what we talked about on Sunday, is that purity is much more than saving sex until marriage. Being pure is a lifestyle. Being pure involves my mind as much as it involves my body. That was the heart of what I tried to communicate to those students who were there on Sunday.

Below you will find links to my notes for all three weeks. Beyond my notes, I wanted to give you some additional resources that can help you as you continue to talk about sex with your student.

So many of the resources are centered around the issue of pornography. The stats are so alarming in this area and it can lead to so many unhealthy things is a person’s life we spent a large portion of our time talking about the issue of porn.

All of these are approached from a Christian perspective and will help us a we navigate a world with twisted messages of sex.

 

Please let me know how I can best serve you and your family!

Week 1 Notes

Week 2 Notes

Week 3 Notes

Resources:

 Tips for Parents on Talking About Porn

What to do if Your Student is Looking at Porn

Your Children and Sex

Pornography and Sex

Statistics on Pornography 

Books for Students on Sex from Christian Authors

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7 Questions to Ourselves About Dating

bailey-hall-610386-unsplashOn Sunday morning we kicked off a series looking at sex and dating and what God has to say about it. I enjoy talking with students about this because they are getting blasted with all kinds of messages about how to date and how they should view sex in 2018.

My goal in this series to give them God’s view point on dating and sex. He is the one that created sex and He also created the boundaries for sex. We will talk about his original plan for sex and how that should play out in our lives.

This week we looked at dating and asked 7 questions we need to ask ourselves about dating.

For this series I will be providing my notes. I think it will be a little easier than trying to do a full recap and it will save you some time.

My hope is that this will help you have conversations with your student about sex and dating. Gone are the days when a single talk about sex will work. It has to be an ongoing conversation between you and your student.

As always we are available to help in any way possible.
One way I want to help is by compiling some resources that will help you talk with your student. Next week in addition to my notes I will include several items that will help you navigate these waters.

One thing I mentioned on Sunday that I would like you to try is date your student. When I was in middle school and early high school, my dad would take my sister out on dates and my mom would take me out. My dad took my sister out to demonstrate to her how a guys should treat her on a date. My mom took me out to help me to learn how to treat a lady. Obviously my dad and I had conversation about this also, but it was great getting a female’e perspective. This is something easy that you can do and will help strengthen  your relationship.

Zakk’s Week 1 Notes

How to Pray for Your Child

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I think we would all agree that praying for our children is important and something we should do.

But, I bet if we are being honest we have no idea how to do this outside of asking God to keep them safe.

That’s the heart behind this post. We want to equip you as parents to know how to pray for your student. We want to make it easy to know what to pray and even give you some scriptures to use as you pray for you child.

There are a ton of different way and areas you can pray for your child, but what’s presented below is a great way of getting started.

Two quick thoughts before we dive in: 1) It’s never to late to start! Even if you child is in college, they are still you child and you are still their parent. So don’t worry that you haven’t started sooner. You can start now!

2) Let your child know you pray for them. I still remember as a 10th grader seeing my mom’s prayer list and seeing how she was specifically praying for me then, the kind of man I would (hopefully) become, and even for my future wife.
As a 10th grader it was not lost on me on how big a deal it is to pray for your children. And it is all that more powerful now that I’ve become a parent.

I pray that my children would:

  1. Receive and love Jesus as their Savior – I pray that my children will understand that You loved them so much that You gave Your only Son for them, and that because they believe in Him, they will have life forever with You. John 3:16
  2. Commit their lives to make Jesus Lord and be filled with Your Spirit – I pray that my children will recognize that Jesus is the Name above all names and will confess Him as Lord of all. I pray that they will trust Him with all their hears, not lean on their own understanding, and acknowledge He is Lord in everything; thus You will guide them in Your best way for them. May they be filled with Your Holy Spirit to the fullness of Christ. Phi 2:9-11; Pro 3:5-6; Eph 5:18; 1:23; 4:13
  3. Know the true and living God intimately and cherish and apply all Your names – I pray that my children will desire to truly know You, Father. May they love You, know You intimately, powerfully apply Your names, and rely on the character they represent in all their needs. Dan 11:32b; Phi 3:10; Psa 9:10
  4. Learn to pray and praise – I pray that my children will learn to communicate with You, their loving Father. Put Your praise in their hearts and on their lips continually. Lead them to be dependent on You for everything, so they talk with You about all things and give You the honor and glory that You deserve. Mark 10:14-15; Matt 21:16; Phil 4:6
  5. Know who they are in Christ – I pray that my children will know how precious they are to You. Teach them to base their identity and security on Christ. Give them Christ-centered confidence and Christ-centered worth. Give them Your mind about how You see them and how You feel about them. As Your creation, help them to fully know who they are and what they have in Christ and what they can do through Him. Eph 1:4,7,11-14; Col 1:27
  6. Be protected from the evil one by the blood of Jesus – Protect my children by the covering blood of Jesus. I pray that my children will know the power of the blood to defeat all the works of the evil one. By the blood of Jesus, bind the enemy from interfering with Your perfect purposes in their lives. John 17:15; 1 John 4:4
  7. Receive the love of God the Father – I pray that my children will know Your Father-heart and have the assurance of Your great love. Let them know by experience how extravagantly and unconditionally You love them. Father them with Your holy love, so that they know without a doubt that You are always working in their lives in Your love. 1 John 3:1
  8. Love the word of God – I pray that my children will treasure Your word more than wealth. Teach them to love Your word and base their lives on it as their standard of life. Give them understanding as they humbly seek You in Your word. Teach them to plead Your unbreakable promises and to defeat all the lies of the enemy with Your truth revealed in Your word. Psa 119:127-130, 159-162
  9. Learn to hate sin and love holiness, righteousness, and fear of the Lord – I pray that You will write Your word on the hearts of my children, so that they will choose the obedience of hating sin and loving Your holiness. Work in their lives the holy fear of You and the righteousness of Jesus. Help them not to just keep a set of rules, but to desire to please You in all they do. Create in them a pure heart. Make them wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. Move in them to dedicate their lives to You as living sacrifices. Psa 119:9,11; 2 Tim 2:22; Rom 16:19b; Pro 8:13
  10. Grow up in maturity in the Lord – I pray that my children will be built solidly on the foundation of Jesus and grow in Your grace with a conscious sense of Your presence conforming them to be like You. May they continue to be built up with your wisdom, favor, truth, love, life, faith, strength, and thankfulness. Luke 2:52; Eph 4:15; Col 2:6-7
  11. Glorify God in their bodies as Your temple – I pray that my children will honor You by keeping their bodies pure because they are the temple of Your Spirit. Teach them the great price you paid in the death of Jesus for their holiness. 1 Cor 6:19-20; Rom 12:1-2
  12. Respect those in authority – I pray that my children will submit to the authorities You have placed over them as to You. Let them understand that You have established loving, wise covering for their good through parents and others in authority. Cause them to obey and not reserve for themselves the right to choose whether to obey, which You call rebellion. Give them a joyful, grateful heart as they submit to Your ordained authorities. Rom 13:1; Eph 6:1, 3:22-25

 

Here is a PDF version if you would like to print it out and keep it where you have your prayer time or where you’ll be reminded to pray for you child. Praying for Children

The Family Series

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This week we at Merge we are beginning a new series on the Family.

I’m really excited about this series because we all come from a family. Good, bad, or otherwise we are all attached to some type of family unit. The good thing about what we will talk about applies to all family dynamics including how students relate to the adults in charge of their lives, how they relate to their siblings, and what God has to say about their family.

I have three specific goals for this series that I want students to walk away with:

  1. I want them to know what it means to honor their parents and have some practical ways of honoring them in the coming weeks.
  2. How students should respond and submit to the authority in our lives.
  3. How students can communicate more effectively with their parents.

Each week during merge we will come up with 2 take home challenges for them do during the next week.

One thing I want to ask you as parents on the front end of the series, is for you to be open to your student looking for ways to change how they relate to you (in a good way). I’m praying that God does something very special in your families through this series and that He turns what can be a challenging time, into something that forever changes the relationship between parents and students.

I will be posting regularly on how the series is going and specifics on what I hope is changing in your home.

As always thank you for the opportunity to serve you and your family.
Zakk

 

Sex and Dating series Recap

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Two weeks ago, we started our yearly look at sex and dating for our middle school students.

The reason we do this was made so clear to me when a student asked, “Why are we studying this in church?!”

I’m sure many of the other students in the room were wondering the same thing, but he was the only one willing to voice it.

My answer to him was simple. The reason we do this series is because the world around us has expressed its views about sex and if we as the church do not stand up and talk about God’s designs and views on sex, then our student will believe the wrong messages and believe the lie that the world tells about sex.

Attached below you will find my notes from the past weeks. I provide these so I can be as transparent with you as possible. Since these are my notes, it might be hard to know what I meant, or what I was trying to say. Please contact me so I can answer any questions you might have.

Also below you’ll find some links that will help you as you prepare to and talk to your student about sex and dating. There are also some great resources dealing with pornography.

My hope and prayer is that this will help you as you have conversations with your student about sex. I say conversations because we are long past the time where a simple sex talk would do. The sex talk needs to happen regularly.

I told our students that I love them and that even more than your love for them is God’s love for them. He wants them to date well. He wants them to make wise decisions when it comes to dating and sex. He also wants them to marry well.

All of these things are hard to when they have the wrong views of sex and dating.

Please let me know how I can best serve you and your family.

Week 1 Notes

Week 2 Notes

Resources:

 Tips for Parents on Talking About Porn

What to do if Your Student is Looking at Porn

Your Children and Sex

Pornography and Sex

Books for Students on Sex from Christian Authors

 

Merge Recap-October 26

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Series: NEW: What does it mean to be made new? (week 4 of 4)
Message in a sentence: As Christians, the Holy Spirit produces fruit in us much different than our sinful nature.
Key Scripture: Galatians 5:16-26

Last night we ended our discussion based series called NEW, and I think it was my favorite of all four weeks.

We talked at length about the difference between our sin nature and the nature of the Holy Spirit. These natures are completely opposite from each other and are constantly warring inside of a Christian.

I think my favorite question what we wrestled with last night was: Do you think Paul is saying that Christ-followers who get angry or have sexually impure thoughts or actions won’t go to heaven? 

The students had a great grasp on the fact that a Christian is forgiven of all sin, but if the sins committed are a repeated sin pattern and a person never feels bad or convicted of that sin, that person might not be a Christian after all.

As Christians we do not have a license to sin. As Christians are goal is to live a life like Christ, who was sinless. We need to be real and know we will sin, but we should not use that as a excuse to sin.

Merge Recap-October 5

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Series: NEW: What does it mean to be made new?
Message in a sentence: Our God reveals Himself to us in a variety of ways.
Key Scriptures: Psalm 19:1, Matthew 18:20, John 14:25-26

On Sunday we began a new series called New: What does it mean to be made new? In this series we will being looking at what it means to be a Christ follower, how to accept Christ, and how to live in the new life that we find in Him.

Our approach to this series will be different than what we’ve done so far. This series will be very discussion oriented, with my role as guiding the conversation students have in their groups. I think this type of teaching will work well with our students.

To kick off the series we talked all about how our God is a knowable God. That He is not distant or Someone we can’t understand. There are parts of Him that we can’t understand this side of eternity, but there are things about His character, His likes and dislikes, how He loves and provides for us, and other things we can know about Him.

We then broke into groups to talk about the scriptures listed above. We had great conversations about how God reveals Himself through nature, the heavens (skies, stars, and planets), through our relationships with other believers, and how the Holy Spirit draws us closer to the Father.

This series fits so well in the overall vision for the Middle School Ministry at Riverland Hills, where we look to lay the foundation that students will build on in high school and college.

Check back each week to see what your student is learning about their walk with Christ.