Archive for March, 2010

Are you new to the neighborhood or just moved to a new school? Have your old friends moved away and you wonder how to make new friends? Just because you are a Christian teen doesn’t mean making friends is any easier. Making a friend means taking a risk and putting yourself out there to be social and friendly. Here are some ways that Christian teens can make themselves available to find people to hang out with:

1. Know Who You Want to Be Friends With
Before you start trying to make friends, think about who you actually want to be your friends. What types of people do you want to associate with? While most Christian teens like to hang out with other Christian teens, it does not mean all your friends have to be Christian. Just remember that you want your friends to share some of your values and morals. You also want your friends to be uplifting and not drag you down into bad habits or behaviors.

2. Get Involved in Activities
The easiest way to make friends is to get involved in activities at school or in your youth group. It allows you to meet people that share your interests. Find some clubs or a local youth group that is active. As you continue to attend the activities you will find yourself drawn to certain people as friends.

3. Introduce Yourself
A lot of Christian teens don’t know how to make the first step in making friends. Sitting in a corner at an event or not saying a word in a club meeting doesn’t draw people to you. This is a hard step to take, and a quick prayer beforehand can help. God is a great provider of courage. It is hard to walk up to a person to introduce yourself. If you are really nervous, make the introduction quick and don’t expect to much. As people begin to know you are around they will start to include you in conversations.

4. Get Some Help
Youth pastors and leaders area great help in making friends. Many youth pastors are willing to meet with you before you join a youth group and can help introduce you to other Christian teens that share your interests. They may also be able to point you toward student ministries that fit your gifts so you can meet people. This may prevent you from having to take that first introductory step yourself, so it takes some of the pressure off.

5. Work on Your Conversation Skills
How well do you communicate with people? Try practicing conversation skills before you go to youth group or club meetings. Think of some fun topics to discuss and the different ways you can contribute to a conversation. You may feel silly having a conversation with yourself, but you will grow in your communication skills if you do.

Click here to continue reading.

Kelli Mahoney is an experienced Christian Youth worker and published writer. Kelli has been working with Christian Teens for almost as long as she has been a Christian. She started out at a leader with the Senior High Ministry at Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois and eventually worked at the Administrator for the NXT, or Senior High Ministry. Kelli also has significant experience working with troubled teens through her work in Juvenile Probation and mental health counseling. Visit her blog here: http://christianteens.about.com/b/

Advertisements

How Are Christians Supposed to Look at Dating?

There is all kinds of advice out there about dating today, but a lot of it is about dating in the world rather than Christian dating. Christians need to have a different attitude toward dating. However, even among Christians there are differences as to whether you should or should not date. The choice is up to your and your parents, but Christian teens should still know God’s perspective on dating.

Non-Christians have a different perspective on dating. You see the magazines, TV shows, and movies that tell you how you’re young, and you should date a lot of people before you get married. You see certain “role models” jumping from one dating relationship to another.

Yet God has more in store for you than just jumping from one relationship to another. He is clear on whom you should date and why you should date. When it comes to Christian dating, you live according to a different standard – God’s. Yet it’s not just about following the rules. There are some solid reasons why God asks us to live a certain way, and dating is no different.

Why Should Christian Teens Date (Or Not Date)?

While most people have differing opinions about dating, it is one area of the Bible where there is not a lot of information. However, Christian teens can get some idea of God’s expectations from certain scripture verses:

Genesis 2:24: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” (NIV)

Proverbs 4:23: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (NIV)

1 Corinthians 13:4-7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (NIV)
These three scriptures give insight into the Christian dating life. We need to realize that God means for us to meet the ONE person that we are meant to marry. According to Genesis, a man will leave home to marry one women to become one flesh. You do not need to date a lot of people – just the right one.

Also, Christian teens need to guard their hearts. The word “love” is thrown around with little thought. Yet, we often live for love. We live for God’s love first and foremost, but we also live for the love of others. While there are many definitions of love, 1Corinthians tells us how God defines love.

It is love that should drive Christian teens to date, but it should not be the shallow version of love. When you date it should be taken seriously. You should know the person you are dating and know their beliefs.

You should check your potential boyfriend against the values listed in 1 Corinthians. Ask yourself if the two of you are patient and kind to one another. Are you envious of one another? Do you boast about one another or to each other? Go through the characteristics to measure your relationship.

Click here to continue reading.

Kelli Mahoney is an experienced Christian Youth worker and published writer. Kelli has been working with Christian Teens for almost as long as she has been a Christian. She started out at a leader with the Senior High Ministry at Calvary Church in Naperville, Illinois and eventually worked at the Administrator for the NXT, or Senior High Ministry. Kelli also has significant experience working with troubled teens through her work in Juvenile Probation and mental health counseling. Visit her blog here: http://christianteens.about.com/b/

Rebekah Speaks Today: “You may find the right person to marry when you’re least expecting it.”

Hit movies, novels and TV dramas all seem to want you to think that they have the right answers when it comes to attracting a good guy. But you might be surprised to know that Rebekah had all the answers, even 4,000 years ago. She attracted a soul mate without trying at all — as should be the case.

It’s not that Rebekah didn’t care how she looked. In fact, the Bible talks about her rare beauty. But her life wasn’t consumed with her looks or with trying to attract a guy. Her life was consumed with serving others and God. Her physical appearance wasn’t flawed by her character. She evidently spent more time working on her inner beauty than her outer beauty.

And guess what! Rebekah was exactly the type of girl Isaac wanted and his father’s servant went searching for. He wasn’t looking for someone obsessively boy crazy or a flirt. He was looking for something different.

It’s hard not to be consumed in finding or maintaining relationships. And it’s tough not to spend these years in anxious worry about who likes you or whom you like. But God has a much better way: the worry-free path of obedience, trust and gentle grace.

Just Like You
OK, so you say you’re not worried about finding the perfect guy, but you’re not planning on being a nun, either. So you wonder, How exactly do I go about attracting a godly man? Here are a few things that worked for Rebekah:

  • Don’t try to be noticed. Rebekah wasn’t asking for attention. She was just doing her job. She didn’t hide, but she didn’t go out of her way to try to get noticed, either.
  • Make every day count. Rebekah must have made it a point to look nice each and every trip to the well. She always brought her best personality, attitude and appearance.
  • Guard your purity. Abraham’s servant immediately sensed Rebekah’s purity. Purity encompassed who she was as a young woman. This purity made her more attractive for the man God would bring across her path.
  • Put others first. Often those who give the most to serve others seem to experience blessings as a result. Don’t be so obsessed with pursuing a godly guy that you edge and elbow yourself to the front of every line, on every stage and into every supposedly cool crowd. Instead, let your service do the talking.

Think About It
Are you the kind of girl that a godly guy would be interested in? What areas of your life need improvement to first bring you closer to God and then to make you more spiritually attractive to others? Spend some time seriously thinking about these questions. Pray about them this month.

Ask God to help you start becoming the godly woman right now that your future husband will need.

Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.

In Luke 22:24-26, we find Jesus teaching His disciples about service. Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.”

Let’s take a closer look at what’s going on in this passage. This conversation occurred soon after Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. He had modeled service to them right before they sat down to eat the Last Supper. Their feet were probably still damp, and what do we find them doing? Arguing about who was the greatest! Instead of working to out-serve each other, they were duking it out to be number one.

It sounds like things weren’t very different in Jesus’ day then they are today. Our culture still values being number one. The world loves to teach that in order to be the greatest, you have to be the best. I’m sure you feel plenty of pressure to earn your significance by being the best athlete or the best student or even the best Christian in your church or youth group. But Jesus didn’t teach us to put all of our effort toward being number one. The greatest in His kingdom will be those who take time to serve.

Choosing to serve others was countercultural in Jesus’ day, and it remains countercultural today. Living a life of service to others isn’t easy. It is difficult to put the needs of others ahead of our own, especially in a world that teaches “it’s all about me.” Even so, Jesus calls us to follow His example in this way in order to draw people toward Him.

Are you willing to live counter-culturally by serving others instead of yourself? Will you seek to be “number one” in God’s kingdom by serving those around you? Tell me about it.

John Shea graduated from college with high honors, accepted a job at a major company in New York, earning $60,000 a year, was offered admission to numerous prestigious law schools, and full-ride scholarships from several – all by the age of 17. CollegePlus! provides opportunity for students to exceed cultural expectations for young people by equipping them with tools that are essential for college success, but, more importantly, for success in life. Shea, a former CollegePlus! student, is a remarkable example of a young man who has defied cultural “norms” and achieved tremendous accomplishments as a result.

Wall Street Journal At Age 7?
John Shea did not start out exceptional. “When I was four or five, I was a very inattentive, chaotic student,” he admits. He had problems reading and hated to write. His mother began home schooling him in first grade, and she invested hours in teaching him to read. Surprisingly, Shea found he loved to read. In fact, he began reading the Wall Street Journal every day, as a seven-year-old. By the age of 12, he was reading War and Peace. He participated in an online literature class with high school and college students worldwide through Angelicum Academy, and was retroactively granted college credits for his work. At the age of 15, he had already earned 18 college credits.

Enter CollegePlus!
Shea’s mother attended a home school conference, heard a presentation of CollegePlus! and convinced him to consider it. “I like to get the most value for my effort,” Shea said. “When I heard I could be knocking off years of college for the same amount of work I was already doing, I got pretty excited.” As a 15-year-old, he jumped into CLEP-testing. “It was great! The flexibility was wonderful. I earned 60 credits’ worth of CLEPs in six months.” When the time came for Shea to transfer his credits to Thomas Edison State College, he was surprised that they accepted all 80+ credits. “By that time, I had developed a very focused, very efficient method of studying. I could study a subject for a day or two, and have a good grasp of the material.” Speed-reading and the memory techniques he had learned in the early stages of CollegePlus! served to give him exceptional advantages in studying for his TESC courses. Shea graduated in the spring of 2007, as a 17-year-old bachelor’s holder. He received the Arnold Fletcher award for “exceptional achievement in independent learning,” along with a 4.0 GPA.

As he assessed his future options, Shea said he realized that “I really had a passion for debate, I liked to read, I enjoyed public speaking and working with people.” This combination caused him to consider law as the path God had chosen for him. His next step was taking the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). He received an excellent score, in the 98th percentile. However, he chose not to jump into more school right away.

Success in the Workplace
Instead, he began looking for valuable work experience. The opportunity to work in Manhattan at Thomson Reuters Markets presented itself, and he interviewed for the position. “All the interviewer wanted to see was that I had a bachelor’s. He cared more about my smile, my work ethic, and that I was trustworthy, than which institute I graduated from.” He was offered a job at Thomson Reuters making $60,000 a year. “As a 17-year-old kid, that was pretty exciting!” Shea knew very little about accounting, but he was now a balance sheet analyst. He worked hard – implementing speed-reading and memory techniques – to learn “fairly intense revenue accounting, in about a month’s time.” Shea excelled in his job, and used creative problem-solving ideas to save his company time and money. College graduates in their mid- to late-twenties interned for Thomson Reuters, and looked up to him because he had a job at their “dream company.” They attended Ivy League colleges, and most had graduated at the tops of their classes. “These were people who, by conventional wisdom, had achieved the highest education possible; yet, they were coming to me for advice … I didn’t have the heart to tell them I was only 17,” Shea said.

Law School
He chose to attend Ave Maria School of Law, on a full scholarship, “because of their focus on core values, Christian principles, and the Natural Law tradition … I felt that God was calling me to be His lawyer, not just any lawyer, and Ave Maria seemed like a perfect fit for that goal.” Shea has finished his first year of law school, 6th in his class of 124, and in two years, he’ll be graduating with his doctorate at the same time most students are just finishing their undergraduate degrees. For now, he is walking the path God has marked out for him, and is using his talents for God’s glory.

Think Outside the Box!
“Don’t be bound to the expectations of the culture,” Shea encourages, “Try not to compare yourself to other people your age; instead, compare yourself to those you want to be like.” Those who work hard, display strong character, and set themselves apart from a mediocre generation of young people are those who will excel in all that they do. John Shea is a perfect example of this, and his young life testifies to the faithfulness of God in the lives of those who dedicate themselves to Him.