Throughout the book of Acts you see the power of God on display. One of the places you see this power on display very clearly is in chapter 19 as Paul ministers in Ephesus. Recently I had the opportunity to preach from this chapter during our Sunday morning worship services. Below is that sermon. I hope it’s a blessing and challenge to you.
At the end of every year I like to share the top posts here on my site. These are posts that I wrote during the year that had the highest views. Below are my top four posts from 2016.
What I Teach My Students About Alcohol. It’s not a surprise this was my most read post from this year. In this post I share three points I make when I teach students about alcohol from God’s Word. Included in this post is a message I shared this year on Noah and him getting drunk after the flood.
Biblical Principles For Teen Dating. Earlier this year I shared a message with my highs school students on dating. Since dating is never mentioned in the Bible (it didn’t even exist back then) I shared principles from the Bible that should be applied to dating. This post is basically that message condescend into a shorter post.
Freebie: Acts Teaching Series. I enjoy sharing things I have done with our students here on my site. A few years back I did a eight week teaching series on the book of Acts. I decided to share that entire series for free here on my site. It was great hearing how other people took it and used it in their ministries. I hope more people continue to come across it and use it themselves.
Book Review: Can I Smoke Pot? This was one of the best books I read this past year. It’s a very short book on how Christians should approach the topic of marijuana. I would encourage every Christian to take the time and read this book. It will help you understand what the Bible says in regards to this issue and how we should respond.
It has been a great year of posts. Looking forward to posting more this coming year!
This past Sunday was Student Ministry Sunday at our church. This is a Sunday where our student ministry takes over the weekend worship services. One of my favorite things about this Sunday is that I get to preach in all the services. I continued our Acts series by talking about the beauty and ugliness of the early church from Acts 4:32-5:11. Below is the video of that sermon.
Last week in our student ministry we finished our last teaching series for the school year. Each school year we try and cover at least two books of the Bible (usually an Old Testament and New Testament book). Earlier this year we went through the book of Jonah, which was one of my favorite teaching series of all time, and for the past six weeks we have been going through the book of Acts. You might be wondering how we fit the entire book of Acts into just six weeks. I’m glad you asked. That’s why I am writing this post.
To cover the book of Acts in six weeks we combined two things: teaching and personal reading. Lets talk first about teaching. Over the six weeks students heard talks from various parts of Acts. I didn’t just randomly chose parts of Acts to teach on. Instead I looked through the book of Acts and picked out six different passages that seem to be key points in the narrative but also passages that highlighted something I felt like the students in our context needed to hear and understand. The six places in Acts we taught from were: Intro, Promise, and Call (Acts 1:1-11), Early Church (Acts 4:23-37), Stephen Martydom (Acts 6:5, 8-7:60), Paul’s Conversion (Acts 8:1-3; 9:1-9, 15), Paul and Silas Rescued from Prison (Acts 16:22-34), and Paul in Athens (Acts 17:16-34). Feel free to click here to listen to these talks from our high school ministry mid-week services. There were so many more passages in Acts I wanted to cover but with only six weeks I couldn’t. That’s why we didn’t just settle with teaching from these six places in Acts and forgot the rest. Instead, as I said before, we combined the teaching with personal reading.
For the personal reading part of this series we broke down the book of Acts into a forty day reading plan. Each day had students reading about half a chapter while a few days had them reading an entire chapter. We then put this reading plan on a bookmark sized card and called it the “Acts Reading Challenge” (click here to see one of these cards that was completed by a student). We gave these out at the beginning of the series and challenged students to read the entire book of Acts on their own before the end of the series. Once completed we asked students to turn their cards back in to receive a gift. I wish I could say all our students took this challenge but some did and I couldn’t be more proud of those students that took the time to read God’s Word.
This was the first time I have ever combined teaching and personal reading for a series and I plan to do it again next time we go through a book of the Bible with our students. Like any plan there were things I liked and things I believe we did well, but there were also things that didn’t work well and we will need to adjust next time around. However, I enjoyed being able teach from specific places in the book of Acts while equipping and encouraging our students to read the rest on their own.
We had some pretty good nights in our student ministries this week. For our high school night we changed things up and met in a different room and had an acoustic set for worship instead of the full band. We knew attendance would be down this week due to a band banquet at the local high school so we wanted to meet in a room that was a little smaller so our normal (much bigger) room didn’t feel so empty with a smaller crowd. Below are the details of what we did this week in our student ministries.
What We Did at Porch (High School)
Upfront Game: Mexican Food Trivia. This is a fun little game from Download Youth Ministry. We decided to play this game since this past Tuesday was cinco de mayo.
Acoustic Worship Set List: Made Alive (Citizens & Saints), Hail the King (Citizens & Saints), Brokenness Aside (All Sons and Daughters), and Jesus Paid it All (Kristian Stanfill).
Video: The Skinny of Evangelism (Skit Guys)
Teaching: We finished our Acts series by talking about Paul in Athens from Acts 17:16-34. The main idea we talked about was evangelism and what we can learn about it from Paul’s example in Athens. Click here to listen to the message.
Highlight: The acoustic worship was awesome! I love stripping away most of the instruments, lights, and big stage and having a simple worship set where I can hear the voices of our students singing to Jesus.
What We Did at Edge (Middle School)
Opening Video: Top Soccer Shootout with Scott Sterling
Upfront Game: Stocking Face Tug of War. This was a fun game I ran across online. Basically you buy a few pairs of panty hoses (stocking kind) and tie two pairs together. You bring two students up and have them place the end of the panty hoses on their heads and over their faces. One of the best parts of the game is seeing their faces mashed up inside the panty hose. Then you have them play tug of war with their heads. First person to pull the panty hose off their opponent head wins. I’ve seen some groups do four way tug of war with this game. Click the link above for more details and instructions for this game.
Group Game: King of the Circle. We play this game a few times a year and it’s always a pretty big hit. You tape a circle down on the ground (we just do a square) and you tell all the students to stand inside the circle. Students must place their hands behind their backs and attempt to push others out of the circle. When you get pushed out of the circle you are out. We did separate rounds for guys and girls because the guys get extremely rough in this game (actually some of the girls got pretty rough as well). Click the link above to download the graphic we used for this game.
Teaching: Same as what we did at at Porch with our high school students but a little shorter. Click here to listen to the message from this night.
Highlight: The opening video was a huge hit! We usually do an opening video each night and most of the time they are super funny to our students. However, they loved this one and were going crazy. Some of them were even posting about it on Instagram later that night. We also had a student pray before my talk and when he did he prayed for Scott Sterling from the video…got to love middle school ministry.