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Sr High Parents update – Oct 26

Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments



If you have ever used a camera that has a manual focus, you understand what it is like to adjust that lens and that you can choose what to focus on within that picture frame.  As we go through life, we have the choice of what to focus and if we choose to focus on the wrong things, our view of God becomes blurry. Last night we looked at some things that make our view of God blurry and how to combat that.  We also looked at some things that we can do in order to bring our focus back onto God.  Here are some of the material that your students may have covered in their small groups.


  • To help the students understand that once they choose to focus on other things, it can make their view of God blurry
  • To help them realise that they need to focus on God and see Him clearer every chance that they get

Dig a Little Deeper…

  • What are some things that make your view of God blurry?
  • What are some things that make your vision of God clear?
  • Work hard to define God more clearly by talking about more attributes of God … we covered a few in the message, but what are some more?
  • What are some reasons why worship helps make your vision of God clearer?
  • If it is the agenda of Satan to make your view of God blurry … what are you doing to combat that?



  • “God is Love.” (1 John 4:8)
  • “His greatness is unsearchable.” (Ps. 145:3)
  • “His understanding is beyond measure.” (Ps. 147:5)
  • “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” (Ps.139:6)
  • “You shall have no other Gods before me.” Ex 20:3
  • “The Lord sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground.” (Ps 147:6)




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Sr High Parents Update – Oct 19

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments


There is a story in scripture about Jesus in the boat with His disciples.  They found themselves in the middle of a storm and they were worried for their lives.  Their attention was on the storm and once they shifted their attention onto Jesus (who was in the boat with them), everything changed.  The youth are in the middle of a storm of distractions, temptations and struggles, and it can be overwhelming sometimes.  There are many things in their lives that are screaming for their attention and they need to allow God to become their focus.  Last night we encouraged them that they need to focus on Christ rather than the distractions (storms) that are going on around them.  Please take a look at the small group material below if you re interested.



  • To help the students understand the story of the disciples in the boat with Jesus in Mark 4:35-41
  • To help the students understand the distractions that are out there and how those things will draw them away from relationship with God
  • To help them understand why God needs to be their number one focus

Conversation Starters…

  • Have you ever used a microscope and seen how the focus works?
  • Does anyone wear glasses … tell us about the difference when you wear them or not?
  • Have you ever been in a boat or canoe in a rainstorm or in big waves?

Dig a Little Deeper…

  • Brainstorm and write down a list of things that you are focused on in your life
  • Out of this list, identify some things that could have a negative influence on your FOCUS on God
  • You could have the students share those things
  • You could have them discuss why those things could be a distraction and become the wrong focus
  • You could write them all down and discuss them as a group, or you could go through with each individual depending on your group
  • You could have the group brainstorm and discuss ideas of how to combat the temptation to focus on wrong things
  • The group could brainstorm and discuss ways to stay focused on God despite these distractions


  • You could share something in your own life that has been a distraction in the past and how you dealt with that or how you are still dealing with it
  • You could share how keeping your focus on God has helped you not to get caught up in other wrong things



  • Talk about ways to combat the distractions
  • Talk about ways to keep focused on God
  • Pray for God’s help or for specific issues



35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!  ”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Mark 4:35-41




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Sr High Parents update – October 12

Posted by on Oct 14, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments




There is an incredible story in John 13 of when Jesus was washing the disciples feet.  He came to Peter and Peter was not comfortable with Jesus doing this.  Jesus replied: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”  I absolutely love Peter’s “carefree,” “no questions asked,” “All in” response as he replies: “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”  Peter did not care about the details, or what it would cost him, he just wanted to be close to God and didn’t want anything to hold him back.  This is such an inspiring story and last night we will be challenged the students to model the life of Peter in this moment where he says to Jesus … All in!  Here are some of the questions that the youth may have discussed in their small groups at youth.




  • To help the youth understand the life of Peter and why this moment in his life is inspirational
  • To challenge the students to pursue relationship with Christ and to trust Him
  • Hopefully to talk about things that may be holding them back
  • To see if there is an opportunity to pray with the students


Conversation Starters…

  • You could talk about the retreat
  • You could ask what people did during thanksgiving
  • You could ask if people prefer McDonalds or Thanksgiving dinner
  • Have you ever shot a gun before


Dig a Little Deeper…

  • In your own words … describe the story of what happened between Jesus and Peter
  • Would you say that you find it easy or difficult to trust that God’s Word is true
  • Do you find it a challenge to pursue God
  • What are some things that could hold people back from pursuing God and saying “all in”
  • Have you ever felt like that moth stuck in the spider’s web?
  • Are there some things that you are wrestling with that you feel are preventing you from pursuing God with everything?



  • There could be something in your own life that God has helped you get free from that could be an encouragement to your group
  • You may have a friend that was “stuck” and God set them free and you could share their story
  • You may want to talk about your own life and how when you pursue and trust God that He is faithful




  • I think that praying with the students may be best … some of them may really need God to help them get free from things that are holding them back



  • John 13:6-9
    • 6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”  7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”  8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”  Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”  “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”





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Sr High Parents Update – Sept 28th

Posted by on Sep 29, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments


Last night we had Darryl Siemens (the youth intern for the summer) shared an awesome message with the students.  Here are some of his thoughts.

“There are times in our lives where the line of how we are to live becomes blurry and undefined. We come across situations where we do not know how a follower of Christ should act. When this happens, we need to seek help from Jesus himself. The question becomes, “What does Jesus say about the line?” Ultimately, Jesus reveals that there are at least two things we need to be constantly relying on to know how we are to live our lives: Scripture, and the Holy Spirit. The message last night showed how both of these have been given as a gift to us so that the line may be made clear.”

Below, you will find some of the questions that were discussed within the small groups.




What does Jesus say about the line?

Sept. 28, 2011



  • One goal tonight is to help the students to understand that we are not left on our own to figure-out how to live, but we have been given the word of God (the bible) and God himself to help us.
  • It is also our goal to help the students to understand that we need to be constantly relying on Scripture and the Holy Spirit to make the line clear and to do what is right

Conversation Starters…

  • Ask your group how their week has been going
  • Ask if they have ever faced a moral dilemma where the line of how to act was blurry and undefined

Dig a Little Deeper…

  • How does the line between following Christ and not following him sometimes become blurry and undefined? Why does this happen?
  • Why is our reliance on Scripture and the Holy Spirit so important to Jesus?
  • How does knowing what Scripture says about how we should live help make the line more clear?
  • How does having the Holy Spirit in our lives help make the line more clear?


  • You could share about your own journey where the line of how to live as a follower of Christ was blurry and undefined
  • You could share about a time when the Bible has helped you through a situation
  • You could share about a time when you had to rely on the Holy Spirit


  • You could talk about how you and your students might encourage each other to rely on Scripture and the Holy Spirit
  • You could talk with your students about making a plan to pray often so that the Holy Spirit would give them guidance on how to follow Christ
  • You could take some time to answer any questions your students may have about the “blurry and undefined” areas of life and try to give a biblical response


Here are some passages where Jesus reveals the importance of Scripture and the Holy Spirit as guides in our lives.

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17)

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)







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Sr High Parents Update – Sept 21st

Posted by on Sep 22, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments


We had a great time last night at FUEL Sr High.  This has been the strongest year so far since coming to NorthPark.  There is definitely a momentum that is happening and we just want to continue to build on it as the year goes forward.  If you are interested, please take a look at some of the small group material that your students may have covered last night.





How close do I live to the line?

Sept 21 2011



Once we define the line, cross the line, and follow Christ there are constant temptation to go back over that line and dabble in sins of the past or experiment with things that we know are wrong.  The huge battles that many teenagers face lies within the question: “How close do I live to the line?”  They need to be reminded that a Christian life is one that is marked by a journey towards becoming like Christ and also a journey away from sin.  God desires that His children would not “sit on the fence” about their faith, but that we would pursue Him wholeheartedly and move as far away from the line as possible.



One goal is to remind the students to not “sit on the fence” about their faith, but to challenge them to run after God with everything that they have.

It is also our goal to look at 3 different ways of viewing our walk with God (Journey, Race, Pursuit), and inspire them to run after God.


Conversation Starters …

Ask your group to share a high/low of the past week

Ask if they have an embarrassing moment like Kevin described (climbing the fence)


Dig a little deeper …

Describe in your own words what it means to “sit on the fence”?

What are some reasons why Christian teenagers chose to live “on the fence” about their faith?

Do you have any other ways of describing your walk with God other than a Journey, Race, or Pursuit?

What analogy do you best relate to and why?

Why do you think that God describes it as a “narrow road” in Matthew 7:13-14?

Do you think that in order to pursue God, you need to be turning away from sin, or are the 2 things unrelated?


Personal …

You could share part of your own journey that supports tonight’s topic


Applications …

You could pray specifically for those in your group who want to pursue God wholeheartedly, but know that it is going to be tough

You could pray for friends who do not have relationship with Christ

You could remind your group that they do not have to walk through this alone and be supportive to each other


Scriptures …


13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  Matthew 7:13-14


1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”  Hebrews 11:1-3


13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jer 29:13









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SR HIGH Parents Update – Sept 14th

Posted by on Sep 15, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments

Define It

Sept 14 2011



Here is an idea of some of the teaching that your students received last night at Sr High and some of the questions that they may have discussed in their small groups…

When we choose to follow Christ, we take a step over the “line in the sand” and we commit our lives to Him.  For many students, there is some uncertainty of what that line is and how they define it.  We live in a world that has a hard time deciding what is right and what is wrong.  The answer to all of their questions about what it means to follow Christ and how to live their lives is found within scripture.  The Bible is the standard that we need to live by despite how the world lives.  Tonight we are going to look at the Bible and what makes it so awesome and why it is necessary to use it to define that line.



It is the focus of tonight to help the students define what is right and what is wrong by realizing that Scripture defines that line.

It would also be our goal to show them how necessary and important God’s Word is and that they need to make it a priority in their lives


Conversation Starters …

Get to know your group a little bit by asking names and random questions

Have you heard of the term “line in the sand” before?


Dig a little deeper …

Describe in your own words what this series is about …

What makes the Bible different from other books?

Why does reading your Bible need to be a priority?

Why is scripture so important to help us “define the line?”

What are some things that the world around us uses to define the line?


Personal …

You could share about your own journey with Bible reading and some of the struggles that you have faced

You could share about how the Bible has helped you through a situation

You could talk about why scripture is important to you


Applications …

You could talk about a plan to help students read their Bible consistently

You could pray with your group that God would help in this area

You could see if anyone does not have a Bible


Scripture …

Here are some of the scriptures that are helpful to refer to

“all scripture is breathed out by God.” (2 Tim 3:16)

“faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17)

“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matt 4:4







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Teenagers are fleeing facebook … will they flock to the church?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2011 in Parents, Youth Workers | 0 comments


Teenagers are fleeing facebook … will they flock to the church?


I read an article that was explaining how teenagers are fleeing Facebook (1).  One line in the article was “there are too many chaperones at this party.”  Facebook began with university students and then teenagers and now their grandparents commenting on photos.  I also listened to an interview with Paul Robertson who was explaining how social media has made it difficult for youth to have legitimate face-to-face relationships because they are so used to the online interactions that they have with their friends (2).  I am not entirely convinced that Facebook will shut down because there are no teens on it, or that teens are totally incapable of having a conversation with another human being, but it has caused me to think.  My prayer is and always has been, that the youth would flock to the church and that they would not be disappointed with what they find there.  I pray that they would be able to find relationship with Jesus Christ, relationship with the body of Christ, and that they would discover the church to be a place that embraces them and challenges them boldly with the gospel of Jesus Christ.


Relationship with Jesus

In Genesis 33, we learn that when Moses went into the “tent of meeting” and had a face-to-face encounter with God, he was changed forever. As teenagers enter our churches, they need to encounter Jesus wherever they look.  They need to see His glory revealed through our worship.  They need to see His character revealed through our people.  They need to see the truth about Jesus Christ through the biblical teaching that is being presented.   They need to see the His holiness and be convicted of their sin and recognize their need of a Savior through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our meetings.  They need to see His love and compassion and grace lived out through each one of us.  We cannot manufacture or manipulate any of this, but we need to cry out to God and allow Him to form us and make us into the church that represents Him well. He will help us to become a church that reveals Jesus Christ to those whom we interact with, and through that they can a find face-to-face relationship with Jesus Christ.


Relationship with the Bride of Christ

There is a desire among the youth culture for authentic relationships, and I believe that they can find that refreshing relationship through Jesus Christ and His Bride the church.  I have heard many times over my years of youth ministry: “how can we compete with what the world has to offer?”  Well, the bottom line is that we can’t and the refreshing thing is that we do not need to.  We have the opportunity to introduce these “relationship hungry” students to Jesus Christ and invite them to be a part of a group of people who love and care for each other through the biblical model of the church.  What an incredible opportunity that we have as leaders to be available to be used by God in this way.  We have the opportunity to represent Christ well and build relationship with these youth and mentor them, pray for them, support them, cry with them, rejoice with them, teach them and they will be able to find that deep, authentic and biblical relationship with other people that their heart longs for (Romans 12:9-21).  We have this incredible opportunity to serve Christ and represent Him well and to be the Church that He has called us to be, and to be a place where these youth can flock to and find what they are looking for.


My Prayer: “Dear God, may the youth of this city and nation who are broken and hurting find what they are looking for as they encounter your church.  Please help your church to represent you well, and please let these youth flock to the church in droves – Amen.”





(1) http://blogs.forbes.com/davidmartin/2011/06/16/one-simple-rule-why-teens-are-fleeing-facebook/

(2) Having a real relationship in today’s culture: Paul Robertson http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2uU8ySSy-ew














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Sr High – OUTLOUD week 5 – Global Stories Night

Posted by on Jun 9, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments

Last night we had the privilege to listen to Alan Ssemgenyi share some of his experiences that he had growing up in the country of Uganda.  It was incredible to listen to him explain how those tough experiences caused him to trust more in God.  It was very moving to hear him describe how he came to faith in Jesus and how his deep relationship with God has helped him through his life.  Below, you will see some great questions that were discussed in the small groups.  It is a great opportunity for you to discuss with your teenager some of the struggles that people face around the world.


Global Stories

Alan Ssemgenyi

Founder of Child Life Network



  1. Alan’s story is one of living in fear as a young person.   Although you heard Alan describe how it impacted him, how would a situation like what he faced have impacted you were you Alan?   What fears about God would it create in you?



  1. How could a loving God actually let people like Alan face such circumstances?  What can we learn about God from Alan’s story?



  1. Although it seems ridiculous to think that what we face could be as ugly, there are many situations right here in our community where young people live through traumatic experiences that breed fear in them.   Where have you seen it happen?    How does Jesus want us to respond to people who face trauma?


  1. Many people live their life in places of constant war and poverty.  How might we as Canadians be God’s agents for change in a world with such awful things happening.







Around the world, an estimated 300,000 children under the age of 18 are currently participating in armed conflicts in approximately 30 countries.

There are 15 million aids orphans in sub saharan africa alone

More than 2.5 billion people lack basic sanitation

India has approximately 50% of the world’s poor people within its borders

About 30% of all children in the developing world suffer from stunted growth due to malnitrution.

Source:  www.cozay.com


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Sr High – OUTLOUD week 2

Posted by on May 12, 2011 in Parents | 0 comments


living your faith






Basically, I did the best job that I could to communicate the doctrine of Justification to the youth.  I believe that as the youth gain a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian, it will help them to live their faith OUTLOUD.  Take some time with your student to review some of the scriptures and these questions will help you to discuss and hopefully understand what it means to be justified by God.  What an incredible study!




For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9


  • Have you ever had to pay a ticket or a fine?
    • What would it have been like if you did not have to pay that?
    • How should the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for your sin affect the way you live?


“those he called, he also justified.”

Romans 8:30


  • Do you find it easy or difficult to believe that God could declare you “not guilty” forever in His sight?
  • Do you think that there is anything that you can “do” to be justified?
  • How should this “status change” affect the way you live?


“Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”

Galatians 2:16


  • Do you find yourself trying to gain God’s love at times by your own works?
  • Are there times where you feel guilty and ashamed of the things that you have done in the past?
  • What would it take for you to truly accept that you are “justified?”


“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”

Romans 3:20


  • Have you ever wondered if God is still punishing you because of sins that you have done in the past?
  • How does the doctrine of justification help you deal with those feelings?






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