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Tricky Questions (1 Timothy 2:11-15)

Women should learn quietly and submissively. I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result. But women will be saved through childbearing, assuming they continue to live in faith, love, holiness, and modesty. (1 Timothy 2:11-15) Someone once said, "It is not the things which I do not understand in the Bible which tro...

May 20, 2019

Clothes and Character (1 Timothy 2:9,10)

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do. (1 Timothy 2;9,10) Question. Have you ever bought an item of clothing simply because it bore a "label"? If so, you probably spent a lot more than you would've had you bought a si...

May 13, 2019

Anger and Quarelling (1 Timothy 2:8)

"I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling" (1 Timothy 2:8)In one sense there is nothing particularly important about what posture we adopt when we pray - God hears us regardless.On the other hand, our posture not only communicates something to the one we're talking with, it also affects our own attitude of heart. Try praying to God with clenched fists and then try praying with open palms. Or try praying standing up and then pray kneel...

May 6, 2019

Who's Choosing Who? (Timothy 2:7)

And I have been chosen as a preacher and apostle to teach the Gentiles this message about faith and truth. I’m not exaggerating—just telling the truth. (1 Timothy 2:7) I'm sure at some stage you've found yourself in that potentially awkward and embarrassing situation where two people are picking teams and you're part of the group waiting to be picked. Every time one of these team leaders pick someone else, they essentially reject you. And so it goes on, and so you pray, "Lord please don'...

April 29, 2019

Just at the Right Time (1 Timothy 2:4-6)

[God] wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, there is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time. (1 Timothy 2:4-6) Those who have studied marketing will be familiar with the term "elevator pitch". An elevator pitch is a succinct description of your product followed by a persuasive explanation of why the customer ne...

April 22, 2019

The One Thing I Really Want to Ask You (1 Timothy 2:2,3)

Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior... (1 Timothy 2:2,3) What do you think is one of the first things I look for when giving young people leadership responsibilities? Most will assume it concerns the quality of their walk with God, and they'd be right to a point, but the question I use to determine this is not about how often they pray or read their Bible. I sim...

April 15, 2019

Your Primary Duty (1 Timothy 2:1)

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. (1 Timothy 2:1) When we're first given the responsibility of leading people our focus easily turns to the face to face responsibilities we've taken on - running programmes, leading Bible studies, being a listener/advisor etc. But here Paul urges Timothy to do one thing above all else - to pray for those he's leading. It's easy to forget this important responsibility. Peop...

April 8, 2019

Finding the Leadership "Sweet Spot"

I'm not a golfer but I know enough to know that there is a sweet spot" when hitting a golf ball. When you find it the ball flies longer and straighter than when you don't. Cricketers and footballers talk about the same concept. When you hit the "sweet spot" there is an effect that goes far beyond the effort expended. In Christian leadership there is also a sweet spot. It's that place where feeling inadequate and being full of faith are held in perfect tension. It shows itself when we are facing...

April 3, 2019

Competency vs Character (1 Timothy 1:19,20)

Cling to your faith in Christ, and keep your conscience clear. For some people have deliberately violated their consciences; as a result, their faith has been shipwrecked. Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples. I threw them out and handed them over to Satan so they might learn not to blaspheme God. (1 Timothy 1:19,20) When we start out as leaders for the first time, the thing we're most afraid of is being labelled "incompetent". Failure is hard enough to cope with but having our failure made ...

April 1, 2019

Book Review: "Purpose Driven Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields

Although it's now over 20 years old, Doug Fields' Purpose Driven Youth Ministry is still a classic youth ministry text that is worth a read if you are starting out in youth ministry. It contains a lot of useful insights and suggestions but its real value is in the mindset it communicates. Reading this book impresses on the reader the need to be purposeful in what they do. It's not enough to drift from week to week with little sense of where one is headed. Instead, the author strongly advocates ...

March 28, 2019

Fighting in the Lord's Battle (1 Timothy 1:18)

Timothy, my son, here are my instructions for you, based on the prophetic words spoken about you earlier. May they help you fight well in the Lord’s battles. (1 Timothy 1:18) The roughest turbulence I've ever faced on board an aircraft occurred a few years ago on a flight from Nelson to Christchurch. We were flying over mountains when we were hit by a sudden first jolt that saw most instinctively grab the armrest. In the seat in front of me was a young toddler who let out a howl that reflected...

March 25, 2019

Responding to Friday's Events...

Occasionally things happen in our world that are hard to ignore when we gather for our weekly programme. We know we can't pretend nothing has happened but we're hesitant about focussing on it more than is necessary or are afraid of saying something that might be misinterpreted or misunderstood. What happened in Christchurch on Friday is one of those occurrences where we are challenged about what to say to our young people. Some of you will have already made decisions around this as you met this...

March 18, 2019

Faults & Failings, Mercy & Honour (1 Timothy 1:15-17)

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen. (1 Timoth...

March 18, 2019

3 Misleading Symptoms of Healthy and Sustainable Youth Ministries

I recall some years back a friend being diagnosed with cancer. Some seemingly minor symptoms had emerged that led them to have a check up through which the cancer was discovered. To me they looked outwardly healthy and yet their “health” was deceptive. They needed treatment before what was unseen became evident. Without such treatment any health they were experiencing was not sustainable. This example comes to mind when considering healthy and sustainable youth ministries. We can easily look...

March 13, 2019

The Call to Serve (1 Timothy 1:12-14)

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him, even though I used to blaspheme the name of Christ. In my insolence, I persecuted his people. But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief. Oh, how generous and gracious our Lord was! He filled me with the faith and love that come from Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 1:12-14) One of the more essential attributes you bring with you into youth ministry...

March 11, 2019

Avoiding "Should's" and 'Should Not's" (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

We know that the law is good when used correctly. For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders. The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes ...

March 4, 2019

The Purpose of Bible Study (1 Timothy 1:5-7)

The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. But some people have missed this whole point. They have turned away from these things and spend their time in meaningless discussions. They want to be known as teachers of the law of Moses, but they don’t know what they are talking about, even though they speak so confidently. (1 Timothy 1:5-7) You've possibly heard the saying, "Young people don't c...

February 25, 2019

Wasting Time (1 Timothy 1:3,4)

When I left for Macedonia, I urged you to stay there in Ephesus and stop those whose teaching is contrary to the truth. Don’t let them waste their time in endless discussion of myths and spiritual pedigrees. These things only lead to meaningless speculations, which don’t help people live a life of faith in God. (1 Timothy 1:3,4) I wonder if you’ve ever been tempted to keep a written record of how you use your time in any given week. If you were to take out “necessities” such as school,...

February 18, 2019

Family (1 Timothy 1:2)

I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith. May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace. (1 Timothy 1:2) I recall a conversation with a youth pastor in a provincial city whose young people would at times attend other larger, more exciting youth groups in the city. They loved the larger meetings with the loud worship music and charismatic speakers. While some stopped coming to his youth group others would be gone for a couple of weeks but would always come...

February 11, 2019

Be who you are (1 Timothy 1:1)

This letter is from Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus, appointed by the command of God our Savior and Christ Jesus, who gives us hope. (1 Timothy 1:1) Andi (not her real name) was 17 when I approached her one Sunday and asked her to be part of our leadership development team. Shyly she looked at the ground and quietly said, "Oh...I'm not a leader..." I tried to encourage her, saying the leaders had many different gifts and personalities. "I see you as a potential leader", I said.  Why not ju...

February 4, 2019

Youth Ministry in Spirit and in Truth

Conversations of Confusion: It’s not uncommon to find Jesus talking at complete cross purposes (no pun intended) with someone struggling to understand what He is saying. No gospel better illustrates “conversations of confusion” than John’s gospel. It is a referring theme – Jesus says something and people assume he is talking in material, literal terms when He is in fact revealing deep spiritual truth. One of these is found in John 4. Jesus talks about water with a Samaritan woman at a...

January 31, 2019

Time in Timothy

One of the more enjoyable youth programmes I've ever run is with a small group of young people who were eager to dive into Scripture verse by verse and grow closer to God. We called it the Timothy Club and we simply sat in a circle, read a portion of 1 and then 2 Timothy and allowed conversation to flow. Why 1 & 2 Timothy? Because these are letters from an older more experienced leader (Paul) to a young leader (Timothy), just starting out. As such these books provide ideal fuel for mentoring you...

January 29, 2019

Book Review: "Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry" by Doug Fields

"Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry" is not my favourite youth ministry book but it is my go-to recommendation for youth pastors or key leaders just starting out. If you're looking for programme ideas or pointers on developing your leadership skills, then keep looking - this is not the book for you. In the last chapter he writes, "do yourself a favour... meet with a veteran youth worker and ask her to help you in your leadership position." Throughout the book he adopts this role himself, i...

January 24, 2019

Grave engravings

I heard of a pastor who was appointed to lead a church. As he stood to preach for the first time he noticed the following engraved into the pulpit: "Sir, we would see Jesus." The quote comes from John 12:21 and refers to an occasion when some Greeks, in Jerusalem for the Passover, approached Philip and ask to meet with Jesus. For the pastor, the engraving served as a grave reminder every time he stood to open God's Word and preach. His task was not to impress people with his knowledge and abili...

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