Why a strategic plan, not just random activity, is needed to disciple kids
In a world of video games, sports, social networking and self-centeredness, it might be easy to overlook this simple reality: Even kids want to know, “What on earth am I here for?” It doesn’t surface as a deep theological discussion, and you rarely have a child come up to you and articulate that question. But kids want to know that their life means something. They want to know that they matter.
I have given my life to helping kids make this connection, to helping them understand they are God’s masterpiece and that God has a specific plan and purpose just for them.
Think about it—what if all our kids embraced this truth at a young age? At Saddleback Kids, we have a simple ministry objective that gives kids the opportunity to know what on earth they are here for. That objective is reflected in our vision statement: “Connecting kids to God and others.”
Discovering God’s purpose for their lives should be your No. 1 youth-ministry task
What on earth am I here for?” That’s the question every teenager on the planet asks at one time or another. And while your youth ministry plays a variety of roles, helping students wrestle through this question is, in my experience, its most important task. (Helping your youth successfully toilet-paper the senior pastor’s house is a close second!)
At Saddleback Church, we’ve landed on the following simple phrase to help our teenagers recognize God’s purpose for their lives:
“I am here to express Christ, His kingdom, and the purposes of His church to the world around me.”
Why the ethnic church needs to change its focus from prosperity to biblical priorities.
For many in the ethnic church, the kingdom of God is the means and spiritual impetus to abandon poverty while embracing prosperity and unprecedented favor. But the church does not exist to primarily articulate a message of financial and societal empowerment. Although these elements may be an extension and a fringe benefit to faithfulness and godly living, the kingdom of God is not about the square footage of our homes or the size of our church buildings.
The primary purpose of the ethnic church in America is not to lift up our people but to lift up our Lord. We must lead a call for the entire body to embrace the true definition of the kingdom of God, which, according to St. Paul, is "Righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (Rom.14:17, NKJV).
Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles from Robert Ricciardelli about Women’s Liberation in Christ. Click here for Part 1.
Twisted Scriptures, Twisted Doctrine
When we look for sound doctrine, we must look to the full counsel of God, the full Word of God interpreted through Scriptures that transcend circumstance, culture, and generations. Here are just a few examples of what many have been taught, as well as what the Lord actually says about His daughters.
“And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord.”
Love is the source of power for our successful Christian life. Galatians 5:6 even tells us that our faith works through love.
Satan is continuously sending situations our way to tempt us to yield to the opposite of love, which is selfishness.
As we study God's Word, we learn what authentic love is and what it is not. First Corinthians 13 reveals its attributes: "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails" (vv. 4-8, NKJV).
In God’s Kingdom, women are free to move in His authority to bring about His will upon the earth.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series.
I love the gift the Lord has given to the world in His creation called woman. I am so excited about what the Lord is doing in releasing women to fulfill all He has called them to be.
I am passionate to do my part in encouraging both men and women to reexamine all that we have been taught about women, and to align ourselves with what the Father says about His precious daughters.
It was a privilege for me to be able to serve the women of South Africa. It started in East London as I was the Keynote Speaker for the Women’s Aglow National Convention before going on to Johannesburg. It was so wonderful to hear of all the various ministries that the women of Aglow have brought into their communities. They serve in senior centers and orphanages, as well as serving those who are on their deathbeds of aids and other diseases. They support feeding programs and shelters for those in need. Wherever they go, they bring the love of Jesus in a relevant way to the glory of God.