For the past two years we’ve done a can food drive. We’ve done a battle of the grades and the sophomores won. So their prize was a music video. This is something that I love to do. And It was so much fun and it’s always great getting to create something with students!!!! I also had a student shoot and edit the video. Love creating opportunities for students to use their talents.

ac

Closer, Farther OR Bubblegum…

 

In light of the recent VMA awards, I wanted to share with you a favorite “goto” lesson I do often with my students. This works as either part of a series or as a “Quick” in between curriculum. 

Lesson Overview:

Purity goes way beyond the body and should be brought up often.  Purity is about the mind, the heart, AND the body.  One of the most difficult parts of navigating life as a teen is trying to figure out practically what living for the Lord means.  Our tendency as those in ministry can be to give our students a list of “do’s and don’ts”  that are really our opinions. You know: DON”T wear that outfit, listen to that music or watch that television show or movie. DO only wear this thing, watch G movies, and listen to worship music.  The problem with that approach is that it can encourage a student to modify their behavior without ever looking at what is going on in their heart. Instead, when we help them look at what they are they putting into their minds through their eyes and ears we can help them navigate if they are filtering it through a Christ centric world view,or if they even want to.

In this lesson you are going to be taking the lyrics of a popular song and go line by line through it asking if students know the reference or what it is about.  If they don’t understand something, you are going to explain it.  The point is to not be judgmental but instead to help them really learn what they are listening to and what it means.  We want them to be honest if the song is bringing them closer to the Lord, away from HIm in what they are thinking on or is it “bubblegum”  (just fluff),

 

Bible Passages:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phil 4:8

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

Prep:

The WEEK before you plan to do this lesson ask students to brainstorm their favorite songs on the radio.  (Blurred Lines, especially the rap version would be perfect for this right now.)  Tell them next week you have a surprise lesson planned.  (You can also pick a song off the radio but it works best if you use current songs students are listening to.  You can pick two or three.  It is up to you if you want to add that you don’t want to work with songs with explicit lyrics. Try to get them to be honest beyond what they think you want to hear.)

Find the lyrics online and print a copy for everyone in small groups the following week.

*Note: It doesn’t hurt to have 2 or 3 songs ready to go just in case they are “quick”  You may need to send a note home to parents letting them know what you are going to do this week.  In addition if a small group leader hasn’t heard the song you pick that is fine.  You might want to encourage them to listen to a snippet so they know the sound.  However,  what’s more important is the prep in making sure they have each read the lyrics and know what it is saying.

Opening Activity (Optional):

Name that song:

Play one or two lines from about 5 to 10 Different Songs.(Depending on the time you want to take.)  You will want them to be a mix of Christian Music, Worship Music, Oldies,  And Even Current Popular Songs (That you know and would consider “positive.”) Do NOT play the whole song!

The person who can name the most songs gets a pack of Bubblegum.

Say Something Like:

Tonight in our small group time we are going to see if you know what you are listening to.  We are going to go line by line through a song that is played often on the radio right now. (Tell them the song)  We are going to decide together if this song helps us learn about God, brings us away from him or is what I call “bubble gum.”  Those are songs that are full of “sugar” they aren’t overtly “bad” but they don’t necessarily help us get closer to the Lord.  Our goal for the evening would be that you can begin to truly pay attention to what you listen to

Move to Small Groups

Open:

We are talking tonight about (insert song) Why do you like the song?

Answers will vary.

Then:

Take the time to walk through the song line by line, explaining the song as you go.

Stop often and make sure they are understanding “hidden” references.  Pull it apart.  However, avoid judging whether or not they “should” be listening to it.  If they ask if you like it, give your opinion. Tell them why you do or don’t like it.  Sometimes you might even say,  ”I understand why it’s so catchy and you like it, but it doesn’t mean it’s a song that is bringing you closer to the Lord.”

Ask:

 

  • What is each line about?
  • Is it obvious or is it an underlying reference to something else?

Don’t judge the song or the thoughts just go through and help students understand it.

Now have them look at the song as a whole and ask:

  • If you are honest does this song help you think about the Lord and grow in your relationship with HIm?

Answers will vary based on the song.

Say Something Like:

I am not attacking your music selection.  I am also not saying you ONLY have to listen to Christian music or worship music. What we are talking about tonight is that what we listen to matters.  Those words, even if we think we are only listening to the “sound” are coming into our heads.  Have you ever realized you know the lyrics to a song from the radio you don’t even like?  There are times when music from the radio that isn’t written FOR Jesus makes us think about Him. There are times love songs are like that. We have to decide beyond Sunday morning what in the world around us helps us to not only focus on the Lord, but learn to live for HIM.  Let’s take a minute and just look at two really short verses.

Read Mark 5:8 & Philippians  4:8

Ask:

  • What do you think it means to be pure in heart?
  • Why will they see the kingdom of God?
  • Why do you think we are supposed to think on things that are true, pure, lovely, etc.?
  • What does that mean?

Finish by saying something like:

Being pure in heart is not about being perfect.  It is about making choices that help us grow closer to the Lord. Seeing His kingdom is about knowing HIm.  Everyday we can make small choices in what we listen to, watch or absorb that either bring us closer or farther away from God.

Take some time to talk about other ways they can focus on the “pure” from Phil 4:8 in a practical way.  Challenge students to pay attention to the lyrics of the music they listen to in the coming week.  Follow up the next week by just asking them about pure, noble, etc.

*Note: You can also do this lesson focusing on movies, television, youtube, or any media.  It’s great to come back to it several times over the year as a reminder of what purity is, and that it isn’t just about our “bodies.”

Let me know if you have questions,  Feel free to pass this on.

 

 



Justin (time)

Tony Myles —  August 28, 2013 — 1 Comment

vmas

Upon further review, something just occurred to me…

just in time, I believe.

“I can’t believe what those two people did on stage! Kids were watching!”

(2004, Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson)
(2013, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke)

“What an amazing performance! What a talent!”

(2013, Justin Timberlake)
(2022, Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke?)

Say it ain’t so.

I’m all for forgiveness, but wouldn’t you agree it’s odd how quickly we become selective in our outrage (and forgetful, too)?

What do you think… is that a commentary more on pop culture or the culture that consumes it?

Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.” (2 Peter 2:22)

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.05.14 AM

The David Crowder*Band delivered their final album more than a year ago – has it been that long already? They had 6 albums in total with like 12 kajillion songs sold. They’ve played every youth conference I know and are a staple in practically every youth room across the country. I’ve had the privilege of working a few events with Crowder and speaking at his Fantastical Conference in Austin a few years back, too. So fun!

Their latest album is the celebration of the past and a glimpse of the future. Crowder is going on a club tour this Spring and his first solo project is due this fall. Until then, we’ve got the All This For a King: The Essential Collection hitting iTunes the end of this month.

Let’s get the basics out of the way first – the album has all of the big hits you would expect. Even then I did find a new gem here and there I must have missed along the way. But the real wins come later in the album, with great remixes and an entirely new song from Crowder. Here’s some quick hits on the highlights for me:

SMS (Shine) – Big-time fans will be disappointing in me (sorry), but I’m not sure how I missed this song when it originally came out! Great message. Powerful.

Shine Your light so I can see You
Pull me up, I need to be near You
Hold me, I need to feel loved
Can You overcome this heart that’s overcome?

Shadows (Family Force 5 Phenomenon Remix) – Fun remix of a DCB classic. Hold your own dance party with it right now. Got some fun dubstep in it that will please the ears. The perfect track for this year’s summer camp highlight video.

After All (Holy) (Capital Kings Remix) – One of the band’s biggest hits – it was fun to see it completely remixed and still retaining the cheerful fun of the original. Absolutely loved this song!

This I Know – the only completely new track on the album and it is pure gold. Fun, folksy and completely singable. The good news is that the solo project expected from Crowder this fall is in good hands. It is different from the classic DCB but he already feels comfortable and This I Know became my favorite track after listening through the whole album a couple times.

All in all it remains the best collection of music from one of my favorite Christian bands of all time, a great set of remixes celebrating familiar tunes and a fun sneak peak at the Crowder of the future – and that’s a future I’m now very excited about. Click here to check out (or preorder) David Crowder Band’s All This for a King: The Essentials Collection today!

JG



chris_burning_lights

I got a chance to review the new Christmas album yesterday – now EMI is going to put a copy of Burning Lights into your hands! Well, 5 of you that is! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and on Christmas Day I’ll post the winners who will be sent a copy just ahead of the street date. How’s that for a Christmas present? Enter now!

JG

Chris Tomlin - BurningLights_FinalCover

Thanks to EMI I got an advance copy of Chris Tomlin’s new album Burning Lights that drops the first week of January. Absolutely loving it – great new tunes that are sure to end up in churches all across the world in the coming year. Great mix of classic Tomlin as well as some songs that push into new territory:

Favorite track
White Flag – this is the “anthemy” winner from the album. Tomlin’s first single from the album is already probably already familiar to you since it is getting gobs of airtime on Christian radio already. Great, great song about surrender to Christ and laying our life down to him. I also really enjoyed the very singable (if poorly named?) Shepherd Boy about trusting God whatever happens in your life.

Lots of Friends
The new album has a bunch of great guest artists, including Lecrae, Kari Jobe, Phil Wickham and Christy Nockels. They all work really well, especially the Kari Jobe duet for Crown Him With Many Crowns. Make no mistake these songs are his and he is the featured voice, but it is great to have an all-star cast along for the ride, too.

Overall thoughts
It is a great collection of worship songs and music that are sure to be sung for years to come. My wife immediately commented how much she loved it and wants it on repeat in our house, which is saying something since we have been enjoying nonstop Christmas music. Good, good stuff.

JG



Merry Christmas Everyone

Cluster of Students Christmas present to all of Saddleback Kids and Students Ministries of Saddleback. C.O.S. recorded 2 Christmas Songs and 2 new worship songs. We pray and hope you will be encouraged and that this season of Christmas music would encourage you who Jesus is. Enjoy!

JG

I love Christmas music – I can’t get enough of it! Well … I actually have a TON of it right now, thanks to EMI supplying me with a huge stack of holiday music for me to enjoy.

Want to get your own stack of Christmas tunes? Enter any comment on this blog post and at the end of the day a few lucky winners will have EMI send you a few Christmas CD’s for your own super pack of Christmas music – including the new Mandisa Christmas album:

  • TobyMac – Christmas in Diverse City
  • Davide Crowder Christmas – Oh For Joy
  • Chris Tomlin – Glory in the Highest
  • Hillsong – Born is the King
  • Matthew West – The Heart of Christmas
  • Josh Wilson – Noel
  • Kari Jobe – Where I Find You

They’ll pick a few other Christmas CDs of their choice and mail them to you in time to enjoy during the holidays. Want to win? Leave a comment now!

JG