There’s a new candy that is taking over this area by storm – if you haven’t had it or heard of it yet you will. I’ve only found it in one place so far (Staples of all places) but I understand it is rolling out nationwide in Target, Walgreens and a jillion others shortly. Unreal.

So I saw that this video was trending on YouTube and happened to come across the candy in the store. Felt like there was something there. Here’s where I landed today:

I played the video then we discussed the candy – I gave everyone their own bar to try. We talked about a ton of various applications to life and ministry. My big takeaway was that a video or website might get someone into the front doors of your ministry, but it all comes down to taste. If someone has a bad taste in their mouth (a parent has a poor interaction with a team member, an event doesn’t have adequate supervision, etc) all the flashy marketing, endorsements and history go out the window. And people that don’t like the taste of something (tastemakers) tell others and have incredibly negative influence. On the other hand a parent who leaves with a good taste in their mouth tell others in a hurry to try it out for themselves.

At the last minute tonight I figured out a pretty cool tie in with my talk about our small group covenant. I didn’t have a strong opening so decided to play the video for students – and talked about how this company is making a commitment to “healthy candy” and making sure all of the ingredients are organics, no artificial flavors, etc. I talked about how this is a promise between the company and you, and there is a bond of trust between the two parties. I then compared it to the covenant that we make in a small group – a covenant to be honest, accountable, courteous, loving, confidential, etc. I gave a pack of Unreal to the winners of the game and another pack to each group to split among the members of their Life Group as they discussed and signed the small group covenant.

Unreal. Used it randomly twice today. And it tastes pretty good, too!


PS: Our Staples is now almost sold out – Life Groups hit it up right after the lesson ended! Anyone from Unreal want to sponsor HSM? hahahah #getunreal

This weekend I talked about how the disciples changed the world – I wanted to illustrate how people are trying to change the world every day with their inventions on the show Shark Tank. I used this clip (above) of a guy trying to change the world … one candle at a time.

Then I played the hilarious “Mandles” classic video from Got to have a little fun in your youth talk, right?


Amazing little video the team put together as an object lesson to wrap up our 2020: The Future is Now series. So much work – they really pulled it off well.


If you’ve followed the blog the last month during our 2020: The Future is Now series, you may remember that HSM was doing a photo mosaic as a takeaway for the series. We took pictures of our students for a couple of weeks and we got the print pieces back this week for students to take home as a reminder of the decisions they made. We used each picture of the students several times in the mosaic – students had a fun time finding themselves in the collage. If you were interested in the technical stuff behind the scenes we made the mosaic using this program click here, I think it turned out great!


A couple of weekends ago we came up with an idea to help bring the message home and into a student’s life each morning. We gave them a song from iTunes and a challenge. All they had to do was promise to listen to the song each morning for a week – the point I was trying to make was as you get ready in the morning, make sure you’re getting ready spiritually, too.

  • During the message, students were asked to fill out a response card with their iTunes email address
  • We didn’t have a backup plan for non-iTunes students (sorry!)
  • We chose a different song for each gender to help make the message more specific
  • As the girls put on their makeup, we asked them to play the song “Beautiful” by Bethany Dillon and challenged them to be beautiful on the inside and the outside.
  • As the guys get pumped up in the morning, we gave them the song “Awake and Alive” by Skillet to listen to as a reminder that the day is God’s and to commit their path to Him.

Students seemed to really dig the idea … hopefully the money was well spent. If you don’t now how to gift a song in iTunes (you can do a whole bunch with one click) you can find out how right here. Maybe this idea will work for you sometime soon, too!


And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. -Acts 2:42

For two weeks HSM is going to offer a unique way of having students give an offering.

We’re in the middle of a church-wide campaign that includes a significant offering component at the end. Pastor Rick has been talking quite a bit about Acts 2:42, the “sell their possessions and give to those in need” and sharing how in the early days of Saddleback people literally downsized their houses and gave the difference to the church. We’ve taken this verse very literally in the past, and while I love it, the application to the present-day life of teenager doesn’t seem very relevant.

So this weekend we’re going to launch what we hope is a very student-friendly, modern day take on Acts 2:42. While students can still literally tithe and/or give an offering in an envelope, we’re also going to let them bring in items to sell. Here’s the idea:

Want to participate in the offering but don’t have money? Here’s how: donate something of our own to the giving campaign. First get your parent’s permission, then bring in any item worth $50 or more and give it away at the eBay offering table. We’ll take each of the items and put them on eBay and find new owners for your stuff with all of the proceeds going directly to the campaign.

The opportunity to give will run for just 2 weeks, Nov 6/7 and 13/14 and students from the Oh Snaps! photography ministry will take pictures of the items as they come in and another student leader will help write up the product description. The whole process will be done by students and overseen by an adult, with 100% of the proceeds go to the 2020: The Future is Now offering.

When I announce it this weekend, I’m going to give away 2 things myself to the campaign: one that is easy to give away, and one that is more of a sacrifice. I’m going to give away my copy of Avatar: the Video Game for the Xbox 360. Easy, the game is average at best and I’ve already beat it. But I’m also going to give something away as a sacrifice, one that I’ll feel a little more: my brand new copy of Halo: Reach. I want to make sure students hear that we don’t just give out of abundance, but we give out of sacrifice as well. Why am I doing this again? Hahahha …

So we’ll see how it goes! Could be a total flop, but I think even just using this concept as a teaching point could be valuable for our students and might be worth it alone. If it takes off, it could be something really special.


The one, the only, Matt McGill created a series of amazing videos ages ago. Matt McGill’s Sports Instructional video is now on the interwebs. Enjoy your first lesson: golf!


Weekend Teaching Series: The End: what happens when its over? (series premiere, week 1 of 2)

Sermon in a Sentence: Exploring what the Bible says happens after we die.
Service Length: 65 minutes

Understandable Message: This week was a challenging talk to create – I wanted to follow-up the You Own the Weekend series with a plain message series about Heaven, Hell and what happens in the afterlife. Students seemed to show a genuine interest in the topic, I wanted to speak plainly about Hell this first week – focusing at the end on God’s love and the hope we have in Heaven. Lots of good comments afterward and excited to see students digging in to this challenging topic.

Volunteer/Student Involvement: The band doubled this week as greeters, and students controlled the cameras, lights, sound and control room. We were a little light on volunteers this week but those that were there jumped in to encourage and greet students who attended the service.

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: We opened up with a few questions – 1) specifically asking students if they considered themselves a Christian, and 2) asking them to respond with what they believe happens after you die. Interesting results – somewhere between 60-80% of our audience considers themselves Christian, depending on the service. We had a simple The End series video and also played a round of Total Recall where we played the end of Monsters, Inc then asked a few trivia questions about the clip. Fun, well-themed, clear program.

Music Playlist: Gives You Hell (All-American Rejects cover), Yours Forever, You Never Let Go, Lead Me to the Cross, Hosanna

Favorite Moment: Without a doubt the coolest moment was the object lesson on stage. One of our volunteers created a couple of platforms with a gulf between that symbolized the end of life on earth and Heaven. At the bottom of the chasm was Hell, and at the end of the talk I spoke about God’s love through the cross, carried a cross on stage then used it as a bridge to Heaven. Cool way to illustrate victory over sin, Hell and Satan – ended with the song Lead Me to the Cross. Good stuff!

Up Next: The End (week 2 of 2)