Category Archives: Scripture

Youth Ministry Budgeting: Stewardship (1 of 5)

(This is the first post in a 5 part series on Youth Ministry Budgeting.)

The most important thing to remember when working on your youth ministry budget is that the money is not your money. It is not your own personal spending money. It is God’s money and your youth ministry is a steward of it. The money has been given to the church (or directly to the youth ministry) by other people as an offering for the furthering of God’s Kingdom. Before you spend any of that money, make sure you remember the reason people gave. It is also good for you to remember the fact that people have gone without and sacrificed to give that money to your ministry.

Once you understand that important aspect of the youth ministry money, you need to begin thinking about the value and necessity of the things you are adding to the budget. It is crucial in this part of the process to stop and refocus yourself on being a good steward. Ask yourself questions like: What is needed? Can we find something equivalent for less? Is that a good use of our money? Is the money better spent on something else? Taking extra time on this step can help you avoid regret down the road.

Do not allow yourself to get caught up in spending money just because you have money to spend. Just because you have money to buy something new does not mean you have to spend it on a new television, sound system, or even a new youth building. You are a steward of this money and people are trusting you to spend it wisely. You would be wise to not waste the money that people have entrusted to the youth ministry. Making quick decisions is not being a good steward. Throwing money into something you do not need is not being a good steward. Buying something just to look cool is not being a good steward.

Being a good steward of your youth ministry budget will look different for your ministry than it will for mine or the ministry down the street. Only your youth ministry team knows what is truly needed and what is just a want. You need to spend time in prayer asking God to give you wisdom with your budget. You need to talk about your budget with your team, allowing each person the chance to voice his/her opinion about how to be the best stewards of your youth budget. (I also know each person will have their own personal bias as to where the money is spent, and it is the youth minister’s responsibility to discern what is best for the ministry as a whole.)

Being a good steward can also mean you “reduce/reuse/recycle” within your ministry. Is there some curriculum you can rework and use again? Can you rearrange classes to better use the space you have? Does food have to be served at such and such event? Where can you reduce your spending? What materials can you reuse? What materials/ideas can you give away to other ministries?

As you begin thinking about your budget and what it means to be a good steward, keep in mind these Scriptures:

Ps. 24.1 – “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

Lev. 25.23 – “The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.”

Deuteronomy 6:10-12 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

Before you assign money to any aspect of your youth ministry, determine what it means for your youth ministry to be good stewards of your resources.


Valentine’s Day lesson on God’s love for you

February means Valentine’s Day, which means everyone is thinking about love. From little kids handing out valentines to their classmates to adults going out for a romantic dinner, people are showing their love in special ways. And what do people love? What do you love? (get some responses) What do you mean when you say you “love” someone or something? I use the word love a lot during any given day. “I love porkburgers.” “I love my wife.” “I love my kids.” “I love to read.” “I love God.” Do they all mean the same thing? I sure hope not.

We tend to use the word love when referring to things we like, admire, think are cool, or have strong emotions toward. Saying I love my laptop is not the same as saying I love my family. It does not mean exactly the same as when you guys say you love ___________. And its definitely not the same as saying God loves me and God loves you. When I tell you that God loves you, it is so much more than some momentary emotional connection or feeling. Let’s look at three verses that show us what God’s love means for you and me.

The first verse to look at is John 3.16. “God so loved the world…” What does God’s love mean in this verse? Does it mean God really likes the world or thinks the world is really cool? No, it means that He sent Jesus to earth to die for your sins so that you can live with Him in heaven forever. God loves you so much that He was willing to let His only Son die in your place.

Do you have that kind of love for anyone?

The next passage is Romans 5.6-8. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Not only does God say that He loves you, He showed His love by dying in your place. You and I do not the power to take care of our sins, but Jesus died so that we would. Christ died for you when you didn’t deserve it.

Do you know anyone else who would do that?

The last verse I want to look at is 1 John 4.8-12. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Again, this verse emphasizes the fact that God loves us enough to allow Jesus to die in our place. True love is not that we love God (for what He did for us), but that God loved us and sent Jesus to pay our price for our sins. Verse 12 tells us that if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. You and I can complete God’s love for others by loving them.

Are you loving others the way He loves us?

God wants us to love others, that means He wants us to treat other people with respect, to do nice things for them, and to be willing to sacrifice for them. And above all God wants you to know that when He says He loves you, He doesn’t just mean that He thinks you are cool or neat. He means that He loves you enough to send His Son to die on a cross for your sins. That is how much He loves you!

Proverbs 30.8-9 (my daily bread)

If my last 9 months had a theme verse, it would be Pr. 30.8-9.

Proverbs 30:8-9 “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”

God has continually provided for my family’s daily bread. We have not had an abundance, nor have we had too little. It has not been anything we have done, everything has been a gift from God. (Maybe in the next few months, I’ll take the time to write a post sharing how God has taken care of my family.)

What has God done for you in the last 9 months?

Photo Friday: Open Bible

Here is a picture of the Bible opened to Psalm 74.

When was the last time you read a Psalm?

The Other 364 Days of Thanksgiving

Being thankful is hard for some people and its difficult at certain times. Being thankful is not limited to one day in November, either. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have the right to be thankful every day of the year.

Being thankful is not about the situation or circumstance you find yourself in. To only be thankful when things are going well is a rather narrow, self-centered and shallow understanding of God and your role in the world.

Thanksgiving should be a way of life. Yet, for many people it is not. For many years I was one of those people who was only thankful when things were going well. It was just easier for me.

1 Thes. 5.18 says “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Really, all circumstances? Being thankful in every circumstance can be challenging, to say the least.

In the last year, I have been around one person who has taught me something about being thankful about anything and everything; my 4 year old. There is one specific thing he does which always serves as a reminder. He always starts his prayers with “thank you.”

I’m not talking about a “thank you for our food” or a “thank you for my new toy.” I’m talking about prayers like, “thank you that Grandma is not feeling well” or “thank you for our next house.” He says a prayer of thanks for things that are going to happen (things he is trusting will happen because my wife and I tell him they will) and things that are happening, even though they are negative.

When he first started to say these prayers, I had a hard time not being emotional. How amazing is it to hear a child pray for someone’s sickness or for God’s provision. He trusts God to be able to handle and provide. He thinks God is concerned. He thanks God in his prayers for the things going on in his life.

I want to be like my son, able to thank God for every aspect of my life. And I pray you do too. God does, too – “give thanks in all circumstances”

When you have trouble being thankful, take a moment to stop and think about a few things. First, think about what it means to have a Savior who loves you enough to die in your place. Second, think about what your future would be without the hope of eternity in Heaven. Third, stop and take a breath. Now, thank God for the breath of life. Fourth, adjust your outlook.

Do not limit your thanksgiving to just one day a year.

Trivia Wednesday #86: Games

answer #85 – Leviticus

question #86 – Snookers is a variety of which game?

Trivia Wednesday #85: Jewish dietary laws

answer #84 – Michael J. Fox

question #85 – Which Old Testament book contains Jewish dietary laws – Deuteronomy, Judges or Leviticus?

Jr. High Questions: Temptation

A little while ago I posted four questions from jr. highers. I think these questions, though from specific individuals, represent some basic questions being asked by jr. highers. I thought that I would post my thoughts to each one individually. Here is the first question and my thoughts on how to answer it.

Q1. Why are temptations so hard to ignore?
A1. Temptations are hard to ignore because they are appealing to you. If it is not something you want to do, then you will have no desire to do it. Thus, if drinking is not appealing to you then you are not tempted to drink. If you enjoy the thrill from stealing, then stealing is going to be a temptation for you. Satan is smart enough to not waste time tempting you with something you do not want.

If someone tells you they don’t struggle with temptation, they are lying to you. Even after repeatedly avoiding the “giving in” part, you still face appealing temptation every day. But the more you resist, the easier it is. Just be careful to not feel overly confident. That’s when you are most likely to fail and sin. Remember what Paul writes in 1 Cor. 10.13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

Temptations may be hard to ignore, they will always around. With each temptation comes an opportunity to avoid it, an opportunity to allow God to show you a way out. You can overcome. You can be aware of them and be prepared.

Think of temptation like a manhole, the ones you see in the streets. When you walk down the street and see an open manhole (without the cover on) you do not just walk right into it. No, you go around. If the manhole has a cover, then you can walk on the cover and not fall in. Temptations should be seen like manholes. You should see them coming and avoid them. How foolish is a person who knowingly steps right into an open hole in the street. How foolish is the person who knowingly steps right into temptation without trying to avoid it.

Watch your steps and be prepared for temptations.

Trivia Wednesday #79: Anointing Jesus’ feet

answer #78 – Ozzie Smith

question #79 – Who anointed Jesus’ feet and dried them with her hair?

Discussion Starter: man sues Zondervan…

Read about the lawsuit here.

Look at this excerpt from the article:

Fowler alleges Zondervan’s Bibles referring to homosexuality as a sin have made him an outcast from his family and contributed to physical discomfort and periods of “demoralization, chaos and bewilderment.”

The intent of the publisher was to design a religious, sacred document to reflect an individual opinion or a group’s conclusion to cause “me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence … including murder,” Fowler wrote.

I heard on the radio that Zondervan stated one problem with the lawsuit is that they do not actually translate the text.

You could use this to talk about homosexuality, personal rights, sin, handling sin, how God views people, interacting with sinners, being a sinner, the Bible, hatred.